Need a great
science or art project for school? Or maybe something to just
liven up your den or bedroom? With a little cardboard, paints,
a glue gun and some elbow grease you can build a replica mummy
complete with case...
project requires about 12 hours of work, lots of cardboard,
and about $25 worth of materials you can easily find at your
local hardware or art supply store. Some simple tools are required
including a folding ruler at least five feet long. The following
instructions are a guide, and you may find you want or need
to adjust your approach along the way. Hopefully we can help
you avoid some of the pitfalls. WARNING: This project requires
the use of some sharp cutting tools and a hot glue gun. Children
should only attempt this project under the supervision of an
Note: If you plan to make both the mummy and the mummy case,
make the mummy first. You can then use the mummy to figure out
how large the mummy case should be.
Before you start we recommend you read all the instructions
(all three pages) so you can get a feeling for the scope of
Making the Mummy:
Supplies: (6) 20"x30" light poster boards,
two rolls of inexpensive masking tape 2"x60', white glue,
old newspaper and scissors.
You will be making the mummy by copying the shape
of a volunteer by making tracings of his (or her) body. The
tracings are turned into cross-sections and assembled to make
a body shape. Then you will be wrapping it in masking tape which
is meant to mimic the long cloths used in wrapping mummies.
These supplies are enough to make a mummy up toa height of 60".
Make the long poster board.
STEP 1: Lay the newspaper out on your working
surface so that you do not have to worry about getting glue
where it does not belong.
STEP 2: Lay one of the poster boards out on the
surface. Cover it with a thin film of white glue. Then take
another poster board and lay it on top of the left half
of the first one as shown in the diagram. Take a third poster
board and use it to cover the right half of the first.
Press down on the boards so they make a good seal. Then let
STEP 3: Flip over the three glued poster boards.
Cut a fourth poster board in half so that each part will cover
one section of the glued board that are still of single thickness.
Then use white glue to adhere these to those areas. When you
are done you should have a double layer poster board 60"
long by 20" high.
STEP 4: Finally glue the remaining two poster
boards together to get a single 30" by 20" board of
Create a Body Shape
STEP 5: Have your volunteer lay down on the floor
with his/her arms crossed over their chest in mummy style. Have
someone hold the long poster board next to them in a vertical
position. Use a pencil to trace the rough shape of the person
at their mid-line onto the poster board. Head should be at one
end, feet at the other. If the person is slightly taller than
the poster board you can shift it when you get to the area of
the legs and continue drawing. This may result in a mummy with
slightly shorter legs than your volunteer, but it will not be
very noticeable. Check the diagram to see how this tracing should
be done. When you are sure you have the tracing right, use the
scissors to cut it out.
6: Use the part of the long poster board that has not been cut
to do another tracing of the person while they are still lying
down. This tracing will start at their shoulder and go down
to their feet. It should represent the height of their body
off the floor not at the mid-line, but about four inches to
one side. If you shifted the poster board because they were
too tall the last time, shift it the same amount this time when
you reach the legs. Cut out what you traced.
STEP 7: Use the last tracing (shoulder to feet)
and a pencil to trace that shape onto what is left of the long
poster board. Cut that out. When you are done you should have
three cross sections running from the head or shoulders of the
volunteer to his feet. We will refer to these as the "vertical"
STEP 8: Use the 30" by 20" poster board
to make cross sections of your volunteer that run across their
body from left to right. To do this you can simply hold the
poster board over their body and mark the width and height of
their body at each location. Then draw an oval using those markings
as the outer perimeter. Do a cross section at the shoulders,
chest, waist, thigh, knees, calves and feet. You may need what
is left of the long poster board to do three cross-sections
of the head. We will refer to these as the "horizontal"
STEP 9: You now need to join the horizontal and
vertical cross sections to create a shape approximating the
volunteer's body. Start at the shoulder and work your way to
the feet, then go back and do the head. Have a couple of people
line up the three vertical cross sections four inches apart
and hold them while you work. Take the shoulder level cross
section and locate where it should go across the three vertical
ones. Mark the points where they touch with a pencil. Then use
the scissors to cut slots on all the cross sections that go
exactly halfway across them. The slots should go upward into
the horizontal cross sections and downward into the vertical
STEP 10: Now slide the slots into each other.
They should interlock nicely and you should have three vertical
cross-sections held in position by the shoulder level horizontal
cross section. Repeat this procedure for each horizontal cross
sections at the appropriate level. When done you should have
a set of interlocking poster board cross-sections that approximates
the shape of the volunteer's body.
Wrap the Mummy
STEP 11: Flip the cross-sectioned body onto its
stomach. Use the masking tape to start covering up the shape.
Run the strips from the feet up to the head. Make the strips
as long as you can comfortably handle (this is usually two or
three feet). Overlap them. Do only the back of the mummy
up to its sides. Do not pull the tape tight over the cross-sections.
If you do they will distort and you will lose the shape. When
the back of the mummy is covered with vertical strips of masking
tape (that is strips running from head to foot) flip the mummy
over on its back.
STEP 12: If any part of the mummy cross-section
has gotten distorted during the taping process this is the time
to make adjustments. Then start taking sheets of newspaper and
crumpling them and stuffing them into the boxes made by the
cross-sections. The tape you put on the back of the mummy should
keep paper from falling out the other side Do not use too much
paper for any one box. Be very careful at the edges of the mummy
where the boxes are formed by three pieces of poster board and
masking tape. Do not to stuff too much newpaper into those boxes.
You want enough to keep the tape from collapsing in between
the cross-sections, but not too much to cause the tape to pull
away from where it touches the poster board.
STEP 13: What you should have at this point is
a cross-section of poster boards filled with newspaper with
the bottom taped closed so that the newspaper cannot fall out.
The newspaper should keep the cross-sections from collapsing
and skewing. Now tape the front of the mummy with vertical strips
of masking tape as you did the back. Do not try to pull the
tape tight, but let it loosely follow the shape of the mummy.
This is particularly important where the tape runs down from
the toes to the legs.
14: Now you should have a body shape completely enclosed by
vertical strips of masking tape. You will probably have used
up your first roll of masking tape. Next you can start wrapping
the mummy with horizontal strips. You may want to stand the
mummy up and have somebody turn it as you wrap it in one continuous
strip of masking tape.
STEP 15: When the horizontal taping is done, you
have your mummy. You may choose to paint it, though the color
of masking tape is roughly the color of old mummy wrappings.
The example mummy in these pictures was sprayed in places with
gray paint to give it the appearance of great age.
NOTES: The cross-section technique we used to
build the mummy shape is often employed by Hollywood studios
to make some of their props. In the film "Jurassic Park,"
a small clay model of a triceratops was cut into cross sections,
then scaled up to larger pieces which were put together to make
the full-sized prop seen in the picture.
Wrapping a mummy first vertically, then horizontally
as you did was a technique used by the ancient Egyptians to
make the real mummy wrapping less likely to come unraveled.
Unlike our mummy where we just used two layers, real mummies
might be wrapped with as many as a dozen layers of cloth.
NEXT SECTION: Building the
Krystek 2001. All Rights Reserved.