How to create Matchstick Models

Matchstick Models are great for kids and adults of all ages.

My first experience of matchsticks was as supports for various parts of paper models. From here it was a simple step to move completely to wood (matchsticks) as my main construction material.

Why Matchstick Models?

Matchstick Models are cheap, wasy to make and readily available. Some people just use burnt matches while most of us by bags of headless matchsticks. A bag of 10,000 Matchsticks costs just five to ten pounds (about 10-12 dollars)

What glue is best for making models with matchsticks?

PVA (Poly Vinyl Acetate) also known as craft glue is definitely best. It dries in a just few minutes, is easy to clean off fingers and other surfaces while still wet and starts white so you know where you have put the glue but goes invisible as it dries. PVA is a water-based glue and does not contain dangerous solvents.

How to start matchstick modelling.

There are kits available from hobby shops and online suppliers that are probably the easiest way to start. Once you have done one kit, design your own plans and start from scratch.

What tools do you need to make matchstick models?

  • a ruler,
  • a cutting board to protect your table,
  • Small paintbrushes,
  • pair of pointed pliers,
  • a small file,
  • scissors,
  • sharp hobby knife,
  • pencil,
  • good eyesight or a large magnifying lens.

As you can see there is very little here that you haven’t probably already got lying around the house.

How long does it take to make a model from matchsticks?

It all depends on the size and complexity. Some smaller matchstick models can be completed in a weekend while others can take 6 months or more to finish. Really huge models can take years.

Look at this amazing model being built by Patrick Acton from Iowa USA


Pat will take a few years to finish this one.

At the other end of the size scale, but equally appealing this little sopwith camel comes in kit form from Always Hobbies for under a tenner.

matchstick model sopwith camel

Matchstick Models for Kids

If your kids are too young to be given sharp knives or scissors, there is a safe matchstick cutting tool available from craft stores. This allows kids from about 6 or 7 years and upwards to join in with matchstick modelling. Remember that kids have a short attention span and soon loose interest if they don’t see fairly immediate results, so don’t force this hobby on a child who gets bored. If they want to give it a try start with very small projects.

Crafter Author