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The Dapper Project

lego art brian korte brickworkz

Welcome to Brickworkz, and welcome to the Dapper project page!

This project was commissioned by Dapper, Ltd., a US company with offices in Tel Aviv, Israel. Their product, aptly named "Dapper" is used to access and distribute content from any website. I was asked to create and construct this piece for the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco on the 16th of April.

In this site, you'll see the progress of this project from the beginning to the completion.
Get started here and feel free to comment on the pages and share your thoughts!

Play well,

The Design & Dimension Layout

lego mosaic dimensions

Instead of the original idea of 240 x 144, the new image is 256 x 188. I had to increase the height by 4 pixels so that it would fit on a baseplate. The new dimensions will be 256 x 192.

As a result, there will need to be 4 extra pixels in the height of the design. My suggestion is to balance those four by adding two rows of white at the top of the image and two rows of white at the bottom.

The look of this new design is going to translate very well to LEGO and should really pop!

Proof of Concept

lego mosaic proof of concept

Just to see what this would look like, I eagerly "drafted" the upper left corner of the design. I found that my directions I had created were not as accurate to the icons as they could be, and came up with some creative ways to use color more effectively.

These samples look great when viewed from a distance, such as how they will be seen on the overall mosaic (see below). I also used this opportunity to lay out the baseplates to get a feel for the size and scope of this project. This one's going to be BIG!

lego mosaic baseplate layout

Woodworking done!


I did the woodwork today to get the backboard sufficiently sturdy for not only hanging in the coming years, but the rough and tumble process of CA and then again probably to Israel. Good thing I over-engineer everything. :-) I used a lightweight method for structure, and tested it out on sawhorses to see if the concept was going to work correctly.

The layout is dead on. I did my math correctly, and everything is in place as it should be. I laid the baseplates on the backing to get a feel for the size of this and to double-check placement. Check and check.

All that's left for the base is to fasten it all together. That's coming up next. Stay tuned!

Start time: 10am Finish time: 6pm

Parts are Arriving

lego mosaic colors

lego mosaic, lego art

As parts arrived yesterday, I dumped them out on a table. This is the most colorful build I've done to date, so I was really excited to see some of these (really rare) colors.

Also yesterday, I completed the fastening to base plates for hanging. I normally save that process for the end. That part was done before the build in case time was getting close to the deadline. Also, I can't run the risk of anything going wrong and the adhesion drying. If that got stuck, the whole project would be busted. So instead of saving the high-stress part for the end, I got that taken care of early.

Now it's time to build!!!

Start time: 9am Finish: 11:30pm

The Build, Day 1

Dapper Lego mosaic, day 1 progress

Today was a full day of assembly. I had most of the first plate completed before Chris and Nick arrived to help. Paul arrived shortly to help. We got a lot covered, and then Jeff and Olivia came, followed by Chris, Karen and Donna. Everyone got a shot at making the best looking favicons we could with the LEGO color combinations we had to work with.

I got word from Paul (@ Dapper) that this will not have a wall to hang on. I am currently working on a solution for a portable wall. I'll probably integrate it with some sort of shipping crate, but want to keep the materials cost as low as possible without sacrificing quality. I'm noodling some ideas over, and should have a solution by the end of the weekend.

So today, we all experimented as we built and revised many of our own drafts. The work that resulted was fantastic. I am very pleased with the build at this point, and can confidently say that the assembly will be done earlier than expected, assuming I can keep building as fast as my fingers will go for the next few days.

here goes!

Started: 8am Stopped: 2:30am

The build, Day 2

brickworkz lego mosaic

Today was a very, very long day. After running in the 10k, I came back and began working on the mosaic. I made a few hours of progress before Chris and Karen came over to help out. We worked steadily throughout the afternoon on the project.

Later in the evening, Paul, Meghan, Jeff and Olivia came over to help. And MAN did they help. The progress of this project is really coming along quickly. With so many hands, it is keeping me on-track with the deadline.

I am running out of white pieces and will make another trip to the LEGO store a few hours North to see if I can stock up (and not have to wait to have them shipped).

All in all, a great day of building. Started at 12pm, stopped at 11pm.

The Build, Day 3

lego mosaic brian korte

Today's build was delayed for several hours while I traveled to Northern Virginia for more white plates. I noticed yesterday that I was running out, and since some of my packages still haven't arrived, I wanted to be sure I would still have something to work with.

So today, I spent about 3 hours at the LEGO store, trying to cram as many plates into the "fill it yourself" pick-a-brick cups. They told me I could stack the plates to cram more in (getting my money's worth) and since I had the time while my friends were furniture shopping, I took them up on it.

