Both the Christian and Hebrew scriptures depict Moses as an enigmatic leader who rescued the nation of Israel from four centuries of bondage to the Pharaohs of Egypt. Once out of Egypt, Moses led the Hebrews to Mount Sinai, where God met with Moses and carved the Ten Commandments from solid stone. Moses destroyed the first set in anger upon seeing the Hebrews with an idol in the shape of a calf. The second set travelled with the Hebrews until the building of the temple, where they were stored inside the Ark of the Covenant. Foam is one of the best materials for creating stone props.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Utility knife
- 2-inch thick foam
- Surform plane
- Latex paint
- Spray paint
Cut a piece of cardboard to 12-by-20 inches. Fold it in half the long way. Mark and cut a curve from the top of this fold down to the outside edge about three inches below the top of the fold using a utility knife. Cut the cardboard through both thicknesses along this line.
Unfold the cardboard and trace this outline on two-inch thick foam. Lay this template beside the first outline to create the traditional double "hump" shape pictured in most images of Moses with the tablets. Trace it again. Move over a few inches and create a second outline, tracing the template two more times to create two sets.
Cut the tablets from the foam with a jigsaw. Scrape a surform or "grater" plane along the outside edge, removing a small amount of foam to rough the edges of the "stones." Use a marker to write the Ten Commandments on each tablet with lettering at least a 1/2-inch thick. The commandments are in the second book of the Bible, Exodus, chapter 20. Space your lettering to fit -- not all of the commandments are equal in length. Use Roman numerals for a more traditional look when labelling the commandments.
Paint the tablets with a coat of grey latex paint, painting around the letters you drew with a small art brush. Allow the paint to dry for one hour. Spray paint the letters in a similar colour of grey so the aerosol solvent eats into the foam to etch the letters into the tablet.
Sponge a light coat of flat black onto the tablets for stone texturing. Blend it with a small amount of grey and white for a more realistic effect.
Select one of the tablets to be the "golden calf" tablets. Break them in half over your knee, keeping all the pieces. Apply a small amount of white glue to the broken edges to glue them together temporarily. Touch up the grey paint. Throw down this set when you tell the Ten Commandments story to demonstrate how Moses broke the tablets.
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