Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal ........... painting by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

How to Make a Mummy

January 2014
The first thing you need to do is make up some natron, the salts used to preserve pharaohs. Mix up about a pound of salt and about a pound of baking soda together in a bowl. Set aside; we will be using it later.
October 2009

The pharaohs are made out of an orange and a potato cut in half.
Skewer them on a stiff piece of wire or a wooden skewer.

October 2009
If you use the wire, bend the ends of the wire back to make them safe and to secure them tightly. 

October 2009

January 2014

If you use the skewers, break off the skewers where they come out.

January 2014
Next, make an incision of about 2-3 inches along the left side of the pharaoh's abdomen (the orange) and pull out the internal organs (the orange pulp). 
October 2009
Get out as much as you can so that it will dry out properly.


January 2014
Next, take a cotton ball that has been soaked in some alcohol (either rubbing alcohol or wine is fine) and rub it all in the cavity. This kills bacteria that might make the pharaoh rot.
October 2009
Next, sprinkle a mixture of aromatic spices inside the cavity. We used a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Apple or Pumpkin pie spice works well for this.
January 2014

October 2009
Put down a dry paper towel down and place on it about a tablespoon of the natron you made earlier. Place the internal organs (orange pulp) on the natron and then sprinkle about a teaspoon more on top. Wrap up the corners of the paper towel and secure with a piece of tape.

October 2009

Don't forget to carve a face into the potato. Give your pharaoh personality! You could also give him a name.
October 2009

October 2009
October 2009
Place your finished pharaohs in a plastic box with about a quarter inch of the natron spread on the bottom. Lightly cover the pharaohs with some more natron.

October 2009
This is what they should look like at this stage.
January 2014

They need to sit like this undisturbed for about two days.

October 2009
October 2009
They will lose the bulk of their juices in those two days and the natron will become wet. At this point you will need to change the wet natron for a new dry batch. Dry out the natron by spreading it out on some newspaper in case you need it later. It will take two weeks before the mummies are completely preserved. Check them from time to time and change the natron if it gets wet.
January 2014

Once they are fully dried, they usually turn brown, although sometimes the orange retains the orange color. First take the internal organs and open up the paper towel bundle. Remove the dried orange fibers and stuff them into the canopic jars. Throw away all of the natron.Then you take your dried mummy out of the natron, brush off all the natron you can and lay it on your work surface. We used waxed paper. Begin wrapping your mummy with gauze, applying wood glue as you work. Wood glue is used because it is made of a resin, which is what the Egyptians used. We try to be as authentic as possible. Keep wrapping and applying glue until the mummy is entirely coated with the gauze. Keep working with the gauze to get it to wrap smoothly and to cover all parts of the mummy. You may need to wrap vertically as well as horizontally. We inserted sequins ever so often to represent the jewels and amulets that the Egyptians wrapped in their mummies. You could also use small flat plastic jewels. Once the mummy is entirely wrapped, coat the outside fully with the resin. Leave the mummy to dry thoroughly before placing it in its sarcophagus.


Source:
  • This is adapted from the mummification simulation here.

6 comments:

  1. Hmmmmm, going through your older posts for ideas on our history we're starting. Now, I'm trying to decide if I like this version or the chicken one better. I think they both take about 2 weeks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I decided to do this because a friend told me that she had tried the chicken one and the chicken rotted instead of preserving and it smelled awful. I don't know whether she didn't follow the directions perfectly or what, but I didn't want to take the risk. These are also small enough that they each can have one and we made little sarcophogi for them out of paper mache and gold paint. They add Egyptian symbols. I have done this twice now, once at a co-op with my oldest daughter and once with the boys and have not had a problem with a single one. If you do choose to do the chicken, let me know how it goes. I would be interested in seeing it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ticia suggested that I check out your Egyptian studies. Very Neat!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is amazing but I have to be honest...I'm feeling queasy looking at the photos! I think I'll wait until K is over her not wanting to touch anything slimy stage. But I have to say this is pretty cool.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The most slimy it gets is touching orange pulp. It really isn't bad.

      Delete
  5. So re-reading this, and our first time around making the chicken mummy, it didn't really smell. Our second time doing it, there was a definite odor. I may be doing the fruit mummy next time.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It means so much.