How to make a Madame Tussauds Waxwork

If you watched ‘Saturday Night Takeaway’ on ITV tonight, you’ll have seen Olly Murs fooled into a fake Madame Tussauds ‘measuring machine’. But how is a waxwork really made?

The process of creating the iconic lifelike models found in Madame Tussauds is long and requires absolute precision.

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Olly was fooled into the bizarre machine…

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Real or waxwork? Ant and Dec fooled Olly Murs on their popular Saturday TV show.


To begin, precise measurements are taken of the celebrity using callipers and measuring tape. Stock glass eyes are used to compare with the sitter’s real eyes.

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The next stage is sculpting. It takes around five weeks to make a perfect clay model is made of the figure. One person creates the head while another creates the body. The clay sculpt uses around 150kg of clay.

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Plaster is used to create a cast of the head. The cast is made of multiple pieces and will last for many, many years.

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Next up, hot wax is poured into the plaster cast. The wax is coloured and heated to 165° F and left to cool. Once cooled, the wax eyes and teeth are melted away and any imperfections removed.

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The hair has to be inserted individually – using a combination of extensions and wigs. It takes about six weeks to insert one head of hair!

The eyes are made from acrylic. They are painted with watercolour and silk threads are used for the veins. The process takes around ten hours.

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For the teeth, dental acrylic is crafted to match the sitter’s teeth exactly.

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Finally, a skilled group of artists colour the model. 20 different colours and 10 layers are used to reproduce the sitter’s skin and features exactly.

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Each figure takes four months and costs around £150,000.

Ant and Dec’s ‘measuring machine’ is nothing like the reality of waxwork creation at Madame Tussauds!

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About: Michael Mander

I mainly cover Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, Adventure Island, Paramount London and other attractions in the south of England. Contact me at:

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