How to Make a Sarcophagus for a School Project

••• bischofsstatue liegend im kölner dom image by leiana from

An Egyptian sarcophagus conjures images of pyramids and mummies for many schoolchildren. An original Egyptian sarcophagus actually was made of stone and only later was gold used for burying pharaohs. Other countries such as Greece also used this type of burial coffin. Egyptian sarcophagi often had layers of coffins inside each other, similar to Russian nesting dolls. The coffins were often decorated with signs and symbols, in addition to valuables.

Model Sarcophagus

    Review the sarcophagus diagram or photos of a gold sarcophagus. Cover the work surface with newspaper. Place the shoebox flat on the work surface with the top on. Roll out the clay into a long snake form and apply the clay to the edge of the small craft mask. Place the small craft mask on top of the shoebox toward one end and press it down so the clay flattens against the shoebox and holds the mask in place. There should still be some room at the top of the box to decorate the headdress. Add more clay so any edges of the clay mask that do not reach the shoebox are filled and it becomes a solid piece. Use some additional clay to create another snake form and attach to the chin of the mask to create the beard for the face.

    Paint the entire box, mask and clay with the gold spray paint. Open the box and paint the inside of the box gold as well. Apply a second coat as necessary. Allow the gold paint to dry completely. Put the top back onto the box. Glue the red teardrop jewel in the center at the top of the shoebox above the mask. This is the jewel in the crown of the sarcophagus. Follow the diagram and paint the rest of the headdress with blue stripes. Paint the eyebrows, eyes and the beard of the mask with black paint.

    Choose a pattern to paint on the remainder of the body of the sarcophagus. Lines, symbols and letters can be used. Alternate colors across the body or divide the body into four parts and paint symbols that are significant to the student. Decorate the sides of the model with ceramic tiles, jewels, or Egyptian symbols as desired. Set aside to dry.

    Wrap a doll in strips of white paper napkin to create a mummy and place inside the sarcophagus.

    Things You'll Need

    • Sarcophagus diagram
    • Shoebox
    • Small craft mask
    • Newspaper
    • Clay – 1 cup any color
    • Gold spray paint
    • Red teardrop-shaped jewel
    • Black paint
    • Red paint
    • Blue paint
    • Paintbrushes
    • Craft tiles
    • Craft jewels
    • White paper napkins
    • Small doll


About the Author

Based in Minneapolis, Dawn Marcotte has been writing for more than 10 years. Her recent writing has turned to nonfiction and includes articles on home and garden, education, crafts and automotive subjects. She currently has several eBooks published and available online. Marcotte has a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from the University of Iowa.

Photo Credits

  • bischofsstatue liegend im kölner dom image by leiana from