Jeff and Olivia came over for about 5 hours to help me build tonight. (thanks guys!) We have three icons left, then it's just finishing "Dapper" as well as the big logo and filling in the rest of the white plates.

oh, and creating a vertical stand to hang this from. I finished the design plans in the car on the way up to the LEGO store, and will visit the hardware store to see how much the extra parts will cost.

Start time: 6pm End time: 1:30am

The Build, Day 4

brian korte

vertical-stand.gifToday, I finalized the plans for the vertical stand. Having no experience making a device that holds a 50-pound mosaic vertical and sturdy during freight transit from Virginia to California, it took a little figuring. The good news is that I think I finally have it. :-) Jeff and I walked through the hardware store bouncing ideas off each other until we came up with a good solution for the problem.

Meghan came over around 6pm, followed shortly by Leslie, Steve and Corbin, then Olivia, Ken and Jeff. It was a great group- they mostly worked on the white plates (and unraveling the mess I made of the plates at the LEGO store yesterday). Can't thank you all enough for your help!

Looks like the piece is almost done. I saved the biggest challenge for last: the Dapper logo's "flower" - a colorful symbol that has very few literal LEGO color translations. The solution? Set the whole flower to be the height of a brick, so it stands out from the rest of the mosaic (thereby also allowing me to use bricks, not plates... with bricks, I can use dark pinks and purples that don't exist as plate colors) Paul revisited an idea I dabbled with a few weeks ago, which was to use transparent colors over various shades of gray. I think that might be a good fix for this as well. Tomorrow, i will complete the "flower" and we'll see where it goes from there.

Also tomorrow: more woodworking (yay! I dig that part.) Just wish I had a shop. My deck is too small...

Vertical Stand complete!


Today, I completed the build of the vertical stand. There was a lot to consider, based on how tall the mosaic should be. I decided that I would have a lower setting, where the mosaic would fit in a reasonably-sized crate to ship to California (and eventually Israel). Once the mosaic arrives on-site in California, it can be raised to a higher setting for public display, and both will be stable with the configuration I made today.

Doing this alone was very difficult in such a tiny space. The framework weighs about 45 pounds, and my deck isn't very wide for this sort of project. I managed to get it all figured out before it was too late in the evening to use power tools outside.

After I took this photo, I applied a coat of primer, and tomorrow morning will apply a base coat of flat black paint. This stand should not be the feature, and making it black will help it to disappear a bit better.

The next woodworking project is around the corner: Building a wooden crate so this mosaic can hit the road and arrive safely!

The Big Move


Today's big push was to get the mosaic & stand, along with the wood needed for a crate hauled over to Jeff and Olivia's garage for safe storage. Their space will enable me to work on the shipping crate tomorrow. I have officially outgrown my studio and am grateful for their generous offer to assemble and complete the project.

Karen was over tonight to help with the flower. We're going to lay it all out and then tweak things to get them looking just right before wrapping this up and shipping it out.


I picked up the lumber for the shipping crate and then rented a giant flatbed truck from Lowe's to get the lumber (and the mosaic) from my place to the Pollards' garage. It has a nice tall ceiling, and plenty of space to continue the build. (I even moved the camera so the final video will continue as the build comes to completion)

Sizing the Vertical Stand


Since I'm still waiting on white 1 x 2's (that's a whole other story. Looks like they'll arrive Monday but man, I hate waiting for that) I decided to get the stand all painted up and attached. The safe way to attach is horizontally, so Jeff assisted me as we got the bolts in correctly.

The planning turned out to be perfect. We first tested the lowest setting, which will be used for shipping and general moving around (seen in the photo above) - Everything worked like a champ! The mosaic was perfectly level too, something I am particularly proud of. It is very stable, and does not rock in any direction.

The next step was to lay the mosaic horizontally and adjust the bolts to the taller height. I was very impressed with the look of the taller height (seen in the photo) and think it'll be the way to go.


Shipping is the next hurdle to figure out. Once I have final crate dimensions and weight, we'll be ready for everything and can determine the cost to deliver this to San Francisco. Obviously, the more time they have to send it, the cheaper it'll be.

Create a crate

lego mosaic art

Since I'm still on stand-by for the white LEGOs, I decided to get going on the crate and not wait around. I swung by Jeff and Olivia's garage and got to work. The exo-skeleton of the crate is almost complete.

I'm going to North Carolina for Easter weekend and will return Monday to knock out the rest of the work. I had a LEGO vendor ship me several hundred white plates from his personal collection as a contingency plan in case my other shipments don't arrive. One way or another, this thing is going to be perfect and on-time. I won't accept anything less.

Putting in the Final Piece

dapper lego mosaic from brickworkz

I got back from North Carolina on monday morning and proceeded to get to work on completing the mosaic and constructing the crate at the Pollards' garage. The LEGO parts arrived over the weekend, and just in the nick of time.

lego mosaic art brickworkz Olivia came by (okay, opened the garage door) to help place the remaining white pieces. She really helped a ton, because she went around to each of the favicons in the design and assured that they were straight.

