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Behind the Scenes

For more than 200 years, visitors of Madame Tussauds' wax museums worldwide have been amazed about the lifelike, three-dimensional figures of a wide variety of celebrities from around the world. But only a few know how wax figures are made. Here, we will show you how.

From the first measurements to the finished wax figure

Madame Tussauds Vienna reveals the secrets of the London studios, where all wax figures are still made today, and allows its visitors in the exhibition area “Behind the scenes” to get an insight into the wax figure production from meeting the celebrity to the finished wax figure. Find out the four most important points for making wax figures here

The creating process of a Madame Tussauds wax figure takes about 3 to 4 months has a total value of around € 250,000. The process involves many steps and requires a large, highly qualified team. To make sure the sculptors can create an exact double of the celebrity, more than 500 exact measurements will be taken of the head and body. While the celebrity remains in his/her pose on a turntable, more than 150 photos will be taken 
The wax figure production in Madame Tussauds takes about 3 to 4 months and has a total value of around 250,000 euros. The process involves many steps and requires a large, highly qualified team. So that the sculptors of Madame Tussauds can create an exact double of the prominent personality, more than 500 exact measurements are taken of the head and body. While the celebrity remains in his pose on a kind of turntable, more than 150 photos from head to toe from a wide variety of angles will be taken. 

The was figure of Conchita Wurst in the making.

1. Sculpting the figure

Firstly, a skeleton is created from metal tube and wire tu support the clay and to form the wax figure. Based on the measurements and photos from the sitting, our sculptors need 150 kg of clay per wax figure to painstakingly replicate the celebrity's head and body using traditional sculpting techniques. Sculpting the head alone takes up to 6 weeks, The sculptors have the anatomical knowledge to recreate every bone, muscle and tendon correctly and according to the pose. 

2. Moulding

plaster mold in several parts is created of the clay head and body, then the body is cast out in fibreglass. Meanwhile, wax is heated to 74° Celsius and then poured into the mold to cool and harden overnight. Head and body will be created separately. A mixture of beeswax and Japan wax will be used for the head. Additionally to the wax, coloring will be used create a basis for the wax head. 

The wax cools down until it has a thickness of almost 13 millimeters. Waste of wax will be removed to leave a hollow wax head. It takes approximately 5 kilograms of a wax head and about 20 kilograms for an average sized-body of a celebrity to complete the figur production. 

3. Face & head

During the sitting, the exact eye color will be chosen from a selection of eyes to match the eye color of the celebrity. The eyes for each figure worldwide are made out of Acrylic resin and every little detail is incorporated within a 14 hour procedure. They will be hand made: The artists paint the iris by hand using gouache colors and add fine silk threads to make every single vein visible. If possible, a tooth impression of the personality is taken and a dentist reproduces the entire set of teeth within 28 hours for the production of the wax figure. 

4. The finished figure

Ultimately, all parts are put together and the wax figure is given an outfit that is typical for the personality. It is a tradition at Madame Tussauds that celebrities provide their own clothing for the wax figures. Before the figure begins its journey to its attraction, it is approved by the entire team and the personality himself/herself. Finally, there is a professional photo shoot in order to guarantee the constant good quality of the figures. They are regularly refreshed and newly styled in the attraction.

From start to finish, the creation process of  a wax figure takes about three to four months and requires a total of at least 10 different artists

Learn about the creation of wax figures at Madame Tussauds™ Vienna