Making a wax figure

The process of creating a wax figure has hardly changed since Marie Tussaud began making them more than 200 years ago. It takes about 350 hours of work. All Madame Tussauds figures are made at the company’s London studios.

l  Sculptors look at paintings, photographs and videos. If they can meet the person, they will take measurements.

l  Sculptors create a life-size clay model. A steel frame is created for the body, and the head is removable.

l  A plaster mold is made of the clay face and head. This mold is removed from the clay sculpture, then pieced together.

l Hot wax is poured into the hollow mold and cooled until a thick layer of wax hardens. The plaster mold is removed.

l Hand-painted acrylic eyeballs are put in the eye sockets.

l About 10 layers of oil paint are used to create the correct skin tone, features and makeup.

l Facial and head hair is dyed and styled to exactly match the person’s. It is added to the wax model one strand at a time!

l A hard plastic cast is made of the clay body and dressed for display (the hands are usually made of wax because it’s more lifelike). Then the head is added back to the model, and the process is complete.

Visiting Madame Tussauds

Where: 1001 F St. NW (corner of 10th and F streets)

How much: $20 adults, $15 children (Some discounts are available, including 15 percent off for purchasing tickets online.)

Hours: Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday  to Thursday 10 a.m.-
4 p.m.

For more information: Your parents can go to