DIY Doors to Defend Your LEGO Display From Dust

Hello friends, today I bring you a tale of frustration turned upside down and defeated. I shall regale you with the means to make meaningful improvements to your LEGO life by beating that pesky problem of dust accumulation. What follows is a cheap DIY solution to clean up your dusty, grubby LEGO display cabinets!

Doors My friends, Doors

Dust and Doors

Do you live somewhere a tad dusty, be it post-apocalyptic or maybe a backwater desert world?

Luke’s LEGO collection must have been as Dusty as it gets! (image via

Or perhaps you have particularly dirty or dusty creatures prowling around your LEGO lair?

These are actually my dogs

Or maybe you’ve got one of the small human variety?

this guy travels with his own dust cloud! (image via

Whatever the cause… you’re dealing with the same frustrating consequence that I am—DUSTY LEGO! Yes, (you may gasp dramatically), the horrors! Because my cheeky critters love to dig and roll in the dirt and mud, when they come back in the house, they bring back with them an unfathomable quantity of dirt. It starts off layered into their fur or skin, but with every shake, flop, or casual brush against furniture, clouds of dust, then coat everything in my LEGO workshop with a heavy layer. This is an issue for anything left out in the open, be it a MOC, a set on display, or even parts bins that have large gaps for dust to invade through. Everything succumbs to dust in time.

If you’re like me, eventually, the suffering piles up enough to take action and clean. (Or you could break down and burn the place down for insurance money, though I don’t recommend that.) Or maybe you take a less drastic route and occasionally dust a few high-traffic areas and feel good about your productivity for a short time.

Take that Dust! (image courtesy of Giphy)

But there is another way to live! No, not dog-free, you monsters… I’m talking about taking a stand and telling that dust to talk to the hand. You put up an impenetrable barrier and laugh in the face of danger!

The solution I bring you today is to build yourself a door for your display shelf/case/furniture! In my example, the furniture is a cheap shoe rack that I literally have had so long that I don’t remember where I got it. It is fully enclosed on all sides but the front, like most display bookshelves. I keep some of my building trophies inside.

My solution against dust was to add a hinged acrylic door, and voila—the beautiful LEGO remains in plain sight, but my enemy, the insidious dust, is unable to collect in any meaningful quantity. I’ll admit, I only completed my upgrade recently, but I am sure this will make a drastic improvement. I’ve gotten a decent sense of how wide a gap dust needs to collect or not, which will dramatically slow the problem.

Bam! Look at those snug trophies all happy and dust free.

Adding a clear acrylic door (or glass if you’re fancy) is a wonderful way to block dust while maintaining the view we all crave. So how does one do this oneself you ask? I went a pretty simple route, but those of you who are DIY masters could probably pitch in suggestions to further improve the process I will describe below. Share any good ideas via the comments below! Plus, there’s plenty of flexibility so everyone can make it work their own way. Consider the process outlined below as a starting point you can adjust.

Getting Started

I started by searching YouTube for a helpful video and right off the bat I found this gem on YouTube. The Bam Collectibles guy from the video is clearly detail-oriented and wanted a clean, professional look. I think some of his choices represent a middle to high-end solution. I went a little cheaper on some items, though you can choose your own path.

First things first, you’ll have to decide what sort of door you’re putting on your display shelves. Do you want many small doors on individual Ikea shelf cubes? Or are you putting one big door on the front of a piece of furniture like my shoe rack? Do you want the door to overlap the outside of the shelf, or do you want it to be inset into the space you’re displaying? Your case, individual circumstances, and tastes will dictate the path to go. The big differences based on your path are the size/quantity of the panel(s) and the hinge type. There are also plenty of finishing touches you can determine yourself.

cabinet door types (Image via

The above image shows the three ways you can set up the door(s). You have to purchase specific hinges for each application. For my display shelf (aka shoe rack), the partitions line up with the outer frame so I decided to go with one large clear panel that overlays the frame.

