Watch a 42,000-match sphere that took 10 months to build burn in this jaw-dropping video

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It took artist Ben Ahles 10 months to create the structure, and he waited two years to burn it.

The sphere met its fire-y end (@benahlesahles/PA)

This was the moment an artist finally set alight the 42,000-match globe he had taken 10 months to hand make.

“I was playing with some matches and realised they would make a sphere if I began gluing them together,” he told the Press Association.

The sphere's humble beginning (@benahlesahles/PA)
The sphere’s humble beginning (@benahlesahles/PA)

Using some nifty maths, he rustled up a 3D model of the structure.

A chunk of the 3D render of the match globe Ben made
Ben’s computer struggled to render the full picture (@benahlesahles/PA)

As the number of matches grew, Ben said his feeling of “excitement and optimism” and “euphoria” made way to a “strong understanding of just how much time, energy, and matches were going to go into this sphere”.

He got into the habit of lining up the matches with their heads in one direction and sticking them onto the globe seven at a time.


Thousands of matches lying head up next to the semi-assembled globe
Ben’s assembly line for the match globe (@benahlesahles/PA)

As the hole at the top started to close, he said it got harder to place the matches correctly.

“Also it should be noted that I was doing all this work in a metal shop so it was a lot of fun to keep sparks away from this,” he said.

Half a globe of matches
The structure begins to look more globe-like (@benahlesahles/PA)


Ben says this was down to not making a “perfect sphere”, but he also suspected there weren’t exactly 300 matches in a box, which was the number he used to calculate the total.

The globe's hole closes
Ben described the sphere as getting “funky” by the end of the process (@benahlesahles/PA)

Then after a couple more years with the potential fireball just lying around, Ben finally decided to set fire to it.

The stage is set

A post shared by @ benahlesahles on

And even after it burnt to a crisp, the hollow sphere stayed pretty intact.

“Green has turned to black, potential has turned to spent,” Ben said of the project online, adding, “I am never doing this again.”

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