One at a Time: The Story of Toothpick Engineer Stan Munro

muro la sagrada

Stan Munro makes incredible replicas of famous structures and buildings out of toothpicks and glue (collectively called Toothpick World). He’s shown his work at our Maker Faire New York (read our interview) as well as at galleries around the world. Stan has been a writer, television personality, and hospital administrator, to name a few of his positions, but it was when his wife Suzi was stricken by autosomal dominant polysystic kidney disease (ADPKD) as well as polysystic liver disease that he began creating toothpick sculptures while caring for her at home. When people marvel at how he’s able to have the patience to create such elaborate sculptures, he says it’s by taking one day at a time, very much how he and Suzi were able to work through the toughest parts of her illness.

stan munro la sagrada

New York City-based writer, director, and producer Jeremy Berger recently made a 10-minute short film about Stan and Suzi titled “One at a Time.” The film is touching, beautifully made, and shows how making can be very healing. Perhaps the most challenging piece that Stan ever replicated in toothpicks is La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. He decided to embark on this project as he and Suzi were traveling to the Mayo Clinic in Florida, believing that both challenges were so difficult that if he could make it through one, he could make it through the other.

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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