Decorative and Practical Paper Mache

Guest Post – Paper Mache Mummy and Sarcophagus

Paper Mache Sarcophagus, detail

Today’s guest post is by Cory Triplett and his 6th grade class, who show us their paper mache mummy and sarcophagus, complete with step-by-step photos. (We have an Egyptian art display in our local library, but we don’t have anything as impressive as this. All I can say is “wow!”)  Their mummy was made in a manner very similar to the Figure Sculpture sent in by Michael Jacobson last week. This is turning into a really exciting, (yet completely accidental), series of posts about paper mache figure sculpture and portraits. Isn’t this fun?

And now I’ll turn it over to Cory:

Paper Mache Mummy and Sarcophagus

Paper Mache Mummy and Sarcophagus

Cory, in Plastic

Cory, in Plastic

Last year I sent information on the paper mache panther that my class and I had made. This year we tackled quite the project. The 6th grade students were studying Egypt in History class, so what better way to tie that subject in to art than by making a life-sized mummy.

The students wrapped me with plastic wrap and then in layers of packaging tape. Once finished, another teacher cut me out and the teachers completed the head portion (for safety reasons). Later on in the year the students then covered the tape mummy with strips of muslin fabric coated with liquid starch. Our Mummy was complete!

But, the adventure doesn’t end there! We were going to present our mummy at our annual History Fair along with our clay Canopic jars. To make the presentation a little more spectacular I decided that the mummy needed a home. That’s right, we were going to make a life-sized paper mache sarcophagus. Due to the very small amount of time that I have with my 6th graders I had to do all of the building and painting of this project. The students helped paper mache the sarcophagus.
Paper Mache Sarcophagus, Step 1

Paper Mache Sarcophagus, in process

Paper Mache Sarcophagus, in process

Paper Mache Sarcophagus, in process

The structure and lid were created with cardboard, glue, and tape. Then, the sarcophagus was covered with 2 layers of newspaper and art paste.
Paper Mache Sarcophagus, in process

Paper Mache Sarcophagus, in process

Paper Mache Sarcophagus, details added

Paper Mache Sarcophagus, details added

Next, details were applied with newspaper, tape, puff paint, and foam shapes. Then, a layer of white house paint was applied (I find that this step helps tighten the newspaper a little more).
Paper Mache Sarcophagus, painted white

Paper Mache Sarcophagus, painted white

Finally, the paint was added.
Paper Mache Sarcophagus, painted gold

Paper Mache Sarcophagus, painted gold

The gold was spray painted on and then the details were added with acrylics.
Paper Mache Sarcophagus, details added

Paper Mache Sarcophagus, details painted with acrylics

Both of these projects took most of the year to complete and they could not have been accomplished without the help of my students. They did a great job!!!
Thanks for letting us share,
6th Graders at RVMS and Cory Triplett
Paper Mache Sarcophagus, detail

Paper Mache Sarcophagus, detail

Paper Mache Sarcophagus, from the side

Paper Mache Sarcophagus, from the side

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditmail

About the author

Jonni Good

I'm a sculptor, author, gardener, and grandma. When I'm not catering to the needs of my obnoxious cat, I make videos, create stuff, and play around with paper mache. I'm also the author of several highly-rated books on paper mache. You'll find them in the sidebar, and on amazon.com

19 Comments

  • This project was the inspiration for my Kindergartener and 2nd Grader’s school History Fair project. It takes about 70 days to make a real mummy and including research and art it took almost the same for our kiddos. It was worth the effort though. They had a blast and took home the “People’s Choice” award for the lowest grade’s division at the History Fair. Thanks for the ideas!

    • Congratulations! What a great project for the kids – they must be so proud of it. Now that the fair is over, does someone get to take it home with them?

    • The arms are made from crumpled newspaper and masking tape. The body/legs are made from cardboard cut in half ovals and bend/rolled cardboard over that structure (as seen in picture 4) Hope this helps.

  • Hi- this is amazing and need to make one for a dance. I appreciate any feedback or additional pictures. I have a few questions that might seem trivial-

    You in plastic- did you cut yourself out from a slit in the back or the side? Plastic wrap and packing tape really held your shape to be able to add starched muslin on to? Did you stuff the mummy form then add the muslin?

    House paint- is that wall paint found at say Home Depot? flat or semigloss? does it matter?
    art paste- where do I get it? Is there a brand name?

