Make Your Own Ancient Egyptian Artifact!

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Eagle plaque made in class

When I was in the third grade, my Dad went to Egypt. He brought back the coolest souveniers -- everything was covered in gold, and with these mysterious pictures of animals and strange-looking people. The best souvenir was a photo of him, standing in front of the Great Pyramid with a bunch of Egyptian children. I couldn't get over how much they looked just like kids my own age.  How lucky they were, I thought, to have the Great Pyramid in their back yards!

Ever since then, I have been crazy about Ancient Egyptian artifacts and the stories they tell. If I lived in New York City, I would take every class to the Metropolitan Museum to see the Egyptian exhibit, there. Too bad there are no artifacts to visit in Charleston, WV! This is the next best thing:

You need:
my picturePlaster of paris
my picturewater (to mix with plaster)
my pictureA small wire loop for hanging
my pictureSmall plastic container to use as a mold (I use Gladware, lined with Saran Wrap)
my pictureA nail (for scratching desgin into plaster)
my pictureBrown and Yellow Watercolors
my pictureGold paint (acrylic or tempera)
my pictureBlack paint or India ink
my pictureLacquer

Here's what you do:

1. Line plastic container with Saran wrap.  Try to get most of the wrinkles out, but leave some for a more authentic-looking artifact.
2. Mix plaster, according to directions on package.
3. Pour plaster into container.
4. Stick wire loop into plaster to make a place to hang plaque on a wall.
5. Allow to sit overnight.
6. Using the heiroglypic alphabet, write your name a few times on paper in heiroglyphics for practice. Decorate with Egyptian motifs. (I found some nice ones in this book.
7. When you are comfortable with your design, draw it lightly on the plaster with pencil, then scratch it into the plaster with a nail.
8. To make the plaster look like sandstone, paint it with blotches of yellow and brown watercolor. Experiment on paper, first, if you like. (Start with more water and less paint. You can always make it darker but you can't make it lighter.)
9. If you like, accent the design with a thin brush dipped in India Ink.
10. Accent the design further with touches of gold paint. I really like Daniel Smith's Egyptian Gold watercolor paint for this project. It almost looks like gold leaf (which is also an option.)
11., Allow to dry thoroughly for a week or so. Lacquer, if you like.

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