Category: Ancient Egyptian Party (Page 3 of 3)

Mika’s Ancient Egyptian Party Invitations

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I got the idea to make these invitations from somewhere on the internet, and I thought the kids would love it. Basically, I printed the invitations on papyrus-printed paper (not my first choice), using hieroglyphs for the top and bottom, roll them up and tied them with a string going through an scarab amulet. Mika LOVED the presentation – though Mike complained that it was all my doing and Mika didn’t get to participate on making them. What can I say? My major in college was Ancient Egyptian Archaeology, so I’m very much into this party.

Now as to the parts of the invitation:

Papyrus Paper

I’d meant to buy real papyrus for the invitations, but it was surprisingly difficult and expensive to find it online. It’s available at Amazon but for the ridiculous price of $4.50 a sheet + super-high shipping. I thought I’d gotten a real good deal on e-bay, where abcislam2000, an Egypt based seller, had listed 10 sheets, about 11 1/2″ x 17″ each, of plain papyrus with a “buy it now” price of $10 and a “best offer” option. I offered $5 and it was immediately accepted. It’s an additional $8 for shipping – so each papyrus sheet ends up costing $1.30. They do combine shipping, so I went ahead and got myself a print of an Ancient Egyptian scene on papyrus (same size) for $3.50, that I can use as decoration.

But the “real papyrus” turned out to be heavy paper printed with a papyrus motif. I e-mailed the seller about it, but he really seems convinced that it’s papyrus – that’s what his suppliers tell him and he doesn’t seem to know better. If it wasn’t for the fact that Mika realized it wasn’t papyrus right away, it wouldn’t be a big deal, the paper looks nice enough and each sheet was large enough for 4 invitations. But she figured it out and was disappointed. Oh well. At least the paper is very good quality, thick and easy to print on.

I’m pretty sure that they sell papyrus printed paper in the US, though I wasn’t able to find it through google, so if you go this route you don’t have to order it from Egypt.

Lettering / Hieroglyphs

I wanted to use real hieroglyphic writing for Mika’s invitation. In particular, I wanted to write “Mika’s Birthday” or “Happy Birthday Mika” on the top and “ankh – wdja – snb” (life, prosperty, health) on the bottom. The latter was a very common phrase/wish in Ancient Egypt.

That proved more difficult than expected. While there are several free (and not-free) hieroglyph fonts online, none of the ones I found had all the hieroglyphs I needed. The most complete (and elegant) was Jim Loy’s font, available for free, but it did not have the hieroglyph for wdja (the one in the middle, following the ankh, in the picture below). It does have the whole alphabet, plus some other common hieroglyphs including several determinatives (specially for professions/activities) so if you are just looking to spell out a name, this is a very good font to download.

But I was determined to have ankh-wdja-snb so I looked and looked for a another font. Finally I stumbled upon the GlyphBasic fonts, GlyphBasic 4 has the hieroglyph for wdja, but none of the four fonts included in the download had the ankh or the snb. *sigh*. Unfortunately, it was difficult to combine the fonts as the wdja hieroglyph sat taller than the two – so I finally decided to use photoshop to put the hieroglyphs together and just made the whole phrase into a graphic:
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I think it ended up looking pretty good.

Given the difficulties with the wdja, and the fact that Jim’s font did not have the hieroglyph for nfr (happy), I decided writing “Mika’s Birthday” at the top would be enough:
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This transliterates to “ra – mswt – Mika”. Ra, the sun, means “day” (first hieroglyph + vertical line). “mswt” means “birth” (following three hieroglyphs) and “Mika” (starting with the owl hieroglyph) was spelled out with the female determinative at the end. Note that in Ancient Egyptian you do not leave spaces between words.

There are several ways to spell this phrase and I went with the one that was easiest and most “artistically” pleasant. The font I used did not permit me (or at least I couldn’t figure out how) to place the different hieroglyphs one on top of the other, as you would in Ancient Egyptian, so I decided to skip “n” – the wavy line which means “of” and the three little short vertical lines that could have worked as a determinative for “mswt” (no way I was going to search for the “woman giving birth” determinative). That said, after consulting Faulkner, I’m confident that this phrase is perfectly written as such. So feel free to use it (substituting your kids name, of course).