    I am still mystified by the details and the arms and hands. I understand the details from the puffy paint…the arms and hands were formed from newspaper correct? then taped into forms of arms and fists? The collar and headdress were made from foam board? Do you by chance have pictures of those details……visual learner.

    I do appreciate you sharing your project. It is very helpful. Perhaps I will make a queen to match your king. :)

    • Karri,
      I feel horrible for not responding. I just haven’t had the time to check the comment section. I know it is too late for to help you but I will answer your questions so that any one else searching or wondering will see it.

      Q- You in plastic- did you cut yourself out from a slit in the back or the side? Plastic wrap and packing tape really held your shape to be able to add starched muslin on to? Did you stuff the mummy form then add the muslin?
      A- Yes, I had adult helpers cut a slit down my back until I could get out. Use old clothing as there is a chance they might get cut. One layer of plastic wrap and quite a few layers of tape so it is fairly stiff, but not extremely hard to cut. The muslin stuck surprisingly well with the art paste. There are two kinds -Elmer’s and school smart, I prefer the school smart. These can be found at the school specialty website. We used probably 3-4 boxes.

      Q- House paint- is that wall paint found at say Home Depot? flat or semigloss? does it matter?
      A- Cheap interior house paint, or gesso, just something that will tighten your structure and cover the writing on the newspaper. I would advise against semigloss as it might be too slick for other paint. I would use flat.

      Q- art paste- where do I get it? Is there a brand name?
      A- See question one.

      Q-I am still mystified by the details and the arms and hands. I understand the details from the puffy paint…the arms and hands were formed from newspaper correct? then taped into forms of arms and fists?
      A- Yes, the hands were made from newspaper and added to the arms.

      Q- The collar and headdress were made from foam board?
      A- The headdress was formed from cardboard and the collar is made of layers of newspaper shaped to fit.

      Q- Do you by chance have pictures of those details……visual learner.
      A- Unfortunately, I do not have any other pictures.

  • This is truly amazing! I wish my 6th grade teacher was as Mr. Triplett!

    6th grade is such a great time to teach about ancient Egypt. After I got back from Egypt in college, I was the guest speaker at “Ancient Egypt Day” for the Talented and Gifted 6th grade students. There were three schools represented, and 3 golden papier-mâché sarcophagi! I couldn’t take credit for that, but I did teach the students how to write their names in hieroglyphs.

  • hi
    really excellent and an awesome work. just amazing to watch the steps of the outcome………….
    no words to write..
    keep going
    sudha

  • Nick,
    Thanks for the questions. The effect on the arms was done with Fabric (or Puff) Paint. Its stays puffy when it dries. The hands were done by squishing newpaper into that specific shape and taping them that way. As for the cling wrap, that is why I had other teachers supervise, because I knew I might not get out otherwise.

  • Dear Cory and class. This is one blown away Brit sitting up late in Paris, France, looking at this magnificent creation. 10/10! How did you get the wire effect on the arms, is that wire fencing pulled taught around the limbs? And the hands, are they just formed from papier mache? So many questions spring to mind looking at this. Nick
    PS At my school we’d likely have picked you up when cling film wrapped and left you on the school lawn for a while, just to experience the glory of the Pharaohs in full:-)

  • Thank you all for the wonderful comments! A lot of work went into this project and I am happy to hear the positive responses. I was asked many times in college to change my major, and one of those was to graphic design, but I am glad I didn’t. I love being a teacher and I love seeing my students have as much fun as they do.

  • Oh My Goodness. Brilliant. Congratulations to you and your students on such a fine and well executed project. How lucky the school and students to have your talent. Had you thought of working with interior designers and the major NY Dept. Store window designers? Your work makes me think of this. Betty

  • Wow great job Cory, yourself and your students should be very proud of yourselves. Your students are very lucky to have you, this sort of project is something they will remember the rest of their lives.
    Chris

  • Impressive Cory, it looks very nice, I don’t believe I had any teachers as committed and as talented as you in my early school days!

    Well done!

Leave a Comment

Heads up! You are attempting to upload an invalid image. If saved, this image will not display with your comment.

Heads up! You are attempting to upload a file that's too large. Please try a smaller file smaller than 250KB.

Note that images greater than 250KB will not be uploaded.