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How to make an ancient Egypt diorama

Updated February 21, 2019

Creating a diorama gives you a chance to show what you learnt about ancient Egypt. A diorama consists of a three-dimensional homemade scene on a specific topic. Your diorama will illustrate an aspect of ancient Egyptian life. The University of Chicago's website on making a diorama of ancient Egypt suggests making a nobleman's house, a monument or a tomb. Other possible ancient Egyptian diorama subjects include the great pyramids, mummification, the sphinx or a scene featuring the Nile.

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  1. Get the box that will house your ancient Egypt scene. The University of Chicago's website on making a diorama of ancient Egypt recommends using the diorama box as a pattern for the background and using the box lid as an extension for the diorama scene. Set the box right side up on the paper for the background. Use a pencil to outline the bottom of the box on the paper.

  2. Draw the background, such as a tomb interior. Paint the background. Paint the cork rubble to match the tomb walls or the Egyptian monument for your scene. Allow the background to dry. Add hieroglyphs or tomb painting details with fine paintbrushes or felt-tip pens. Cut the background along the line you traced.

  3. Apply white glue to the back of the diorama background scene and glue it to the inside of the bottom of the box. Stand the box up on one side so the background is right side up.

  4. Flatten one long edge of the box lid. Put glue on the flattened lid edge and put it under the bottom edge of the bottom front edge of the diorama box so that the lid extends from the box like a stage. Press down on the box to help glue it to the lid.

  5. Use a pencil and a ruler to draw a plan for the ancient Egypt diorama. For example, draw a rectangle on the floor for the mummy case, or a square for a pyramid. Put smaller figures and objects closer to the front of the diorama and larger objects farther back.

  6. Construct three-dimensional objects. For example, to make a mummy, form a mummy body out of tinfoil or use an unwanted fashion doll. If the diorama is for a school project, find out if you can use a doll or if the figures have to be handmade.

  7. Make a paper mache mixture out of 120 ml (½ cup) of PVA glue and 120 ml (½ cup) of water. Tear the white paper in the short direction into 13-mm (½-inch) strips. Dip the paper strips in the glue mixture and squeeze off extra paper mache glue with your fingers. Wrap the mummy in a spiral from head to toe, overlapping the paper wrapping. Allow to dry.

  8. Glue the parts of the ancient Egypt scene to the diorama floor in the places you marked. Paint the floor with the paper mache glue and add cork rubble and real sand, if desired.

  9. Tip

    Paint wooden thread spools to look like jars and baskets in a tomb. Use a gauze bandage for a mummy wrapping.

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Things You'll Need

  • Large shoebox or boot box with separate lid
  • Art paper or construction paper
  • Pencil
  • Tempera or acrylic paint
  • 2.5-cm (1-inch) wide and fine paintbrushes
  • Cup of water for rinsing paintbrushes
  • Foil, if needed
  • A4 white paper, such as computer paper from the recycling bin
  • White glue
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Felt-tip pens---any kind
  • Sand (optional)
  • Broken cork for rubble (optional)

About the Author

Gryphon Adams began publishing in 1985. He contributed to the "San Francisco Chronicle" and "Dark Voices." Adams writes about a variety of topics, including teaching, floral design, landscaping and home furnishings. Adams is a certified health educator and a massage practitioner. He received his Master of Fine Arts at San Francisco State University.

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