what is making wax figures called


What is Making Wax Figures Called?

Wax figures have been captivating people's imaginations for centuries. Whether they are found in museums, historical sites, or popular attractions, these lifelike sculptures provide a realistic representation of famous individuals or historical scenes. But have you ever wondered how these intricate masterpieces are made? The process of creating wax figures is known as wax figure making, and it is a meticulous and detailed art form that requires immense skill and creativity. In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of wax figure making, delving into the techniques, materials, and processes involved in bringing these uncanny creations to life.

Understanding Wax Figure Making

Wax figure making is a multifaceted craft that combines sculpture, artistry, and technical skills. The process begins with the selection of a subject, followed by meticulous research and planning. From there, a series of steps are undertaken to create a clay or plaster mold, which is then used as the foundation for the wax figure. Skilled artists then work meticulously to sculpt, mold, and paint each individual feature, ensuring that every detail is captured with precision. The goal is to create an accurate and lifelike representation that seamlessly blends artistry and realism.

Research and Planning

Before embarking on the actual sculpting process, extensive research and planning are undertaken to ensure a faithful representation of the subject. This stage is crucial as it helps the artist gather reference materials, study photographs, and understand the subject's characteristics, such as facial features, body structure, and posture. In-depth research allows the artist to capture not only the physical attributes but also the personality and essence of the subject. This initial phase lays the foundation for a successful wax figure by providing a clear direction for the subsequent stages.

Creating the Armature

The armature is the skeleton or framework upon which the wax figure is built. It acts as the structural support for the sculpture, providing stability and balance while allowing flexibility in posing. The armature is typically made of metal, such as steel or aluminum wires, which are bent and shaped to form the basic framework. The wires are secured and attached to a sturdy base, providing a strong foundation for the sculpture. The armature must be carefully designed to ensure proper proportions and anatomical accuracy, as it serves as the underlying structure that the wax will be built upon.

Sculpting the Figure

Once the armature is in place, the next step in the wax figure making process is sculpting. This is where the artist's creativity and skill truly shine. Using a variety of sculpting tools, the artist meticulously adds and shapes layers of wax onto the armature, gradually building up the figure's form. This process requires meticulous attention to detail, as each feature, from the facial expressions to the fine textures of the skin, must be carefully sculpted to achieve a lifelike appearance. The artist may spend hours or even days perfecting the smallest nuances to create a realistic representation of the subject.

Casting and Mold Making

After the wax figure sculpting is complete, a mold is created to capture the intricate details of the sculpture. The traditional method involves creating a two-part mold using plaster or silicone. The first step is applying a thin layer of mold release agent on the sculpture's surface to prevent the mold materials from sticking. Then, a liquid plaster or silicone is carefully poured over the sculpture, ensuring that it fills every crevice and contour. Once the mold material has solidified, it is gently separated into two halves, revealing the original wax figure inside. This process allows for the reproduction of multiple wax figures based on a single original sculpture.

Wax Pouring and Cooling

The mold is then prepared for wax pouring. Molten wax, usually a mixture of beeswax and other additives, is poured into the mold cavity through strategically placed openings. Gravity helps distribute the wax evenly, ensuring that all the intricate details are captured in the new wax figure. The filled mold is left to cool and harden, a process that usually takes several hours. As the wax cools, it solidifies and takes the precise shape of the mold, creating a duplicate of the original sculpture.

Cleaning, Assembling, and Finishing

Once the wax figure has solidified and cooled completely, it is carefully removed from the mold. At this stage, the figure is still rough around the edges and requires extensive cleaning and refining. Artists use various tools and techniques to remove any imperfections, seams, or air bubbles that may have formed during the casting process. Fine sandpaper, heat guns, and other tools are used to precisely blend and smooth the surface of the wax figure. After the cleaning process, the artist meticulously assembles the various parts of the figure, from limbs to the torso, ensuring that each component fits seamlessly with the others. The figure is then given its final touches, including coloring, hair insertion, and any additional accessories or props required to enhance its realism.


Wax figure making is an intricately detailed and time-consuming process that demands both technical skill and artistic vision. From the initial research and planning stages to the meticulous sculpting, molding, and final assembly, each step is carefully executed to bring wax figures to life. These lifelike sculptures are a testament to the dedication and talent of the artists who meticulously recreate the features and essence of their subjects. The next time you encounter a wax figure, take a moment to admire the craftsmanship that goes into creating these uncanny replicas, each one a testament to the boundless possibilities of human imagination and creativity.


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