How to Make Egyptian Death Masks
The ancient Egyptians placed much emphasis on an eternal afterlife. As part of their belief system, they created elaborate death masks to be worn by mummies. These were believed to provide a recognizable face for the deceased. Kids can have a blast learning about ancient Egyptian culture as they make their own individualized Egyptian death masks with paper mache and paint. The masks can be as simple or as elaborate as you like.
Things You'll Need
- 1 cup flour
- 4 cups water
- Cooking pot
- White poster board
- Plastic face mask
- String or elastic
- 4 ice cubes
- Strips of newspaper
- Masking tape
- Spray or acrylic paints in gold and other colors
- Decorative beads (optional)
- Glue (optional)
Making Your Mask
Mix 1 cup flour and 4 cups water together in a cooking pot, then boil the mixture, stirring frequently until it thickens. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and stir in 4 ice cubes. Allow the mixture to cool.
Place your plastic mask on poster board, and trace around the mask. Remove the mask, and cut out the traced shape, cutting from the inside of the shape outward.
Draw your desired headdress shape around the cutout on the poster board, and cut out your headdress with scissors.
Place the plastic mask over the cutout in the center of the headdress. Apply masking tape to the edges of the mask to adhere it to the headdress.
Dip a newspaper strip into your paper mache mixture, then run the strip between two fingers to remove excess paper mache. Press the newspaper strip onto the front of the mask and headdress. Continue with more strips until the front of the mask and headdress is covered. Let it dry.
Repeat step 5 on the back of the mask and headdress and let it dry, then repeat the entire process to create a double layer of paper mache on both sides. Let the mask and headdress dry completely.
Decorating Your Mask
Poke holes in the nose and cut out the eyes, using scissors.
Poke holes in the sides of the headdress, and attach string or elastic to tie around your head.
Apply gold spray or acrylic paint to the face of the mask. Let it dry.
Decorate your mask with other colors of paint in any way you want. Glue on beads if you want to make it even more elaborate.
- Children may need help with cutting out the shapes, particularly the nostrils, eyes and string holes.
- Children may also need help with smoothing paper mache strips over edges and creases so the shape is maintained.