How to Make a Sarcophagus Out of Paper

Updated April 17, 2017

A paper sarcophagus can be an interesting Halloween party decoration that's a real conversation starter, an important addition to a parade float or a demonstration for a science project. No matter what you use it for, paper sarcophaguses are simple to build as long as you have a few friends to help you. It's also an inexpensive and eco-friendly project because it uses items that would otherwise be thrown away.

Tape the open end of the box together with duct tape by folding the flaps together and crossing the seams with tape. Make sure that any holes are taped up, as well.

Use the box knife to cut one of the long sides of the box, the top of the box and the bottom of the box down the middle in one straight line. When you're done cutting you should be able to open the box up like a book.

Make paper mache to cover the box and make it hard. To do this, dump the bag of flour into the 5 gallon bucket. Add water slowly as you mix with a long stick. Keep adding water until the mixture becomes a paste that is the consistency of thick cream. You can also mix one part water to one part flour if you are not comfortable judging consistency.

Rip the newspaper into 1-inch-wide strips that are as long as the newspaper.

Dip a strip into the paper mache paste for a few seconds. Remove the strip and run it between your index finger and your middle finger to remove excess paste. Lay the paper strip on the box and smooth it out with your hands. Keep repeating this process until the entire outside of the box is covered with strips.

Add extra layers of strips over the edges of the box to make them look more curved. The more layers you add, the more rounded the edges will seem.

Let the box dry. How long it takes to dry depends on the thickness of the layers of strips, but should only take a few days to dry. Use blow dryers or fans to speed up the process.

Spray paint the box and the Halloween mask gold.

Glue the mask onto the top of the door of the paper sarcophagus where the head would be.

Add stick-on jewels for sparkle. Use as many jewels as you like to get the effect you are wanting.


You may also want to glue gold rope around the edges of the sarcophagus for extra shine and dimension.


Supervise young children with glue guns. Box knives should be handled by adults only.

Things You'll Need

  • Refrigerator box
  • Duct tape
  • Box cutter
  • 12 to 24 old newspapers
  • Long stick or paint mixer
  • 5 gallon bucket
  • 2.27kg. white baking flour (not self-rising)
  • Warm water
  • 3 cans of gold spray paint
  • Pharaoh Halloween mask
  • Medium temperature hot glue and gun
  • Stick-on jewels of various colours
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About the Author

Since 1998 Alina McKee has written for dozens of traditional and online beauty, fashion, health and parenting publications including, Mama Health and Real Beauty. As a professional artist, her articles about these subjects have been used in magazines and websites around the globe. McKee has a diploma in fine art from Stratford Art School.