How to make your own ancient cartouche

Written by allene reynolds
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How to make your own ancient cartouche
A cartouche in ancient Egypt surrounded an individual's name. (Getty Creative)

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.

Skill level:

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Things you need

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

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    Clay cartouche

  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

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

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    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

  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

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

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