How Globes are Made

Globes are made primarily in three different forms. The most common is vacuum formed, then press formed and finally hand cut and applied, which is typically reserved for your higher end models due to the handcrafted nature. Read below to find out more about these types of production.

Vacuum Formed

The vacuum formed technique is used to produce mechanically made globes. First a distorted map is printed generally on pliable vinyl which then is smoothed out in a second production step when the map is applied onto a half globe shell.

The northern and the southern hemispheres are produced separately and then combined to make the complete globe later on in production.

This style is a common way to make illuminated globes as the inner shell is a clear or white acrylic, allowing the inner light system to shine through the globe ball.

Press Formed

A technique mainly still used by Replogle is where the northern and southern hemispheres start with a flat map and several layers of cardboard and then are pressed into a hemisphere.

The main purpose for using this production method is to create raised relief, which appear as small bumps and ridges on a globe to depict mountain ranges and topographical features.

Below we have added a video of how press formed globes are made. It shows the process and you are able to understand why there are some variances in alignment on these style of globes.

Hand Cut & Applied

Globes that have the hand cut and applied method are typically the most sought out as they are handcrafted by true globe artisans. They are also some of the most expensive.

In this method a manufacturer will use either an acrylic sphere or a hand blown crystal sphere as its canvas. From there a flat map is cut into "gores" or strips which look like diamonds with rounded sides.

These gores are then hand applied to the sphere to ensure proper alignment. Once dry, many coats of finishing product are placed over the map to keep it safe from the elements.

Learn More About Globes

Check out our globe information center to learn more about world globes.