How to make your own ancient cartouche

Updated April 17, 2017

A cartouche is an oval frame for an ancient Egyptian name tag composed of Egyptian hieroglyphics. Kings and queens wore them around their necks, and when they died a cartouche tablet was put on their tombs. Hieroglyphics are symbols rather than alphabetical characters. The symbols are codes that represent sounds and ideas. There are two ways to make a royal cartouche for your name in hieroglyphics.

Clay cartouche

Mold a piece of modelling clay into an oval shape. Flatten it and poke a hole in the top with a drinking straw. Allow to dry overnight.

Apply a coat of gold paint. Allow the paint to dry.

Visit in the Resources section for a list of symbols and their meanings and sounds. Practice making hieroglyphics on paper before drawing them in a column on the cartouche.

Simulate original hieroglyphics by cutting a drinking straw end into a V shape. Dip the cut straw end in black paint and draw your hieroglyphics. In ancient Egypt, hieroglyphics were applied to the gold cartouche with a sharpened reed dipped in soot.

Cut yarn or string long enough to make a pendant necklace and put it through the hole in the top of the cartouche. Either tie or tape the string together to complete your cartouche necklace.

Paper cartouche

Cut a piece of gold construction paper in an oval shape and back it with cardboard cut in the same shape. Glue the pieces together.

Cut a round hole in the top of the oval for a string to slide through. Either draw the hieroglyphics that represent your name and colour or paint as desired, or find templates of hieroglyphic symbols to print or trace.

Put the string through the hole to complete your royal necklace or wall hanging.


The symbols in original Egyptian cartouche were either raised gold or black.

Things You'll Need

  • Gold construction paper
  • Pen or coloured markers
  • Modelling clay
  • Scissors
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Heavy string or yarn
  • Drinking straw
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About the Author

Allene Reynolds has been a freelance writer for more than 30 years and has written both fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in several national magazines, regional publications and major newspapers.