How Department 56 Christmas Snowbabies Are Made

Making of Department 56 Snowbabies

Snowbabies™ Figurines & Snowbunnies® Figurines are conceptualized, designed and manufactured much in the same way as the villages. Originally based on the inspiration of antique Snow Baby figurines, our designs all have hand applied porcelain crystals to create the effect of new fallen snowflakes on the babies' bisque suits.

The process of applying the snow crystals is so unique that it took seven years to perfect the production methods. The hand labor required to apply the tiny crystals resulted in a decision to scale the figures larger than the original antique ones. The larger size also presents opportunities for more intricate designs. Real children engaged in real activities are often used as models.
Step One: Detailed Sketches

Detailed sketches are drawn of each side, the back and top and bottom of the figurine.
Step Two: Sculpting

Once the design has been approved, the figurines are executed in clay. Separate molds are designed for outstretched arms and legs as well as other attachments like the wings in order to give the finished piece the free and clean look only found on finer porcelain figurines.
Step Three: Snow Crystals

Before firing, the snow crystals are attached. Porcelain clay is passed through a series of increasingly fine wire screens and is then sifted several times and then fired, leaving only the tiniest crystals to apply to the little suits of the Snowbabies™ Figurines. Liquid slip is applied to the areas and the porcelain crystal pieces are carefully hand sprinkled on the wet surfaces. The pieces are then fired.
Step Four: Hand Painting

After firing, the faces are carefully painted. Brushes with only a single hair are used for their eyebrows
Step Five: Packaging

Snowbabies™ Figurines are packaged in their signature green gift boxes that relate Winter Tales of the Snowbabies® in gold (or in the case of larger more complicated designs into sturdy green storage boxes).

From pencil and paper to finished product, the artistry and craftsmanship found in each stage of the production process is what sets Department 56 products apart from others.

Common Questions and Technical Info

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