(some info for non-mosaic builders: plunking down LEGOs is pretty easy. Nothing to it. Making a mosaic though involves a bit of care, as each piece looks better when it is perfectly aligned with the board. Brickworkz mosaics are straightly aligned and I think that makes all the difference. Olivia shares my obsessive need to keep everything perfectly straight on the design. She was a HUGE help!)

Jeff came later Monday evening to help me with the woodworking. I had never made a crate before, and certainly didn't want anything to happen to "my baby" during shipping, so Jeff and I noodled some ideas together and got to work.

They stayed up with me until around 2am, which was so great- I really needed the help. With an 8am deadline for the delivery truck to arrive, I didn't bother cat-napping.

I had some work ahead of me.

The first step was completing the LEGO mosaic. Without the completed logo, I couldn't wrap the mosaic. Without a wrapped mosaic, I couldn't try out my crate ideas.

I put in the last brick around 5:45am and stepped back to admire the piece. I found a few out-of-place details and took care of those, then went back to the crate. (more in next entry...)

Assembling the Crate

brickworkz lego mosaic

Since my other priority that night was to avoid wood cutting until the Pollards were awake again, I held off on the crate as long as I could. The sun began to rise as I constructed a partial shell of the crate with the previously-cut parts. My drill battery died on me, so I scavenged Jeff's tools. :-) (thanks, Jeff!)

Off in the distance, I heard a construction crew banging and sawing away on a new neighborhood house. That was all the "green light" I needed to begin cutting again. I furiously banged out 28 angled pieces with my mitre saw to use as supports.

With a shell created, I gave my shoulder a break (for a while there, I was sure I had done some permanent damage to my shoulder- it was aching and throbbing for several hours!) and started wrapping up the LEGO mosaic, first in shipping cling-wrap to keep it all assembled and tight together, then in bubble wrap for padded protection, then again in cling wrap. (That ought to be fun to disassemble. Good luck, fellas!)

I opened the garage door and started putting the pieces together outside. The sun warmed up the chilly morning and I took advantage of the extra space the driveway had to offer. I hammered and drilled until I had nothing left in me.

Saying Goodbye

brian korte lego mosaic

When I came back outside, I got my second wind and found the strength to hoist the huge OSB wood up into place for drilling. At this point, I had been up 24 hours and was grateful that I didn't have any more sawing to do, since being careless with a power tool was within the realm of possibility!

I secured the huge sheets of plywood to the edges with screws, not nails. This way, the crate could be re-used to get the mosaic from California to Israel. I went inside to post a blog entry on the project for the guys in Israel and then sat down for the first time in a day.

BAM BAM BAM...I woke up to loud knocking on the door, but I don't remember anything about it, except that it happened. I fell so deeply asleep after working the all-nighter that the first thing I remember was being out on the driveway with the truck driver working to load the crate onto the truck's enormous lift gate.

guy-and-crate.jpg I somehow remembered my camera and took some final farewell shots of the crate being hoisted and secured in place on the truck. The driver did most of the lifting. He was a friendly guy, maybe 50, with a tattoo that read "Mother" on his arm. heh. As big as the crate was (84" long, 80" high, 28" deep, probably 350+ pounds), it looked tiny once loaded in the truck.

I saw the mosaic drive off and cleaned up the garage.

That was it. It was done, and out of my hands.

The flashbacks of starting the project, ordering all of those parts and looking at all of the baseplates in my apartment all came rushing back to me. Great memories of the Brickworkz "helperz" coming over to help me with the project washed over me like a wave. It felt good to say goodbye. I know hundreds, if not thousands of people will enjoy this mosaic at the conference and beyond. And that's the beauty of LEGO. We all immediately tie in our own LEGO memories when we see something like this.

Just wait. You'll see what I mean.

Time-Lapse Video Complete!

Click the "play" button to view the movie!

The video of the Dapper LEGO mosaic project is now online! 2,274 still images comprise the time-lapse video. Each picture is displayed .03 seconds at a time. It makes for a pretty entertaining movie. :-)

The camera changes positions a few times- first, when the mosaic was raised on a higher platform. (I raised the mosaic to test the vertical stand while it was laying on sawhorses.) The next time the camera changes angles is when the mosaic was moved to the Pollards' garage. It first laid horizontally, and then gets hoisted onto it's vertical stand for the finishing touches.

...all in 1 minute and 36 seconds. What's not to love!?

A LEGO mosaic from Brickworkz makes a lasting and memorable gift for you and your loved ones. Contact a Brick Artist for a free estimate today!

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