Mummies from ancient Egypt continue to inspire creative projects. The ancient Egyptians preserved the body of the dead by removing the organs -- except for the heart. They left the body covered in natron, a type of salt, for 70 days and then wrapped the body in fine strips of linen. Making a mummy serves as an educational presentation for the classroom, a learning activity for students, a decorating craft or rainy day amusement for nearly all ages. Basic supplies create a three-dimensional mummy suitable for display.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Aluminium foil
- Plaster gauze
- Bowl of water
- Black tea (optional)
Spread newspapers on the table. Add 1 inch of water to a bowl and place it within reach as you make your plaster mummy.
Squeeze aluminium foil into a body shape by working wads of foil in your hands to form the desired shape. Make a ball for the head and form a body-shaped mass that tapers at the feet like the shape of a mummy coffin. Bend the ends of the legs up at a 90-degree angle to form feet.
Cut a length of plaster gauze at least twice as long as the mummy's height. For example, cut two feet of the bandage for a mummy under 12 inches tall. Wrap the mummy in a spiral pattern like a barber's pole so each layer of plaster overlaps the last one.
Dip a plaster strip in water and wrap it around the feet. Although movies often depict mummies walking around, actual mummies generally had their legs wrapped together and the arms wrapped with the torso.
Wrap the mummy in a spiral pattern like a barber's pole so each layer of plaster overlaps the last one. Work slowly to create a neat wrapping like a real mummy's.
Wrap the mummy to the top of its head and cut off the excess plaster gauze. Dip your fingers in water and press the cut end down on the plaster mummy's head. This helps it to stick, so the mummy will dry securely, and not come unravelled.
Tips and warnings
- Pharmacies carry plaster gauze; it comes in roles like bandage tape.
- For a group project or kids' activity, provide supplies for each participant.
- To create an old-looking mummy, dip the plaster strips in strong black tea. This gives them the tan colour of aged mummy wrappings.
- To make a mummy with individually wrapped arms and legs to look like a Halloween or monster movie mummy, squeeze foil into sausage shapes for the legs and make shorter foil sausages for the arms.
- Be careful, as the cutting edges on aluminium foil boxes are sharp.
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