How to make a mummy - Len Bloch
How to Make a Mummy
The ancient Egyptians had a series of elaborate rituals used to embalm their dead. The most elaborate rituals of all were used on deceased Pharaohs to show respect and prepare them for the afterlife. To make your own mummy at home, wrap a doll or foil form in papier mâché. Next, create and paint a papier mâché sarcophagus to house your mummy. Lastly, learn about the ancient Egyptian mummification process.
Creating the Mummy
Find or create a “Pharaoh.” You can either make a small, human-shaped form out of foil or use a doll, like a barbie doll.If you decide to use a doll, cut off as much of its hair as you can. Otherwise, the head of the mummy will be difficult to wrap.
- Don’t use someone else’s doll without asking permission.
- Inexpensive dolls can be bought at grocery stores and discount department stores.
Create the papier mâché paste.Add one part water to one part flour in a large mixing bowl. Next, whisk the mixture together to create a smooth paste.The paste should have the consistency of pancake batter. If it’s too thick, add a few splashes of water. If it’s too thin, sprinkle in more flour.
- For example, if you use one cup of flour, you will need one cup of water.
- Add a tablespoon of salt to the paste if you want to prevent molding.
Prepare some mummy strips.Tear out small, thin strips of unruled white paper or thin cloth. You can also use newspaper, tissue paper, or paper towels.If you’re making an authentic-looking mummy, choose white paper or fabric. Otherwise, the mummy will be multicolored.
- The strips should be about 3-4 inches long (7.5 to 10 centimeters) and half an inch wide (1.3 centimeters).
Wrap the Pharaoh in papier mâché strips.First, dip a strip of paper or fabric into your paste and coat each side. Gently squeeze the strip to remove any excess paste. Next, wrap the strip around the mummy as tightly as you can.
- Wrap the arms against the body. Mummies usually don’t have individually wrapped arms.
- If you decide to do more than one layer of papier mâché, let each layer dry completely before adding another.
Let the mummy dry.Leave the mummy in a sunny spot for twenty-four to forty-eight hours. This will guarantee that any layers have dried. Otherwise, the mummy may mold.
- To test whether or not the mummy is dry, press it gently with a finger. The papier mâché should be chalky and stiff.
- To speed the drying process, place the mummy under a fan.
Making a Papier Mâché Sarcophagus
Wrap the mummy in plastic.Use a plastic bag, a trash bag, or a grocery bag. Create a thick, padded layer around the mummy. This will mimic the sarcophagus shape.
- After wrapping, your mummy should look like a small plastic baguette.
Cover the plastic-wrapped mummy in papier mâché.Lay paste-covered strips of paper or fabric all over the plastic. Wrap the strips completely around the mummy so that all parts are covered. Add three or four layers to create a thick sarcophagus wall.
- Let each layer dry for an hour or two before applying another.
Allow the papier mâché to dry.Set the sarcophagus in a sunny spot to dry for a day or two. To check whether or not it’s ready, gently press a finger against the papier mâché. The sarcophagus should feel stiff and chalky to the touch.
- Place the sarcophagus under a fan to speed up the drying process.
- The sarcophagus needs to be completely dry before you paint it. Otherwise, it may mold and fall apart.
Cut the sarcophagus in half.Use craft scissors or a crafting blade to carefully cut the sarcophagus in half. First, lay the sarcophagus on its back. Next, carefully make an incision halfway up the side of the sarcophagus. Continue cutting all around the side to create a front half and a back half.
- If needed, use a pencil to draw a guide line around the sides. Follow this line when cutting the sarcophagus.
Paint the sarcophagus.Use acrylic paints to paint the sarcophagus and allow it to dry completely. Use a metallic gold paint for the face and body accents. Use a combination of red, blue, and green for the other parts of the sarcophagus. Consider adding authentic touches to the outside. For example:
- Add black and blue accent stripes along the side.
- Paint on Egyptian symbols, such as the symbol for Anubis.
