Write Like an Egyptian and Make Your Own Cartouche
Have you ever been to Egypt? It’s such a magical country. The sites, the sounds and the incredible history that dates back thousands of years just boggles the mind. The pyramids were wow. The sphinx, meh, not so much. It was so much smaller than I thought. The Sphinx Alley in Luxor, however, was a different story. There are more than 800 sphinxes standing on either side of the path and archaeologists believe that there are more buried under the sand. And I remember visiting Edfu on the western banks of the Nile and being awestruck by the splendor and ancient power of the place. Every square inch is covered with hieroglyphs or a cartouche that tells a story of kings and gods and the bitter battles they fought to win this beautiful land.
It’s an amazing place and I so desperately wanted to capture a piece of that magic and make it part of our home décor. I figured the easiest way to do that was to cast some hieroglyphs in concrete so it resembles an Egyptian cartouche. Here’s how I made this one.
Egypt is not a country you live in. It’s a country that lives in you
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What you need to make an Egyptian cartouche
- Craft Foam and Cardboard
- Scissors, Craft Knife or Cutting Machine
- Egyptian Hieroglyphs Template
- Two Ingredient Mold Recipe
- Concrete or Plaster of Paris
- Paint or Stain (optional)
How to make an Egyptian cartouche
Draw the hieroglyphics on the craft foam using the Egyptian Hieroglyphs as a template. The hieroglyphs need to be quite big since some of them are quite finicky. Especially the lion and the Eye of Horus 😉 Carefully cut the hieroglyphs from the craft foam using a craft knife or sharp pair of scissors. Don’t worry too much if the edges are uneven it adds to the final look. If you have a cutting machine it will make it much easier, but it’s not necessary.
Glue the hieroglyphs down on a piece of cardboard. You can get the kids involved and they can spell their name or just put them down randomly as I did. Random is good right?!! Unless of course I just wrote a really bad cuss word 😀
Confession time. I lost the plot a little at this point. Strictly speaking, a cartouche should be inside an oval frame but I completely forgot and just created little lines between the hieroglyphs. Oh well, it’s that random thing again 😉 Mix up a batch of the two-ingredient mold and place it over your cartouche. Be sure to squish the mold down into all the little nooks and crannies.
Once the mold has set, probably about ½ hour, carefully pull it off. The two-ingredient mold is very pliable so it will peel off without a problem.
Casting the cartouche in stone, ermm I mean concrete
Apply a thin layer of vaseline petroleum jelly using a nail brush. Since the hieroglyphs in the cartouche mold are quite detailed I wanted to make very sure that I’d be able to release it once the concrete had set.
Mix up a batch of concrete or plaster of Paris and pour it onto the mold. You’ll need quite a thick layer of concrete. The first one I made was too thin and broke when I removed it from the mold. Use some tin foil to create a “form” around the cartouche so the concrete doesn’t spread everywhere.
Once the concrete has set remove it from the mold and stain or paint it to suit your decor. I wanted ours to look like it had been carved from sandstone and the hubby suggested I try Rustoleam’s Multi-Color Textured Spray. I think the color is called Desert Bisque. Quite appropriate for this little cartouche me thinks 😀
The lid of an old ammo case makes the perfect frame for the cartouche. I just loved the way the two complimented each other. What do you think?
And I’m really impressed with the texture the Rustoleum paint gave the finished piece. See what I mean about the uneven edges not having to be perfect. It makes the cartouche look like it’s withstood countless sand storms.
Let me know what you think and if you like the idea don’t forget to share.
Would you like to make something similar? We’ve got you covered Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us come up with more unique DIY and craft ideas for you 😉
Or perhaps you’d like to add some Egyptian styled decor without DIYing.
Until next time, I hope you have a wonderful craft filled week. Much love as always
54 thoughts on “Write Like an Egyptian and Make Your Own Cartouche”
Absolutely beautiful…so well done and brilliantly displayed! When my grandkids were being homeschooled, and we were studying ancient Egypt, we made senet boards and molded our own tiles using polymer clay, and bent paper clips to the various shapes and used them to stamp into the clay. They turned out so well, we made extras and gave as Christmas gifts that year. And, the now-grown grandkids say that was one of the most fun projects they did all through their homeschooling!
I love the idea of making something larger like you did…polymer clay would be too expensive to make something that big. You are so very clever and talented. Thank you for sharing with us!
Awwwwww thank you, Sarah. I must say the cartouche was one of my favorite quick and easy crafts ever and over time she’s aged beautifully. I put her upright in a large pot plant on our stoep and it really looks like I stole a piece of beautiful Egypt. I love your idea of the paper clips bent into shapes for stamping. I have to remember to give that a try.
This project is brilliant Michelle, well done.
Thanks so much, Anita. I’ve always been fascinated with Egypt and seeing the tombs and hieroglyphs in real-life boggles the mind
Wow Michelle!! This is soooooo cool! Love the detail on it.
I was quite surprised with this one too Keri ?
I live in a country that has great Ancient History but I love so much ancient Egypt. If someone asked me to go to the past this is the place I am going to choose. But you my friend, you are the perfect example that all of us carry something from the past. Are you sure that in your previous life you lived there??? I want to make one of this the soonest possible! Thank you so much for the idea!
