The ancient Egyptians mummified their dead in an elaborate process that involved removing the internal organs and brain. Embalmers used resin and long linen bandages. Amulets placed within the wrappings helped to protect the deceased. The earliest Egyptian burials were pit burials, or holes dug in the sand for the body and grave goods. The desert conditions performed a natural mummification, which may have inspired the subsequent embalming practices. The caskets that held Egyptian remains were usually made in the shape of the body, and in the case of pharaohs and wealthy Egyptians, often featured carved details.
Draw the mummy casket shape on a piece of lightweight cardboard. If you have a mummy model, draw around the mummy model so that the case will be large enough for the mummy to fit inside of it. Use a ruler to make the sides and one end straight. Trace around a cup to make one end of the mummy case rounded.
Cut the mummy casket base out of the cardboard. Hold the base on the cardboard and trace around it to draw the lid for your mummy casket. Repeat the outline for the mummy around the second mummy case drawing so that it's slightly larger than the mummy casket base, so that it's large enough to fit on the casket as the lid. The lid needs to be at least an eighth of an inch larger than the base all the way around.
Cut the mummy casket lid out of the cardboard. Draw a 3.81 cm / 1 1/2-inch-wide strip of cardboard to create the sides of the mummy casket. If you want a deeper mummy case, draw a wider strip. For example, if your casket is 30cm / 12 inches long and 8cm / 3 inches wide, draw a strip that's 79 cm / 31 inches long, or draw 41 cm / 16 inch strips. The strips need to be longer that the sides and ends of the mummy casket with half an inch to overlap the ends of the strips at each cut.
Cut the strips out of the cardboard. Draw another strip the same length as the first one to create the sides of the coffin lid. Make this strip narrower than the first strip, for example, 20 mm / 3/4 of an inch.
Cut out the casket lid strips. Create tabs in the strips by cutting quarter-inch-long slits along the width of each strip, 25mm / 1 inch apart.
Fold the tabs on both strips. Hold the wide strip along the casket base with the tabs folded over the base. Tape the tabs down on the bottom of the casket base. This forms the bottom of your mummy case. Curve the casket side strip around the base and continue taping the tabs down on the bottom of the base. Overlap the strip and tape the overlapped ends of the strip together to secure the casket sides.
Use the same method of taping the tabs over the top of the mummy casket lid. Overlap the ends of the mummy casket lid's sides to complete the lid.
Roll a ball of tissue paper about the size of a ping pong ball. Flatten it partway with your hand. Tape it to the casket lid at the rounded end to form the head. Squeeze more tissue paper into a long roll to represent the body shape on the coffin lid. The ancient Egyptians often made the top of the casket in the shape of the mummy. This body shaped coffin is called an anthropoid coffin for its human shape. It's intended to magically protect the deceased.
Form a wad of tissue paper to stick up twice as high as the body-shaped roll to represent the feet. Tape the body- and feet-shaped tissue paper wads onto the mummy casket lid.
Tear gold tissue paper into strips. Brush glue on the head-end of the casket lid. Apply the strips of tissue paper over the casket lid. Continue gluing the gold strips on the lid, overlapping the tissue paper to cover the lid completely.
Glue gold tissue paper strips on the sides of the casket base in the same manner. Allow the glue to dry for at least half a day or overnight.
Draw the details of the mummy with a marking pen. For example, draw a pharaoh's headdress and beard for King Tut, or a wig for a queen. Look at a picture of the mummy casket you're making to choose the details, such as a wide collar in blue and red.
- Carnegie Museum of Natural History: Life in Ancient Egypt: Mummification
- Carnegie Museum of Natural History: Life in Ancient Egypt: Tombs
- Culture 24: UK's Museums: Show Me: How to Make an Egyptian Mummy Case Part 2
- Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University: The Coffin in Ancient Egypt