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How to make a paper mache mummy

Updated April 17, 2017

Making a mummy is a favourite classroom project when studying ancient Egypt. Mummy projects run the gamut from simple paper drawings or construction paper versions through intricately carved and decorated clay or wood versions in elaborate sarcophagi. One of the most common approaches is to wrap a standard 10- to 11-inch fashion doll or comparable wire frame shape in paper mache strips. Once dried, the mummy figure can be decorated or placed in a replica sarcophagus. This method is both affordable and easily accomplished by most age groups.

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  1. Prepare your work area. Cover the table surface with old newspapers or plastic tablecloths. Working with paper mache is extremely messy, so you may also want to protect the floor.

  2. Tear narrow strips of newspaper or newsprint. Torn edges adhere better and make a smoother surface. Repeat with white computer paper or paper towel.

  3. Make a paper mache mixture by mixing one part flour to five parts water. Boil until thick and completely mixed; add a teaspoon of salt. Allow to cool. You can also use inexpensive liquid starch, found in the laundry products aisle at the grocery store. Pour the mixture or starch into a wide shallow bowl or dish.

  4. Dip the newsprint strips into the flour mixture or starch, coating completely. As you lift the strip out, run it between your thumb and forefinger to squeeze out excess mixture. Wrap the coated strip across your wire frame or doll. Overlap strips slightly as you go to ensure complete coverage. When doll or frame is totally covered, allow it to dry completely (24 to 48 hours). Repeat coating process with torn strips of white computer paper or paper towel; the white surface will be easier to paint or decorate than newsprint. Dry completely (24 hours) before decorating.

  5. Paint your mummy figure with craft or poster paints.

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Things You'll Need

  • Old newspapers or plastic table covers
  • 10-11 inch fashion doll (like a Barbie)
  • Doll-shaped frame fashioned from wire
  • Torn strips of newsprint
  • White computer paper or white paper towel
  • Flour, water and salt mixture or liquid starch
  • Craft paint

About the Author

As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.

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