Industry News

The Artistry Behind Wax Figures: A Look Into the Intricate Sculpting Process

May 22, 2024

Did you know there are hundreds of wax figure museums in the world? That's right. Wax museums and figures have long captivated tourists and other visitors for several reasons. From Hollywood A-listers to sports superstars and famous politicians, these museums offer a unique opportunity to appreciate the impressive sculpting process and grab a photo with otherwise unreachable celebrities.

But taking a selfie with your favorite star is only a part of the experience. Learning about the skill and craftsmanship required to sculpt and maintain these lifelike replicas is a special experience in itself.

If you've ever wondered how creating such realistic figures is possible, we're here to tell you! Here's a look into the intricate sculpting process of wax figures you see in museums all around the world.

Step 1 – research

When visiting a wax figure museum, you'll notice that every replica has been created with incredible attention to detail. Victoria and David Beckhams' wax figures with their perfected poses, Ryan Reynolds in his signature three-piece suit, and Zendaya with her well-recognized smirk: Many wax figures truly feel like stars' doppelgangers!

Achieving such a precise look wouldn't be possible without proper research beforehand. This means taking plenty of photos of the subject and recording exact measurements of the body, face, and other key features.

Of course, meeting the person in real life may not always be possible, but that's not something you should worry about. Professional sculptors are able to craft incredible wax figures by using just photos and videos for reference.

Step 2 – creating a clay model

Once we've agreed on the figure's position, our sculptor will begin making a clay model. Already in this part of the process, we'll incorporate even the smallest details, like pores, wrinkles, and other features, to make the figure look as realistic as possible.

Crafting a clay model is incredibly important because it will, later on, serve as the primary reference for creating the custom wax figure. Once the customer has confirmed the draft, sculptors will already begin working on customized clothing.

As for clothes and accessories, sculptors usually choose outfits that the particular subject is recognized for. For example, Beyonce can be seen in a costume from one of her tours, while Meryl Streep's figure is rocking a red carpet look.

Step 3 – molding

Creating a lifelike wax figure is quite a time-consuming task. In fact, some experts even say that it takes around 350 hours to finish one!

Before the sculptor can move on to making a silicone statue, the next step is creating molds. Depending on the complexity of the project, separate molds are usually made for each body part. Since the head usually has the most detail, most sculptors choose to create it separately. This makes it easier to perfect it!

Step 4 – wax casting and detailing

When the client has accepted the clay model, the fun part begins! The mold is then filled with silica gel (a more environmentally friendly and practical alternative to regular wax). Once it has solidified and dried, the mold can finally be removed and the sculptors can begin working on make-up, hair, and other details.

What's interesting is that real human hair is often used to make the figure as lifelike as possible. This is a long process—each strand must be inserted individually into the silicone scalp. That's why it can sometimes take weeks to be finished.

Step 5 - final touches

Working with custom wax figures means being a perfectionist. The work is not considered finished until the client is fully satisfied, which means that the final figure has to undergo complex quality checks to ensure it meets the highest standards. At DXDF Art, we're always open to client feedback and will only finish our work once the client is fully satisfied.

Step 6 - maintenance

When the wax figure is finally done, the work doesn't stop. For the replica to live a long and happy life, it requires regular maintenance, especially if it's placed in a display setting. This means cleaning it regularly and doing touch-ups whenever needed.

Thankfully, a professional wax figure manufacturer will take care of this step of the process, too. At DXDF Art, we provide lifetime maintenance for all wax museum projects.

Final thoughts

Wax figure museums have become a popular entertainment attraction for visitors of all ages and interests. There is something special about getting up close and personal with lifelike replicas of celebrities, historical figures, and iconic characters. But creating custom wax figures that truly resemble real-life personas is no easy task.

If you're considering getting involved in a wax museum project, you must first find a professional wax figure manufacturer. Our team will gladly guide you through the entire process and explain how to set up a wax museum that achieves your business goals. Each market and country has its own challenges, so it's essential to create a tailored strategy.

If you have any questions or would like to set up a meeting, get in touch with our friendly team here.

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