200:1 Miniature T-Rex Skeleton

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About: Hi. I create brute art sculptures, models and decors, i.e. decors by up-scaling normal household things. I started doing this in order to be able to try and define an art style that is independent of the eco...

So, this is my second instructable and after getting a lot of requests on my instagram, I decided to put up an instructable on how to build your own miniature t rex skeleton(like the one in night at the museum :P ).
I've tried my level best but this is a fairly complicated miniature and it requires you to have a lot of hand control while cutting and shaping individual matchsticks and yes, patience. Loads of it!
So, do let me know if you like this in the comments and do ping me up on my instagram if you have any doubts. would love to see some of you try it!
My instagram is @jugaadist

Step 1: Materials Required:

  1. A reference image of a Trex skeleton. I have added 2 for your reference and you may google more.
  2. A box of matches(any will do as shown)
  3. Superglue(Its available as fevikwik in my country. Its a transparent liquid which dries very quickly)
  4. A bell jar (although, try to get it after your model is done to avoid dimensional issues)
  5. A good exacto knife.
  6. A plucker (to hold very small pieces of matchsticks)
  7. Pen and paper to draw and scale the bones.
  8. Patience! This is the key ingredient.

Step 2: Use the Reference to Make a Scaled Drawing

As shown in the image, use the reference pictures to make a scales sketch of the anatomy. It doesnt need to be exact, just enough to give a rough idea of the size of the main parts of the body such as the claws, feet, head, spine and tail. If you can, print the sketches/designs available to print a scaled design. the model that I made is about 200:1 from the actual size of the skeleton.

Step 3: Making the Head

  1. Split the matchstick into a thin section as shown using an exacto. Then start rolling it on your finger or any other cylindrical object such that it makes an arc as shown.
  2. Add another match piece to the arc to make it into a 'D' shaped thingy. This makes the upper jaw.
  3. Next add another arc, referring to the size of the scaled sketch of the t rex. This makes the skull.
  4. Add one more arc from the front of te upper jaw to the top of the head arc. this makes the outline fo the skull ash shown.
  5. Add smaller pieces referring to the actual pictures and positioning them carefull. Try not to get any of the super glue on your hands/fingers.
  6. For the lower jaw cut 3 pieces of the match and join them (Fig 4). shape them using the exacto as shown.
  7. Attach the lower jaw to rest of the skull as shown

Step 4: Making and Attaching the Neck and Spine to the Head and Making the Torso

  1. Split a full matchstick into half as shown.
  2. Now comes the tough part, bending it. I've found that using the plucker to bend it works everytime. basically, you need to give it the profile fo the T-rex's spine (not the tail, that will be done later).
  3. Once done, attach it to the base of the head (the nape). It would kinda look like a tadpole lol, but be patient. :P
  4. Once the spine is attached, cut small thin pieces of the match and roll them. Attach them on either side of the spine to form a basic rib cage structure. Refer to the actual pictures. Again, this isnt the complete rib cage, so dont sweat if it doesnt look accurate. You just need to make some to attach the legs and claws.
  5. Attach another piece of match by curving and shaping it in the same way as that of the spine to form the tail.

Step 5: Attaching the Claws and Legs

By the time you're done with the previous step, you should have a barebone structure as shown in the 1st pic.
Next is attaching the claws and the feet.

First off, in orde to make the claws/hands and feet, you need to follow the exact same procedure.
For the legs :

  1. Cut pieces of the bones in the leg (thigh bone, shin bone, foot and fingers/claws). Refer to some pictures for some exact ideas. Cut everything to scale.
  2. First, complete the foot assembly. Glue the claws like a trident. That would make the foot.
  3. Next glue the foot to the shin bone.
  4. once done, glue the whole thing to the thigh.

Repeat the steps to make the other leg and the hands. This is a fairly complicated/time consuming process so dont try to rush it. Its perfectly natural to drop or loose some of your well shaped matchstick bones so dont be frustrated (I lost 4 limbs lol).
Once done, attach them to the torso to form something similar to the thing show in the pictures.

Step 6: Adding the Rib Cage and Small Detailed Bones

This is by far the toughest work. It took me nearly 6 hours to finish this step. The large number of small bones make this process a lot complicated all the while increasing your chances to drop the model and break a few bones(which happened a LOT). The basic process remains the same throughout, i.e., cut the matchsticks, attach them to the main structure.

For the rib cage, use thin pieces of matches which are easy to fold. It is a good idea to coat the whole model with the quick fix glue to strengthen it before moving forward. Finish the ribcage before moving over to the details on the spine(horn stuff) and tail.

At first, I tried to attach each part specifically, glueing each of them to the spine but then, it became obvious to just spread the glue on the body and add the bones as quickly as you can. But anything that works is fine. This might need some experimentation. I'm sorry I dont have much pictures to show the complete process as the process itself kept my hands tied. If you have any doubts, feel free to contact me here or on instagram.

Step 7: Painting and Setting Up a Background

This is the last step in the process. By the time youre done with the other steps, you should have something looking like the first picture in the step. If you are unsure about the paint, you may stop at this point but I assure you, the paint is worth it.

  1. First, give the whole model a dark chocolate brown coat. If you have an air brush, that would be perfect. I didnt have one so I used a thin paintbrush to reach the crevices of the model.
  2. Once the brown coat is done, add some touches of black on it. This gives it a more fossilised look and makes it more appealing. It also adds some highlights and shadows.
  3. Next, time for the base of the bell jar. In my case, it was a cork. So, again, the same thing. Paint it brown adn then add some black. You may add some small stones and some match pieces to resembles twigs. stick them on the surface using the glue.
  4. Finally, stick the whole model on the base/cork using the glue. I used some modelling clay to hold the model in play while the glue dried. Improvisations right? :P
    Oh one more thing. Make sure the model fits in the bell jar :P
  5. let the whole thing dry. Paint if needed.

Once the model dries up, cover it up with the bell jar and there you have it!

Step 8: Photoshoots :P

Taking a picture of the model was difficult because of the fine details which were'nt visible without some strong and contrasting lights, so I ended up making my own led panel(used above) to provide a background light for the dino. It came out awesome(I think :p) and well, you could try some experiments of your own.
Do let me know if they turn out nice!

I hope this instructable was helpful and clear. I wish I had made a video of the whole process but since it took me about 2 weeks, I couldnt. Do hit me up if you have some confusion or are stuck at some step.
And do vote if you like the content :P

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    9 Discussions

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    drum303

    5 weeks ago on Step 8

    Congratulations!! Nice work!

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    AyushG52

    5 weeks ago

    Wonderful work!

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    jessyratfink

    8 weeks ago

    Wow, that is impressive! Never would have known it was carved from toothpicks :)

    1 reply
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    Kink Jarfold

    8 weeks ago on Step 8

    That is fantastic! What patience. This is the kind of thing I'd like to try someday. Well done! --Kink--

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    1 reply