My name is Patrick Acton, and for the past 44 years I’ve used over 8 million ordinary wooden matchsticks to make over 75 large models that are highly detailed. My hobby-gone-mad is now a full-time job. AMA
What started out as a hobby making matchstick models as a pastime has become a passion, so much so that I currently make models full-time. Over one-third of my matchstick models have been commissioned by Ripley’s Believe it Not, and many others have been purchased by individual buyers.
I started in 1977 by building a small model of a country church out of 500 Ohio Blue Tip matches purchased at a local grocery store. At the time I used nothing but a bottle of school glue, a utility knife, and a piece of sandpaper. Every year the models kept getting bigger and more intricate. I have now made dozens of models including Hogwarts, Millennium Falcon, Apollo 11, the Dodge Charger from The Fast and the Furious, a Two-Headed Dragon, Notre Dame Cathedral, and many more. My latest is a true-to-life scale model of the Mars Rover Perseverance and helicopter Ingenuity, which is constructed from 880,000 matchsticks and 28 gallons of wood glue.
By 2003 I had no room to display or store my collection, so the local community opened a museum for my models here in Gladbrook, Iowa. Many of my models can be seen here. More than 25 of my larger pieces are featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditoriums in North America, Australia, Asia, and Europe. The Perseverance rover was commissioned by Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
Here’s a video that I did with the channel “Coolest Thing l’ve Ever Made” that shows some of my models as well as how I build them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyuE1XnYO0I
Here’s a link to my museum page where you can see more pictures and information about visiting the museum: https://www.matchstickmarvels.com/