It was a simple shoe rack… but it can be so much more when LEGO is put in those little cubbies!


Here’s my materials/purchase list:

Acrylic panel(s) 3/8” thick 

Hinges, two or more depending on door height and weight

The ones I bought were super cheap… they’re totally passable for my garage LEGO lair needs but not high quality, to be sure.

Cabinet door handle

Scrap wood to drill into (4×4 is recommended if you use the step drill bit due to the depth and width of the hole).

Here’s a list of tools that I used:

Saw (table saw, band saw or circular or jig saw) with a plastic-friendly saw blade

I used a handheld circular saw.


Drill bits

Regular drill bits

I also chose to use a step drill bit because my drill couldn’t fit the shank of a 1” drill bit.


Ruler & tape measure


Eye protection/goggles

Work gloves

Optional: painters tape


Here are the full overlay hinges I purchased.

Full overlay is pretty straight… images online indicate partial overlay hinges have more curvy arms

Step-by-Step Process

So how do you create a clear door where none exists? Follow this step by step DIY guide and you’ll soon have no most dust getting in the way of you enjoying your LEGO collection.

Buy acrylic panel(s) from your local hardware store.

Note: Check the size and quantity you need twice before going!

Cut panels to size and sand edges.

Some stores will do the cutting for you, or you can do it yourself. I chose a nearly full overlay design, so I went a tad smaller than the front of the case so it could overlap the frame mostly but not stick out past the edges. Sand the edges with whatever sandpaper you have lying around

Note 1: Leave the protective plastic wrap on the surfaces so you don’t damage the clean acrylic while working.

Note 2: Thicker sheets appear to be more forgiving for power tool work but are heavier and more costly.

Note 3: Sand the edges only—don’t mar the front or back surfaces of the acrylic.

Mark hole locations for hinges and handle screws.

Mark the center spots so you know exactly where to drill. Where the holes go is dependent on the hinges and handle design and your preference for the final placement of the hardware.

Clamp the acrylic panel down to thick wood, positioning clamps just to either side of the planned hole location to make sure you have room for the drill to go through its motion.

Drill the hinge holes through the acrylic panel and into the wood (more stable this way).

I got the hole started using very small bits, working my way up in size (I went to maybe a half inch). Then I drilled the remainder of the hole by slowly stepping up the diameter with the step drill bit.

Note: I completely shattered two door panels initially when I went with much thinner acrylic and didn’t have a wood backstop to drill into. So, I can’t say if the thin stuff works with drilling into wood or not. I decided to take care of the problem by going thicker and adding the wood backstop. (Brian experienced something similar while making his DIY LEGO sifter.)

Drill the holes for the handle on the other side of the panel.

Make sure to clean up any dust and chips.

Remove the protective plastic from the acrylic panel.

Install the hinges.

Attach hinges to the door using the provided hardware.

Prop up the door in front of the cabinet and align the hinges to where they’ll be installed.

Use a drill to attach hinges via included screws.

Attach the handle

Clean off any remaining detritus and marvel at your ingenuity and manufacturing acumen! YOU DID IT!

Final step… put that gorgeous LEGO in your display shelf!

Here’s a picture of the two clear doors I’ve installed so far. I have a third shoe rack that may also get this treatment!

My only problem is figuring out where to put these display cases!

Additional Considerations

There are so many ways you can customize this process to suit your own needs and wants. You could add latches with magnets. Or you could add lighting! I didn’t do either of these, but I know there are off-the-shelf lighting options like these for display cases/shelves, etc. You could also make your own lights by buying the components and assembling them yourself for likely less than a pre-made kit. Those are a few ideas off the top of my head—the dustless sky is the limit!

I hope you enjoyed reading my methodology and are inspired at least a little bit to explore your own amazing dust-defying display solutions! Let us know in the comments if you’ve done something similar or have suggestions on the process I used above.

How do you combat dust in your displays? Let us know in the comments below!

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