Making a foam board Egyptian sarcophagus

Publiburned by Manning on October 30th, 2017

I made this standing sarcophagus for Halloween 2017 — basically a huge selfie booth! Here’s exactly how I did it…



I started by planning out the dimensions of the sarcophagus in Photoshop. The red and cyan boxes recurrent 30″ x 20″ sheets of foam board, and the grid is square inches, with dotted lines to signify feet. I don’t have actually a Photoshop template for this stuff; I simply wing it and also lay out and also measure whatever parts I think are going to be crucial. You can view that my design was 6’2″. I constructed the sarcophagus at this dimension and also later on determined to include three more inches at the bottom, for a total of 6’5″.

I decided to develop the sarcophagus in two big separate pieces — the ago panel, and also the outer walls — and integrate them at the finish.

I began by printing out just the curved parts of the sarcophagus, in order to conserve some paper. I knew I might quickly attract the straight components through a leader, so tright here was no should print them out.

I then grabbed 12 sheets of 30″ x 20″ foam board and also tape-recorded them together with heavy duty packing tape in 3 teams of four — one long item for the back of the sarcophagus, one more for the front edge of the “walls,” and another for the ago edge of the walls. I put packing tape on both sides in order to make the connections really strong and also rigid.


I cut out my printed-out overview images and also traced them onto among the massive foam board panels — well, the printouts were just fifty percent the photo, so I traced them, then flipped them, and also traced them aobtain. I drew the rest of the lines with a ruler. I then cut out this huge shape via an X-acto knife.


I traced the cut-out sarcophagus shape onto the other two panels and also reduced them out as well. I cut the back panel to be a tiny bit smaller sized all approximately — by around half an inch. This was so when I attached the wall surfaces later, the outer edges of the ago panel absolutely wouldn’t stick out at all.


I then reduced the negative area out of the 2 panels that would certainly be the front and also back edges of the sarcophagus’ wall surfaces. In cutting out these pieces, I decided to leave some horizontal slats throughout the empty spaces. The objective of these slats wregarding aid hold the form of the sarcophagus nice and firm and also also while attaching all the parts and applying paper maché. I’d reduced the slats off later as soon as the paper maché was done. More on that coming up.

I bought a ton of cheap packing tape for this project. I did some math to determine the amount of total square inches tright here were on all surdeals with of the sarcophagus, and then I did some shopping roughly and also bought a large quantity of the cheapest packing tape I might find — sufficient to more or less cover the entire sarcophagus, which ended up being six rolls. I usage tape in most my paper maché tasks to proccasion any kind of massive pieces of foam board from warping — paper maché tends to grab onto the paper surface of the foam board and shrink it and curve it and warp it as it dries. A layer of tape between the foam board and also paper maché helps alleviate this by a lot.

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Making the earlier of the sarcophagus

I spanned one side of the ago panel of the sarcophagus through long strips of tape; I didn’t cover it entirely however made the majority of stripes that are exceptionally close together. I only did this to one side of the back panel, because I’d just be applying paper maché to one side — no have to bother with the side that’ll be dealing with the wall.

I used one layer of paper maché to the back panel of the sarcophagus; you have the right to review around my paper maché procedure and also materials here. I offered reasonably huge pieces of brown wrapping paper — as significant as about five inches square.

I kbrand-new that, also through the tape, the foam board would certainly want to warp somewhat, so I made a arrangement to minimize this. I first extended the entirety middle location of the panel via paper maché, leaving around five inches clear all the way around the external edge. I then set this exterior in the sunlight via numerous heavy books on the uncovered edges of the foam board to weigh the thing dvery own and also prevent the form from warping as it dried.


When that was dry, I spanned all the edges via paper maché, and also then collection that in the sunlight with books in the middle this time to proccasion any even more warping. This two-action method worked really well! The finished panel was pretty flat, via just a little little bit of a curve, which I wasn’t worried around. I collection this panel aside for later on.

