How to Make an Egyptian Khat Headdress

Written by joanne robitaille
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How to Make an Egyptian Khat Headdress
The khat headdress is similar to a pharaoh's nemes headdress. (Egyptian slave image by jimcox40 from

The khat headdress is one of the more simplistic ancient Egyptian crowns. Images and remnants were found in the tomb of Tutankhamen. It's similar in shape to the famous headdress worn by the Sphinx, but made of cloth with a solid colour rather than stripes. In the centre of the forehead is an upright cobra with its hood flared out. This is a representation of the goddess Wadjet and is an indicator of the wearer's high status. The back portion of the headdress can be filled with cotton batting to help give it the full appearance found in carvings.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Solid coloured linen
  • Pencil
  • Foam block
  • Craft knife
  • Gold spray paint
  • Newspaper
  • Hot glue
  • Cotton batting
  • Ribbon

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  1. 1

    Select a solid coloured linen to use as the body of the headdress. A khat headdress is made of a single piece of fabric that's folded, knotted and braided into place. To make sure you have enough fabric, use a piece that measures approximately 4 feet on each side.

  2. 2

    Draw the rough outline of a cobra head and neck (hood extended) onto a piece of foam block. This image will be 3-dimensional so ensure that you include the thickness of the snake into your sketch. Make sure there's enough space at the bottom back of the snake to later attach it to the headdress. Carve it out using a craft knife.

  3. 3

    Set the snake head down on some newspaper and spray paint it gold. The original ancient Egyptian khat headdresses would have had an uraeus (flared cobra head) made of gold or another precious metal. Give it several coats so that the underlying foam is no longer visible and the snake has a slight sheen to it. Allow it to dry.

  4. 4

    Glue the uraeus to one edge of the fabric. Fold the fabric in half to find the centre point and glue the snake head approximately a 1/2 inch from the edge. Use hot glue and press it down firmly onto the fabric to ensure that it adheres tightly.

  1. 1

    Place the cloth to the wearer's head so that the uraeus rests in the middle of her forehead. Have her hold it steady then draw the two front corners back and tie the fabric tightly at the nape of her neck. The other two corners should be hanging freely down her back. Her hair should hang down over the knotted area as though wearing a headband.

  2. 2

    Gather the free flowing section of fabric up and thread it under the knotted section. Don't pull the fabric completely tight since it needs to hang somewhat loosely to hold the rounded shape of a traditional khat headdress. Stuff it with cotton batting if you want to give this section more volume.

  3. 3

    Braid the hanging strips of fabric into a single plait. Tie it off with a ribbon.

Tips and warnings

  • To create a more polished looking headdress, hem the edges of the fabric so that they don't fray.

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