Custom Pirate Torso Tutorial

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Here’s a quick tutorial on how I make custom lego stickers. The results are good, and look authentic in the right context, though they are not on the level of brickwarriors or even if you follow everything here (seriously check this eurobricks forum out, super helpful!) Basically, this is about the best result I could get with (mostly) what I already had at home.


  • Torso Print You can find these on the forums here or simply use google. I prefer to make my own using (my preferred method is looking at official lego torsos and modifying them... one key to making them authentic is making them look as “lego” as possible, if they don’t stand out (because of style, too much detail or too little detail) they’re more likely to work. When you're making them, keep your RGB colors as close to Lego as possible. I use this site for the actual numbers. You also want to keep the DPI above 300, otherwise it'll look blurry.
  • Quality Printer - my home printer won’t give me high enough quality to work, so I send it to OfficeMax or Staples. Here’s an example: I have a few size options just in case I was off a mm or two. I have multiple copies in case I cut it wrong. It can be a good idea to extend the art further so when you cut it you don’t risk a white line, I didn't because I'm lazy. I have them print it semi-gloss on normal weight paper... (if the paper is too heavy the white edges become more noticeable).
  • Cutting Instrument - scissors or a blade work fine.
  • Lego Torso - You'll want one that matches the color you're using. The torso decal will not cover 100% of the front.
  • Sand Paper - Higher grit the better 
  • Tape
  • Spray Adhesive - Make sure it bonds to plastic


1. Print your decal.

2. Cut it out.

3. Sand the torso where you're going to put the sticker (otherwise the decal may not adhere)

4. Tape the area you don't want to decal... when you use spray adhesive you don't want that on anything that isn't covered (it has a sticky, cloudy texture that WILL show up in pictures)

5. Use spray adhesive (find it at any craft or hardware store)... I use this because it bonds well without leaving bumps or wrinkles. I spray both the torso and the back of the decal. 

6. Apply a semi-gloss (or gloss) spray coat after to help protect it (don't use flat or matte... it looks bad). Go with a few light coats (mist it)!

Pretty simple. Honestly, it's not the best way to make custom torsos (that's probably water slide decals on blank torsos), but this way works. YMMV but getting a realistic torso is the result of several little things: authentic-looking art, reasonably high quality printing, decent color-matching, decent cutting, spray adhesive, decent gloss/semi-gloss coat (avoid drips... follow the directions on the can). All together that gets you a decal that looks pretty good (even great) so long as you're not super-zoomed in or taking a picture from an angle that really exposes your mistakes.

Good luck!

Extra pictures/examples below!


Here is an example of the printing. Notice the different sizes. Lego torsos are 15mm x 13mm. You want to print a little smaller, to make sure I got it right, I printed a few options shrunk in 5% intervals. I made multiple torso prints in case I cut them poorly. I also wasn't sure which fabric was the best, so I had a few options.


TAPE THE TORSO BEFORE SPRAYING!!! Otherwise the adhesive will make everything look bad. Painters tape is better (clear can be a pain to remove), but anything works.


Here's an example of torsos I've made. It's a combination of several Lego torsos. The printing is high enough quality and the colors match... basically if you're not familiar with it, you might mistake it for a real Lego torso! Notice that the one on the right isn't 100% straight. Also, the one on the left (and the red fabric tile) have the thin white edge visible... This is NOT a bad cut, it's the non-printed edge of the paper. It's weird to think, paper is not 2-d. This is why you should use a regular weight, the thicker the paper, the more obvious it is. 



Edited by TomSkippy

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