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One of our crafty makers, Meg Allan Cole, got inspired to try her hand at a papercrafted automaton. Here are her results. -Gareth

An automaton is a self-moving machine made out of wood, metal, or paper. A paper version is the perfect invitation to a crafter or maker to get down and dirty and build an automaton of your very own! While on my paper art kick, I thought I’d try my hand at building one, and in today’s video, I break it down and show you how to make an old school Nintendo Mario Brothers paper automaton.

old man and the sea Mario Brothers Papercraft Automaton
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dug north automaton Mario Brothers Papercraft Automaton
This was my very first automaton and the process was a totally new concept for me. I needed a little guidance and found it in Dug North, an artist expert on all things automata. He sent me this incredibly helpful diagram of all of the names of the parts involved.

automatan diagram Mario Brothers Papercraft AutomatonYou can find the template for this project at

He also broke down the slightly confusing tenses of the actual word:

Plural: automata or (increasingly acceptable) automatons
Singular: automaton

mario automata detail Mario Brothers Papercraft Automaton
I loved learning about this fascinating artform and look forward to hopefully even designing my own one day.

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.

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