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How Ostheimer figures are made

How Ostheimer figures are made

Alexis Ralphs Feb 16 • 7 min read
Take a closer look at the craftsmanship and dedication that go into producing these unique pieces.

Have you ever wondered how Ostheimer wooden figures get to be so characterful and unique? They’ve been handmade in the same slow and steady tradition for almost a century. Thanks to a wonderful display at the recent Nuremberg toy fair, we are able to show you how an Ostheimer figure comes to life.

Ostheimer stand at Nuremberg toy fair


Template for an ostheimer camel

A stamp is created, and is fixed to the underside of a wooden blank (see image below). This is then inked and pressed onto a board, giving an outline that can then be cut out.

Drawing outline of Ostheimer camel blank using template

The stamp is positioned in such a way that the shade and grain of the wood is sympathetic to the type of animal or person it will come to represent. The camel pictured below would have a very different feel if the grain ran horizontally.



The blank is cut out for the Ostheimer camel

The correct profile is meticulously sawed out, creating a blank for the figure. At this stage the edges are extremely rough.



The Ostheimer camel is sanded

The figure is sanded to remove sawdust and smooth the surface of the wood. Then the figure is brought to life with greater detail on the main body, depicting muscles or limbs, smiles or hands. A soft final touch of the contours finishes the process prepares the surface for painting.


The ostheimer camels are dipped in oil

The figure is immersed in high-quality organic oil, which helps maintain colours and protects the surface of the toy.


The Ostheimer camel is painted

The figure is delicately painted with a steady hand and a fine paintbrush. Transparent colour-stains allow the texture of the wood to shine through and enhance the natural warmth of each figure.


String is cut for the tail

String is cut for the tail.


The finshed piece - an Ostheimer camel

After a final quality-check, Ostheimer figures are carefully packed and delivered to children all over the world.



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