Making the sarcophagus’ walls

Now, onto the wall surfaces. For the perfectly straight components of the walls, like from the shoulders dvery own to the floor, I offered sheets of foam board to make the inner and also external walls. For the curved components from the shoulders up, I used poster board. I’ll begin through the level parts…

I measured and reduced some big rectangles of foam board (not shown) for the inner and outer wall surfaces segments — I finished up making the wall surfaces 15″ tall (like if the sarcophagus were lying on the floor, the walls would certainly be 15″ tall), and I reduced 12 pieces of foam total to make the inner and external surencounters of the walls.


If I were to sindicate connect my wall panels to the sarcophagus’ edges, they’d be incredibly flimsy and simple to crush with nopoint in between. So I necessary to include some structural supports inside of the walls. To carry out this, I measured and cut bit strips of foam board to make triangular supports (above) to host these wall panels apart at the appropriate distance, i.e. to create the best thickness for the walls. I tape-recorded these triangles in between the wall panels, and then taped the finished wall panels in between the huge front and ago edges of the sarcophagus. To carry out this, I collection the back edge of the wall surfaces on the floor, and propped up the front edge of the wall surfaces on some boxes and also stuff, and closely taped the walls in between, functioning my means around.

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When the level wall surfaces were all videotaped firmly in location, the sarcophagus was strong sufficient to stand also up on its own. I then measured and also reduced the curved components of the walls out of poster board, and also taped them in area.

I ran out of poster board when I was practically done via the curved components of the head and also shoulders, and also rather than wait ’til the following day when the dollar store would certainly be open up I just filled in these components via construction paper, which was incredibly flimsy. I spanned the construction paper through few layers of masking tape and also packing tape to make it a little stronger. Paper maché (coming up) will assist a lot.

The “feet” of the sarcophagus have some little curved forms to them, which I made through building paper that I curled up and videotaped in place. These locations were very flimsy at initially so I extended them via a couple of layers of masking tape and also then 2 layers of paper maché best ameans to assist stabilize them.

I ordered my cheap packing tape and also spanned the whole of the sarcophagus’ wall surfaces through lengthy strips, in a similar striped pattern to what I did on the ago panel.


In the pic over you can check out the (almost) finimelted walls — the flat foam board parts, the curved poster board parts, all those strips of clear tape everywhere, and the feet locations wbelow I currently did a tiny bit of paper maché. You have the right to likewise watch the absent segment inside the shoulder area wright here I ran out of poster board; choose I mentioned over, I ended up just making use of building and construction paper and also tape in there.

Looking at the size and form of the mostly-finished sarcophagus for the first time, I chose I wanted it to be a small taller, so I added a three-inch wevery one of foam board at the bottom, and also I added the same point on the earlier panel also.

Finally the sarcophagus was prepared for paper maché… just when I had actually to go out of tvery own for a lengthy weekfinish for a wedding. My fiancée helped out enormously here and spent 2 days extending the whole surface of the walls via one layer of paper maché, of course skipping over those horizontal slats which we’d be rerelocating later.

When I gained back, the paper maché was dry, so I rerelocated the slats via an X-acto knife and spanned over the exposed surdeals with with a little even more paper maché. I then videotaped the earlier panel in place, and also covered those connections via paper maché. The sarcophagus was done!

I’d originally planned to paint the point gray and also stencil hieroglyphs on it in white, however I ssuggest ran out of time! That’s what happens when you setup fifty percent a dozen astronomical projects at the exact same time via a tough deadline. However before, I’m really happy through the simple brown look; it goes fine with the remainder of our color scheme and looks authentic sufficient for me.



Here’s our frifinish Collie in her Sekhmet costume at the party, posing in the sarcophagus.

People had actually a good time taking pictures in the sarcophagus all throughout the party! If you dug this job, you deserve to also check out a similar point I did a pair years ago: a foam board pine box coffin.