Tony Stark is a character whose power comes from his ingenuity in designing and building his Iron Man suits and weapons. And of course having millions of dollars at his disposal helped.

Meet Kai-xiang Xhong, the Tony Stark (sans riches) of cardboard art. Some people might laugh at the phrase “cardboard art,” but this man’s sculptures are so stunning that it’s hard to believe they are made of the same stuff your Amazon purchases arrive in. Take, for instance, the life-size Iron Man suit shown above. (Did we mention it’s wearable? There is a person in that suit, walking around and bending parts without it falling to pieces!)

After seeing the Iron Man movie, Xhong decided he would make one for himself. It took him an entire year to craft the suit, and it’s not hard to see why. He must have used hundreds of pieces of cardboard, some of them requiring a high level of precision to incorporate, adding to it piece by piece in his free time.

▼ Take a look at the shoulder and elbow joints. Did he make cardboard pegs? Nice slippers, by the way.


As a junior high school student, Xhong got into papercrafts, but by the time he was in high school he had started to focus on using cardboard. He started out with smaller pieces, but they have grown in size and detail over time.

He sculpts many characters he likes, such as Optimus Prime of Transformers and the Xenomorphs from the Alien movies.

▼ Do you not love the way he used the corrugated layer as gears? 


▼ He really does sculpt the cardboard!


▼ The effect is creepy in the best possible way.


▼ Though his focus is on cardboard, he also uses materials like drinking straws. Did you just do a double-take?


▼ He also makes gorgeous, lifelike animals. The curves in this lion’s mane makes it hard to believe it’s cardboard.


▼ The way he uses flat pieces of cardboard to create the contours of muscle makes you want to look at it all day.


▼ Xhong usually leaves the cardboard bare, but this sparrow shows how detailed he is with paint as well. It even looks soft!


▼ What, dinosaur skeletons too?


▼ Oh, yes! 


▼ His favorite piece is also his first, as unbelievable as that may be.


▼ This is his pet bearded dragon.


▼ No, it’s not! But you believed it was real for a second, didn’t you?


Xhong did an interview with the Stan Winston School of Character Arts, named for the Academy Award-winning special effects and makeup artist who worked on Jurassic Park, Aliens, Terminator, and Avatar. The school is dedicated to developing the same talents in aspiring artists.

In the video interview below, Xhong talks about his love of cardboard art and shows off some of his pieces. It’s definitely worth watching, especially because of how incredible it is to see how all the joints move—and he doesn’t handle them nearly as carefully as you’d think!

He proudly says that it cost him next to nothing to make these incredible pieces. Not only is this resourceful and economical, but it demonstrates recycling at its best.

Xhong leaves us with a genuinely inspiring message: “If you are artist like me and you don’t have enough money to make your art, just do what you want. Whatever you use in your material, just do it.”

If you would like to keep up with his creations, you can like his Facebook page.

Sources: Stan Winston, Oddity Central, Facebook
Images: Stan Winston

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