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Making Miniature Porcelain

The first thing to do is to create a model. The original model can be a drawing, an existing object or a mockup sample.

Model in form of a drawing

From this a mother mold will be made.

model form

The mother mold is used for producing working molds by casting them with special plaster.

Working form with model plaster

The white plaster working mold gets triggered out of the mother mold. This step has to be done with all parts of the mother mold which are needed to complete the item. In most cases there are two to four parts.

Working form

All the parts of the working molds will be put together. In our case there are two halves which are put together to build a cavity.

Forms are pushed together in rows

The liquid mass (mixture of kaolin, feldspar and quartz) will be poured into the molds with a fine hose.

porcelain mass

After 5 to 20 minutes, depending on the item, the mold will be turned around so that the surplus material can run out of it. The porcelain mass is drying on the inside wall of the plaster working mold during this time. The longer the mass is in the form, the thicker is the wall thickness of the porcelain later. If it´s a shorter time in the mold, the thickness is thinner.

Excess mass poured into a cast bank

After one day in a drying room with a temperature of 50°C the porcelain forms are checked to see if they are dry enough to free them out of the mold. The porcelain forms shrinked because of the drying. Now they can be removed from the molds easily.

drying room

The working molds can be opened now.

Forms of work brought apart

The results are miniature beer steins.

Small porcelain jugs

Now the miniature beer steins can be taken out of the working mold. Because the mass is very soft, there is a big danger of deformation. Too much pressure with a finger and the porcelain form is destroyed, so this step in production is very sensitive.

Small pitchers are released from the mold

Now the neck of the miniature beer steins will be seperated.

neck of the miniature beer steins will be seperated

Still the miniature beer steins are soft and wet, so they must dry at least for one day.

Drying the pitchers

After this time the edges and rims can be cleaned by using a knife and a wet sponge.

Edges cleaned with a knife

All remaining sharp edges, marks or scratches have to be washed off carefully with a very special natural sponge. This job has to be done very carefully and by an experienced operator.

Pitchers are carefully plastered with sponge

Now it´s time for the first firing. This pre-firing is executed at 800°C. Because of this the pieces run dry. Now they can absorb the glaze perfectly. This pre-firing is essential for the quality of the production. After firing the pieces have to cool down, so they can be taken to the glazing process.

Pre-firing at approx. 800 ° C

Our little porcelain pieces get dipped into the glaze with a pair of tweezers.

Small parts are dipped into the glazing mass with tweezers

The pieces have to be completely covered on the inside and the outside with the glaze.

Parts inside and outside completely covered with glaze

It´s very important that the glaze has the right mixture and texture. So the dry pieces can soak the glaze. Than they have to dry for at least one day.

Parts completely covered with glaze

The glaze has to be rubbed off the bottom of the stein. Otherwise the glaze would stick to the firing plates and both, the porcelain and the firing plates would be destroyed.

Rub off glaze from all floors and stand parts

Now the porcelain pieces are ready to be fired. Our porcelain is fired on temperatures of 1280° to 1360°C.

Smoldering at 1280 to 1360 degrees Celsius

After the firing the miniature beer steins are set in their permanent shape and size.

Finished porcelain jugs after the burn

On the left is the beer stein before firing and on the right after firing. The difference is huge. Due to the firing and the heat the porcelain loses water and shrinks by more than 16%. The difficulties to control the high temperatures lead to small differences in the shrinking rate which is one of the biggest problems for making miniature porcelain.

Left the pitcher before and right after firing

After the high-temperature firing, the porcelain is smooth, shiny and white so it can be taken for decoration. Now hand painted gold rims can be applied as well as special printed ceramic decals. The ceramic decals will be soaked with warm water and carefully imprinted on the porcelain.

Paint on gold edges and print on various decors

The surplus water and air will be pressed out carefully.

Excess water is forced out

On the bottom of each of our porcelain pieces the “Reutter Porzellan“ back stamp will be put.

„Reutter Porzellan“ stamp is printed

Again the pieces have to be dried before they can be fired a third time. Therefore they need to be placed on tiles of high-temperature steel.

Burn for the third time

These tiles will be placed in a special kiln.

Plates are placed in a special oven

At a temperature of about 805°C the decoration will be fired into the glaze of the porcelain which makes the decoration permanent.

Porcelain parts fired one last time

Most of our miniature porcelain pieces are in the size 1:12 and are used in doll houses or beautifully arranged wallpictures as well as for our general collection.

Items are glued in harmonious murals

The final assembly of porcelain miniatures requires a calm hand, a lot of experience and plenty of time.

filigree work

Over the last decades the “Reutter Porzellan“ factory has perfected it´s porcelain skills and expanded their collections consistently. Our porcelain miniatures are the only ones of their kind to be manufactured in Europe.

Finished porcelain miniatures

In addition to our miniature line we produce a lot of gift items using well-known license designs such as the original drawings of M.I. Hummel or the Peter Rabbit motifs of Beatrix Potter. 

A further range of Children´s Tea Sets and Breakfast Sets as well as high quality souvenir items complete the collection.