The Department 56 Difference

Our lighted buildings and accessories are thoughtfully created using hand craftsmanship and artistry every step of the way, from idea through design and manufacturing. In fact, it takes over 60 individual steps to develop each product we introduce into our villages! Our creativity and attention to detail ensure that you get the most finely detailed and highest quality lighted buildings and accessories available.

 

Before the pencil even hits paper, we develop a town plan for each of our villages. Creative ideas for products come from different people within our company, as well as from you, our customers.
Our artists carefully draw each building in both black and white and then in color. Every detail is carefully thought through and drawn.
Paper models are made for each building so that the design can be studied carefully in three dimensions. This enables the artist to draw all the fine details and ensure that the building architecture coincides with other buildings in that series.
Our talented team of sculptors create a three dimensional wax sculpture using skilled hand artistry, resulting in an incredible level of detail. The sculpt is done in several pieces, each of which have to fit together like a three-dimensional puzzle.
Each piece is molded by hand. Some buildings require numerous molds due to intricate details on the piece. To maintain the quality of those architectural details, molds are used a limited number of times.
Once the "green" porcelain or ceramic building is formed, the open areas through which light will show are cut by hand. Between windows, doors and others areas, some buildings require hundreds of openings.
All of our buildings and accessories are fired for several hours at high temperatures to provide the highest quality and durability. Shrinkage during the firing is planned into the design to accommodate things like die cast details and electric motors.
Each building and accessory is painted by hand according to specific direction from our artists.
We fire our buildings and accessories a second time after painting to give more durability to the color finish.
The packaging for each building and accessory is custom designed to match the level of artistry of the building inside.
Finished buildings and accessories are carefully packed in protective foam and shipped to the U.S.A. Each product must pass drop testing without damage to meet the strict quality control standards of our shipping partners.
Each product then travels through our state of the art distribution center before being shipped to your favorite local Department 56 dealer. The long journey concludes in the hands of our collectors, who have made our villages a part of their lives.