You know we went to Greece and Egypt on the same trip and they are both so incredibly beautiful and historically rich. I could spend hours wondering round all the temples and imagining the lives ordinary people lived way back when. Just imagine being a builder or an architect in those days. Oh the possibilities ….
That is amazing Michelle! It does look ancient, and I love all the details. Goes perfectly with your ammo lid. One of these days I want to get into playing with cement, and try making my own molds. Would like to go to Egypt too. But guess I’ll have to stick with playing with cement. Lol
Oh Linda, Egypt is such an incredible place, I do hope you get to go one day. And yes my friend, you need to start playing with cement. I was a little scared too at first. I thought I’d get the mixture all wrong but it’s really not difficult. Kinda like mixing plaster of Paris. It just works ?
This is too cool Michelle.
Years ago, I bought a cartouche while in Egypt and it is oval with my name (or at least they said it was my name, but one never knows for sure does one?) LOL!!! It is on a gold chain. I need to take it out and look at it again…sometimes I forget I even have things. I love the way your vignette looks. Great job!
Thanks so much Kari, I’m sure your cartouche does have your name on it or something very close ? Either way it’s a lovely memento from such an amazing place
I’ve never thought of using Egyptian language as a design. The whole feel is so realistic and nice. I am gonna show this to my BFF and see if he wants to make one like that!
Glad you like it Tiffany and hopefully your BFF will enjoy making one too
Michelle, this is so cool! I love all of the detail you put into everything you do. And I’ve been wondering about that Rustoleum textured paint. So it’s great to actually see it put to use! Egypt would definitely be on my bucket list. Someday…
That textured paint is awesome Amy, you just have to shake the can really, really well to get an even coat of texture ?
I love this Egyptian decor! It’s such a great idea but the making process seems to require a level of mastery I totally lack. You’re so talented and creative!
Thanks so much Nati
This is such a cool project, Michelle and looks amazing!
Thanks so much Marie ?
Super innovative, but I’m not surprised. You’re a master of your trade 🙂 I also fancy the look of it on your mold, where the cuss words (bwahahaha) are indented. 😉
? Your the best Jas, but I sure hope that’s not a cuss word. Eeeek I’ll get banned from all kinds of places
Beautiful ancient piece of art! Thanks for hosting again this week and wish you a lovely day!
So happy you like it Mel and it’s always a pleasure hosting the party. I get to meet awesome bloggers like you ?
This is just awesome! You are very talented and very crafty.
Thank you Daria
What a great tutorial – I love this! I went to Egypt years ago with an ex boyfriend, and when we split up he took all our souvenirs with him. So maybe I should try making this as a stand-in souvenir 🙂 x
Thank you Becca and I’m sorry that the ex left with all those souvenirs. That was a bit unfair
This is a unique DIY project. We had an Egyptian writing project back in high school and I had so much fun. This must be fun to do at home too.
Thanks so much Jean. I wish they’d done something like that when I was in school.
From the photos, this looks very old, what an amazing idea. I will never travel to Egypt I am afraid . Egypt, Israel and Greece all seem so fascinating to me. Love what you created.
I know a lot of people are scared of going to Egypt but all the tourist destinations are really well protected and safe and it’s so worth seeing
Your creativity always astounds me, you are really talented. I love this project it really looks great!
Thank you E ?
Amazing! I have never been, but it sure sounds like an exciting place to go. Again you’ve created something so unique and just beautiful!!
Thank you my friend. Egypt is just amazing
You are so creative. I wish I I could pull something like this off. Such a talent. Love this so much.
Thank you Preet, this is a super easy project to try. Why not give it a go
Sounds like a super fun DIY. Great to do with a kid, esp during active learning how to write, explaining various languages in a fun way!
Kids will love playing around with something like this Lyosha. It’s like learning to write in a secret language ?
I’ve never been to Egypt, but it sounds amazing! This is a really cool idea. The cartouche looks rustic and weathered.
Thanks Sam and I hope one day you and Nikki get a chance to go. It would be fascinating to see a write up about gluten free food in Egypt ?
For one, what a great experience visiting such a place and seeing a wonder of the world in person. How cool. I love this craft idea. I mean, such a nice one to do.
It was wonderful. I would go back anytime
There is so much history in Egyptian culture. You have captured it beautifully in this cartouche. Never thought of making Egyptian artifacts. This is very creative and very beautiful.
Thanks so much Kesha, it really is an amazing place
Firstly, love that quote on Egypt. I have always wanted to visit the country. But with your skills you are able to learn and absorbs the cultures through art. Loved the end result here, as always! 🙂
Oh you have to make a plan to go Tanvi. It’s an incredible place, I would go back anytime
I love your Egyptian crafts. I am also surprised to hear that the Sphinx was so underwhelming.
Maybe it was just me, but the Sphinx was a bit disappointing. It’s small and when we were there they were doing repair work to the base. The pyramids of Giza are amazing though and the Sphinx is right there so maybe they over powered it a little
Really beautiful Michelle and it looks like it’s been around for centuries. Love the old age look the spray paint has given it.
? That spray paint is really cool, I can’t wait to play around with some of the other colors in the range