Globes were initially engraved or painted directly on spherical shells. In the late sixteenth century, globe-makers started printing maps beforehand, then pasting them onto the shell. To obtain a true reproduction of the spherical surface, the maps were divided into gores, i.e., strips that started as points at the poles then widened proportionally down to the equator line. The next step was to construct a spherical shell of solid wood, or of hollow wood stuffed with layers of wastepaper sheets glued together.
The shell was covered in pasteboard and chalk in order to create a uniform surface on which the gores representing the terraqueous globe or the celestial sphere were pasted in the proper order. The final element placed on the globe was the meridian ring mounted on the axis connecting the poles. The globe's axis was tilted at about 23° from the vertical to reproduce the Earth's tilt on the plane of its orbit. The horizon ring, typically made of wood, comprised a paper circle with markings for the months and zodiac signs. The horizon was supported by three legs in the English mount and four legs in the Dutch mount. The meridian ring was inserted into a groove carved into the center of the base in order to hold the ring in the correct position.