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How to make a mummy coffin from a shoe box

The National Gallery of Art's online guide to "The Quest for Immortality" suggests that kids create a shoebox sarcophagus to keep treasures in. Ancient Egyptians removed the body's organs, including the brain, and treated the body with salts and resins. The remains were wrapped in long linen bandages, resulting in mummies preserved for thousands of years. The coffins of royal, noble and wealthy Egyptians were protected by a sarcophagus, an outer case made of wood or stone. The outside of the sarcophagus included inscriptions in hieroglyphs, the picture-based writing of the ancient Egyptians. Make your own shoebox mummy coffin.

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  1. Place the shoebox on its long side on a piece of construction paper. Line up the bottom of the shoebox with one corner of a piece of construction paper so that one end and one side of the shoebox are even with the corner of the paper. Trace the other end and side of the box onto the paper with the pencil.

  2. Place the long side of the shoebox down on a second piece of construction paper and trace the end of the shoebox on construction paper again.

  3. Cut out the construction paper pieces you traced. Use the leftover pieces of construction paper to trace the short side of the shoebox onto a piece of construction paper twice to make covers for the rest of the shoebox mummy coffin.

  4. Cut out the last two pieces of construction paper for the mummy coffin.

  5. Apply glue 1/4 inch from the edge of each coffin cover piece of construction paper and glue them on to the sides of the box.

  6. Arrange the shoebox lid on a piece of construction paper so that one end and one side are each 1-1/2 inch from the edges of the paper. Measure 1-1/2 inch from the other side and end and make a mark. Use the ruler to make a straight line at the marks to finish making a rectangle out of the construction paper large enough to fold under the lid.

  7. Cut out the mummy coffin lid cover.

  8. Center the lid upside down on the coffin lid cover piece of construction paper. Draw a line from each corner of the lid to the corner of the paper. Cut each of the corner lines.

  9. Apply glue in a zigzag to the edges of the coffin lid cover paper. Fold the edges of the construction paper over the shoebox coffin lid edges. At the corners, glue one piece of the paper over the other inside the lid to make a flat corner.

  10. Turn the covered coffin lid right side up. Draw a mummy shape on the lid of the box. Copy a mummy coffin from a picture. Ancient Egyptian coffins were often painted to look like the deceased person, complete with a wig and jewellery.

  11. Draw hieroglyphs on the sides of the coffin, if desired.

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Things You'll Need

  • Long, narrow shoebox
  • Construction paper
  • White glue
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Coloured felt-tip pens

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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