Starry Night LEGO Mosaic

Spring 2001

In the Spring of 2001, I created a large mosaic of one of my favorite paintings, Van Gogh's Starry Night. The mosaic is made completely out of LEGO bricks and measures 45" (144 studs) wide by 36" (116 studs) tall. It took several months and approximately ten thousand bricks to complete.

This is what the mosaic looked like immediately before I hung it up on my wall. Most of the mosaic is on six 15" square base plates, with three smaller 6" × 15" plates along the bottom. You can see several of my Blue Tubs as well, filled with sorted bricks waiting for my next project; whatever that may be.

I started this project with only four Blue Tubs, each of which comes with 1,200 pieces, and quickly needed to buy four more.

These are the first two 15" × 15" panels hung up on the wall. I started with the center panel and worked my way across to complete the top row, then worked my way down row by row. A Technic plate at the center of each baseplate in the top row supports that plate and the others below it.

Three panels -- the entire top row of the mosaic -- are now hung and the whole thing hasn't come crashing down yet. Oh, did I mention that no glue whatsoever was used on this project? Only the connectivity of LEGO bricks, and three screws, keeps this mosaic together and in place on my wall.

Here's the completed image, together for the first time. The whole mosaic weighs about fifteen to twenty pounds, but I'm guessing at that number.

A tighter shot, and you can clearly see the many individual bricks that make up the image. I only used the standard red, blue, yellow, white, black and green colored bricks when putting this together.

A still tighter shot. I'd guess that about half of the bricks I used for this project were 1×1 bricks. Although the Blue Tubs provided most of the bricks I needed, I quickly ran out of both green and black 1×1s -- there are only twelve green 1×1s per Blue Tub and I needed hundreds. Then I discovered the joys of ordering parts on BrickLink. There's no way I would have been able to finish this project without BrickLink.

Borrowing a technique from Eric Harshbarger, I used plates to raise up some of the bricks along the bottom of the image to spell out "Van Gogh 1889/Hall 2001". It's difficult to see the lettering in this photo though, but trust me, the words really are there. =)

Finally, here's a shot of the guide I used when putting this all together. I got a clear, non-clipped image of the painting and tweaked it in Photoshop until I had the dithered image I needed. Then it was simply(!) a matter of putting the right bricks in the right places.

Now all I have to do is figure out what my next mosaic is going to be... =)

You can find out more about the original painting by visiting The Museum of Modern Art's Starry Night web page. You might also find David Brooks' excellent Vincent van Gogh Gallery of interest as well.

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Copyright © 2001-2002 Ed Hall.
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