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Design a Sarcophagus

Fourth Grade History Activities: Design a Sarcophagus

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After ancient Egyptian pharaohs died, they were mummified by being treated with an embalming fluid, stuffed with sawdust and spices and then wrapped in linen bandages. After this process, the mummy was placed in a decorated sarcophagus.

This project, which is great to accompany a field trip to a museum, will allow your child the opportunity to make her very own life-sized ancient mummy sarcophagus from paper.

What You Need:

  • 2 pieces of butcher paper
  • Crayons
  • Oil pastels
  • Paintbrushes
  • Water
  • India Ink
  • Paper towels
  • Pencil
  • Scissors

What You Do:

  1. Tape two pieces of butcher paper together lengthwise.
  2. Have your child lay on the paper with their arms folded on their chest and trace around their body to make the shape of a mummy.
  3. Have your child use crayons and oil pastels to decorate bold Egyptian symbols all over the paper mummy shape.
  4. She can now crumple the mummy up into a tight ball.
  5. Have her straighten out the mummy and press it flat.
  6. Mix water into the India ink to water it down. The mixture is about 50/50. If the ink is too thick, it will turn everything black. If this happens, quickly wipe off the ink as much as possible with a rag and add more water to your ink mixture.
  7. Dip a wide paintbrush into ink and brush it on top of the mummy and allow it to dry.
  8. Hang your mummy’s new home up on the wall and enjoy the beautiful art style of ancient Egypt!

Tips: Look up images of Egyptian symbols on the internet to use as a reference or for inspiration. One website to visit is: http://www.egyptartsite.com/symlst.html

Fun Fact: Pharaohs were put to rest in the pyramids, and had the most elaborate and decorated of all tombs!  

Ellen Dean has worked as an art educator in Thailand since 2005, working with both children and adults. She has also been a professional artist working in painting, sculpture and photography since 1996.

Updated on Aug 13, 2012
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See more activities in: Fourth Grade, History
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