This Passionate Artist Will Take You On a Journey to Middle Earth Through the Marvels Of His Matchsticks

By Anne Cacherell

For the past 36 years, Iowa-based artist Patrick Acton has been creating incredibly intricate scale models of famous sculptures, machines, and architecture using only ordinary wooden matchsticks. His passion was triggered when he was still a kid by a news story he saw on television about a man who made a model of his farmstead using the same material. It took him years before he attempted to build his first project.

Acton also developed his techniques and processes through time, which enabled him to form curves and shapes using needle nosed pliers without damaging the matchsticks.

One of the best highly detailed matchstick sculptures he has ever built was the Minas Tirith, also known as the Middle Earth’s Great White City from the movie Lord of the Rings.


In this rendition of the City of Kings, Acton used 420,000 matchsticks and 24,000 small wooden blocks to support the whole 7-level structure. He has constructed every detailsof the city, from gates, ramps, tunnels and passageways. Moreover, it took him 3 years to finish the entire complex model of this Capital of Gondor.






Acton’s works has been featured in well-known television shows, magazines and museums around the world. Most of it, including Minas Tirith, can be seen at Matchstick Marvels Tourist Center, 319 2nd Street, Gladbrook, Iowa.

One must have a great deal of patience and close attention to details in order to create something this amazing. Have you ever seen some of his works on television? Tell us about it.

Please follow and like us: