World’s Strangest

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The Quick 10: 10 Amazing Matchstick Sculptures

I can’t believe I haven’t been to the Matchstick Marvels Museum. Last month, Jill Harness featured an impressive Minas Tirith from Lord of the Rings made out of 420,000 matchsticks, and after checking out her link we discovered that the place is only about an hour away from Des Moines. Yep… it’s definitely on my Iowa To Do list now. Until I actually make it there, we’ll have to be satisfied with these amazing pictures. Not all are from the Matchstick Museum, though.

1. In case you missed Jill’s post last month, here’s Minas Tirith. It took artist Patrick Acton nearly three years to create. Most of his pieces are 1/65 scale.

2. Hogwarts is rather appropriate for this week! 602,000 matchsticks were used to create Harry Potter’s alma mater.

3. Here’s a different kind of matchstick sculpture. Instead of using the wooden stick part of the matchstick, David Mach used 50,000 of the matchstick heads to create this Hunka Hunka Burning Love… (get it?). Speaking of which, we have news about a certain Elvis Spud at the bottom of this post.

4. It took more than four million matchsticks to create a replica of an oil rig platform called “Cathedrals of the Sea.” It was made by Dave Reynolds, and as of 2009 it was confirmed as the world’s largest matchstick creation. It took him 15+ years to make.

5. Patrick Acton of the Matchstick Marvels Museum also made this replica of the U.S. Capitol, complete with illuminated interior. Nearly half a million matchsticks went into this architectural wonder.

6. The Tower Bridge was painstakingly recreated out of 1.6 million matches by Michael Williams. He wants to sell the piece to fund a studio for himself – and as far as I can tell, it’s still up for bids on his site. The piece has real working lights and is 800 feet long.

7. You have to be pretty passionate about your craft to build every British warship in the Royal Navy since 1945 – so obviously, Phillip Warren is. He builds on a smaller scale than the other sculptures on the list, but 400 ships lands him at about 650,000 matchsticks so far. The 79-year-old Warren has been making these models since he was 17.

8. This matchstick dress was made by an 18-year-old student named Lily Faget. I’m sure she has a hot career ahead of her (sorry).

9. Notre Dame Cathedral took Pat Acton 174,000 sticks, but it’s the detail work that makes this one so impressive. And you can make your own (less intricate) with this kit! It comes with 7,500 “microbeams.”

10. Finally, one more Pat Acton masterpiece: a replica of the space shuttle Challenger consisting of 200,000 matchsticks..

And, the winner of the Elvis Potato Head from our Name-that-Spud contest: “In the Ghet-tato” entered by Linda. If you’re Linda, e-mail your full name and address to and claim your prize!!

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