- Detail small “offerings” by painting depictions of grain, bread, or gold.
Place the mummy back in the sarcophagus.First, cut away and discard the plastic wrapping around the mummy. Next, lay the mummy in the bottom half of the sarcophagus. Place the lid on top to enclose your mummy.
Embalming a Mummy in Ancient Egypt
Wash the Pharaoh’s body.Clean the body with palm wine to remove any dirt or debris. Next, rinse the sticky palm wine away with water from the Nile river. This water is considered sacred and will purify the Pharaoh’s body.
Remove the internal organs.Make an incision on the Pharaoh’s side, just under the rib cage. Remove the stomach, intestines, liver, and lungs. Set these sacred organs aside. Next, use a hook to remove the brain through the nose. Discard this organ.
Embalm the sacred organs.Place the sacred organs in ornate, decorative jars. Fill these jars with embalming fluid or natron, a naturally occurring combination of baking soda and salt. This will preserve the organs for use in the afterlife. The heads of the jars depict:
- Happy the baboon-headed god
- Duamutef the jackal-headed god
- Qebehsenuef the falcon-headed god
Wash the body with more wine.Palm wine can act as an antiseptic when used as a cleaning solution. Washing the body again with this wine will kill any bacteria that might disrupt the embalming process.
Embalm the Pharaoh with natron.Place the Pharaoh’s body in a recessed trough on a layer of natron. Insert several sachets of natron inside the body cavity. Next, pour more natron over the body until it’s completely covered. Let the body embalm for forty days.
- Natron will draw out all of the liquid in the body to embalm it. Without bodily liquids, the Pharaoh can’t decay.
Wrap the body with linens.First, cover the Pharaoh in a royal funeral shroud. Next, wrap the Pharaoh with strips of fine linen. While wrapping, insert amulets and jewelry into the strips. You can also cast spells and chant incantations during this process.
- Depending on the time period, some Pharaohs also have their names written on each linen strip.
Place the death mask on the Pharaoh.Each Pharaoh has a death mask made of gold. These masks help the spirit identify the body in death. Gently lay the death mask over the Pharaoh’s wrapped head to complete the mummification.
- Many less wealthy Egyptians used death masks. However, these masks were made of wood or plaster.
Lay the Pharaoh to rest.First, gently lay the Pharaoh in the painted and prepared sarcophagus, being careful not to disturb the death mask. After the sarcophagus is closed, the Pharaoh can be placed in his tomb. Set the sacred organ jars around the sarcophagus and seal the tomb.
- Depending on the wishes of the Pharaoh, servants, gold, chariots, and other worldly goods may be entombed with him.
QuestionWhat do I do if I find a mummy?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDon't touch it! You could damage the carefully preserved body. If you find a mummy, your best bet would be to let some scientific sources know (by contacting certain scientists in your area or even scientific publications like National Geographic). For example, you could look up researchers in your area (at local universities) who specialize in Egyptian history and send them an email explaining your findings.Thanks!
QuestionHow do you make a death mask?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerLife-size: Spread a layer of Vaseline over your model's face. Next, lay strips of paper mache over their face, leaving plenty of room for their nose and mouth (so that they can breathe.) Let the paper mache become firm, then remove it and set it in a sunny spot to dry. You can paint this mask however you'd like. Small: Wrap your mummy's head in plastic. Next, cover it in tiny strips of paper mache to form a mask shape. Allow these strips to dry completely before removing them. Remove the plastic from the mummy. Paint the mask and place it back on the mummy.Thanks!
QuestionWhich order did they take the organs outwikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe sacred organs were removed first (stomach, intestines, liver, and lungs.) Next, the brain was removed and discarded.Thanks!
How do I mummify a dead animal?
What do I do after covering the doll with a paper towel?
Do I have to wait 48 hours?
How do I make model canopic jars?
How did mummification start?
Things You’ll Need
Doll or foil form
Plastic wrap or a plastic bag
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Video: How to Make a Mummy & Sarcophagus | Ancient Egypt
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