Ocassionally I make animals that move! These are called automata. An automaton is a non-electronic moving machine, that is made to resemble human or animal actions. Read more about automata here.


1210 Animals


With this weird machine it's possible to make 1210 different kinds of fantastic animals by making different combinations.


Would you like to make this automaton yourself?

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This automaton is based on the principle of a kaleidoscope which uses a mirror to obtain the illusion of symmetry in the image. Although based on a simple idea, it was not easy to get it right, especially the movement of the eyebrows and the up- and down movement of the monkey was difficult. The use of the mirror put limits to the total size of the work. A true 'mini-automaton'! Materials used: mirror (aluminium), brass, wood, paper, steel wire.



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This small ark has place for nine species of animals.

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Wingardium Leviosa

An automaton inspired by the magic spell 'Wingardium Leviosar' (as in JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the philopher's stone).
The illusion of the flying feather is based on the Pepper Ghost illusion. I used a special glass which is slightly more reflective then normal glass, this way it was not necessary to put a spot-light on the feather.
What you can't see in the video is the effect of the feather actually being in front of the sorcerer apprentice.

Materials used 50 % reflective glass, wood, cardboard, paper, steel wire, mini magnet, 12 gears.



paper chameleon

watch this chameleon come to life!


Life is good and peaceful here, although there is not much space on this miniature planet.

I made this planetoide from paper.

It is very small, only 5cm high.
The movement is created with a battery clock.


fire spitting dragon

For a long time I have wanted to make a dragon that can spit fire without the use of real fire or chemicals, but I always thought it was impossible.

Then I discovered a trick with a mirror. I used mirrors for many of my automata. In this case I removed some of the reflective layer behind the mirror, at the place where I wanted the fire to show. The light of the fire is behind the mirror.

The dragon itself is made from paper.

I also made a 'Steampunk' version. This dragon is made from some brass gears and other materials from a small clock. I used a zipper to make the flexible neck of the dragon. All the other gears at the bottom and the sides of the mechanism - the brass tubes and the winding key on the right - are just for decoration, and to give it a steampunk feel.

monkey in the jungle






When wound up, this monkey pops up out of the leaves and shows all kind of different expressions. A video is in the making.

Materials used: paper, magnets, wood, steel wire, mirror, musicbox winding mechanism, brass.

Fish submarine

the hatching


The paper Deinonychus hatches from its egg in  this video

 Click here to download the free template of the Deinonychus.

a magical fish caroussel

When the mechanism is wound up, eight fish calmy swim by. Just like the chameleon, the illusion is created with a mirror. Each fish is handcrafted from paper.

These small lizards live in trees. 
During mating season, male flying lizards defend their territories.

They court females by displaying their bright yellow throat flap.
Materials used: paper, wood, magnets, bark-paper (papyrus).

flying lizard

solar-powered hummingbird

the grumpy tortoise

Another automaton based on the same construction as the Chameleon. The Tortoise itself is made of paper, but the eye is a very small ball-magnet.  When wound up,  the animal

slowly sticks out its head, looks around as if in agony, before retreating to the safety of its shell.

Or is this Tortoise just too critical of what it sees? 


This paper seahorse swims its little circles with the use of a battery-clock.
I had fun making this very simple mechanism.

petit univers

The mystery of the univers shown in 17 panels.
Some interactivity on the viewer's part is required to set in motion a falling star and a supernova.

petit univers II

The mystery of the univers shown in 12 panels.
Some interactivity on the viewer's part is required to set in motion 

a falling star, a supernova and a falling apple.