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How Are Wax Figures Made Today?
- Wednesday 16th January 2019
- behind the scenes, wax figure
The process of making a wax figure is certainly not a quick one. It takes over 800 hours of moulding, measuring, painting and sculpting to make one figure. This is all done by the hands of over 20 highly skilled artists - yes, it’s all done by hand! Amazing, huh? Here’s a step-by-step of just how we do it at Madame Tussauds.
1. Measuring Up
First, over 200 measurements and photographs are taken from every angle of the star. Their eyes, skin and hair are all colour matched as well. If the subject isn’t available in person or it is a historical figure, the sculptors and artist have to work from existing photos.
2. Making the Mould
Next up, the measurements are used to create a metal skeleton and a clay mould in which the wax will be poured into. Because wax shrinks, all figures must be made 2% bigger than the actual measurements, and the head and body aren’t made together so they can be worked on separately. The hot wax mixture is then poured into the moulds and left to cool and harden. The head is a little different. After 50 minutes, the excess wax is poured out to leave a hollow head behind so that eyes and teeth can be inserted into it.
3. Hair and Make-Up
This is a lengthy and tedious process, to say the least! It takes around five weeks to insert each strand of real human hair individually into the wax, including eyebrows and eyelashes. The hair is then cut and styled to match the desired look of the celebrity.
4. Finishing Touches
Next, the teeth and eyes are added into the head and then ten layers of oil-based paint are applied to the figure to create the realistic skin tone and texture. Finally, the figure goes through a very rigorous critiquing process before it can be signed off to appear in the attraction.
Once they are in the attraction they are free for all visitors to get up close and personal with, they are not behind barriers like paintings in a museum, we encourage you to touch and interact with them as much as you like. Ever fancied kissing a Hemsworth? Well now you can because we have both Liam and Chris on display in Sydney.
Depending on who the figure is and what zone they will be in will depend on how you interact with them. For example, you can give Brad Pitt’s bum a pinch in the Party Zone or help Batman lift a falling helicopter in the Justice League zone. You can find out about all of the Madame Tussauds interactivity here.
Watch the video below to see how Lady Gaga's wax figure was made!