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Design Process

Forever cherish that dress

An unforgettable, lasting symbol

Preserving Memories that Last a Lifetime

There is nothing more precious to a bride than her wedding day.

Our goal is to create sculptures that capture every detail of the dress as closely as possible.

Many brides invest in preserving their wedding dress – only for it to never see the light of day again.

The Ceramic Bride will create a lasting symbol of the wedding to always keep close to you.

Have a look inside the detailed, intricate dress sculpting process to find out how each dress is crafted with care.

What The Ceramic Bride Needs From You

Step 01

To create a beautiful sculpture, The Ceramic Bride needs at least one image each of the front of the dress and the back of the dress with the train extended (no bustle).

The best photos:

  • exclude any obstructions to the dress like the vail, bouquet, and/or additional people,
  • are from fittings (if possible)
  • include any important details.

It’s also helpful to know the designer of the dress and the style – or better yet, a link to the page on the designer’s site.

Finally, a confirmation of the exact color of the dress.

Analyze the Dress

Step 02

Our work begins!

The most important thing is making sure all appropriate lace patterns, beads, and embellishments are on hand.

The team will figure out how to translate a full-scale garment into quarter-scale with as many original details as possible.

This includes counting every button, every gem, and all the other little things!

They work from photos sent by the client and online photos from the designer’s site.

Create a Paper Pattern

Step 03

Since every dress is different, a new pattern has to be developed and tested every time. Sometimes this takes three tries until it works!

This technique incorporates all the pattern-making skills that fashion designers use but adapting it to work for the clay medium.

This part involves both intuitive drawing and working with exact measurements. Everything is done on the cutting table using pencils, rulers, paper and scissors.

This is one of the most essential skills in the process.

Slice the Clay

Step 04

Next, they take a 25-pound block of clay and slice it thickly, then press it under a slab roller until it is 1/4 inch thick.

They then lay the paper pattern on the clay and cut it to the required shape.

This is where they add any flutes, pleats, or drapery on the surface if needed.

Let dry for a few hours.

Score, Slip, Smooth

Step 05

When the clay is dry enough to handle, they “seam” the sides together by slipping, scoring, and smoothing.

Now it’s time to create the form. They add all the curves, movement, and gesture to the form.

Let dry for a few hours.

Roll Out a Base

Step 06

Add air holes and stamp the bottom with our Ceramic Bride label.

Attach the base to the form.

Add the Details

Step 07

This is one of the most laborious and skill-based parts of the process!

This is where the artists apply the lace carving, embellishments, and buttons, and scale down the details from the original dress to the small sculpture.


Step 08

The dress is sanded before being fired. The artist does this outside wearing a mask.


Step 09

The piece dries for about five days – then the artists decide whether any underglaze needs to be applied before the piece goes into the kiln. Then fire for about ten hours.

The piece is fired for about 10 hours and is left overnight in the kiln.

Apply Color

Step 10

The artists use a variety of finishes, but they usually apply three coats of glaze. The piece dries overnight and goes back into the kiln for five hours.

Sometimes a spray sealer is then applied. And if all has gone well and there are no cracks, it’s ready for shipping!


Step 11

These sculptures require A LOT of bubble wrap and are packed in a smaller box within a larger 20x20x20 padded box.

A personal note is always included with each sculpture!

Preserve Precious Memories