The next header of the invitation uses the Novascript font, which looks sort of ancient despite the name.

I used arial for the rest.

Rolling / Scarab

I rolled the invitations as you would a scroll more for “effect” than authenticity. Ancient Egyptians often folded rather than rolled their papyrus – though the latter was also done. I tied it with some ribbon I had left over (I’ll probably use gold for the rest of the invitations), which I passed through a homemade scarab amulet. Camila and I made the amulets using the Fun with Egyptian amulets kit that she got for Xmas. The kit has a mold with different Egyptian amulet forms and you use polymer clay to make them. We made a hole going through them with a toothpick.

And that is that, our party invitations. I hope the kids like them 🙂

 

Books on Ancient Egyptian Crafts for Kids

I’m throwing Mika an Ancient Egypt theme 8th birthday party, and I’ve been having some difficulty finding Ancient Egyptian crafts online or books on Ancient Egyptian crafts on Amazon. However, I was easily able to find four such books at the library, and I figured I’d blog about them for anyone in the same boat.
Egyptian Crafts from the Past by Gillian Chapman is an older book (1997) that concentrates mostly on cardboard based crafts. The crafts include: boxes (rectangular, tubal and pyramid shaped) with Ancient Egyptian motifs, clay/papier mache sarcophagus, clay/plaster scarabs, plaster relief, board game, cat mummy, reed boat, pasta jewelry, cardboard amulets, papier mache canopic jars, mirrors and make up boxes. The crafts are in the challenging side and several require materials that we don’t have at home (reeds, plaster, tubes with plastic stopper), but several look very cool and there are things I’d actually like to make. I’m just not sure we have the skills to make them. The book is beautifully illustrated with color photographs of the crafts and step-by-step drawings.
History and Activities of Ancient Egypt by Alexandra Fix includes an easy to read introduction about Egyptian life and fun as well as a few crafts: a recipe for date sweets, a fake papyrus recipe (made from a paper bag), a papier mache ushabti, and a senet game with instructions on how to play it. I think I’ll try the papyrus recipe and perhaps the ushabti. The book is illustrated with color photographs of the crafts and step-by-step drawings.
Ancient Egyptians and Their Neighbors: An Activity Guide has crafts from Ancient Egypt, as well as from Mesopotamia, Nubia and the Hittites. After an introduction to Ancient Egypt, it goes into several projects like a sugar-cube step pyramid, a tissue box garden, pillowcase costumes, a toilet roll bracelet and a clay necklace. There are short chapters on Ancient Egyptian writing, work, food and religion each with a craft or too. The crafts are illustrated with simple black & white drawings, but in general they seem simpler than those from the previous books.
The Ancient Egyptians: Dress, Eat, Write, and Play Just Like the Egyptians is full of simple, somewhat tackier crafts. These include making a paper crown, a plastic straw boat, checkedboard papyrus from regular paper, a cardboard senet game, a recipe for ful medames, a felt and plastic bead colar (which actually looks cool, but it’d probably be a pain to get the necessary beads), a yogurt cup water clock (seems cool too), a clay winged scarab and a cardboard sistrum (which I’d like to make if I can find small bells).
There are two more books, Great Ancient Egypt Projects You Can Build Yourself and Spend the Day in Ancient Egypt: Projects and Activities That Bring the Past to Life that you can buy at Amazon that were not available at our library, but that get good reviews at Amazon.
I think I have enough with what I have and I look forward to go through the books with Mika and find some crafts we can make before and during the party. I’ll blog about the ones we do and how successful we are.

Fun with Egyptian Amulets kit

amulets.jpgOver a decade ago, on my way back from some activity in some European country, I had layover at Heathrow, where I chanced about the British Museum Store. There I found a “Fun with Amulet” kit, which allows you to make all sorts of Egyptian amulets with clay. I got it for my sister, who was then a teenager.

Apparently she didn’t like it, because she doesn’t seemed to have opened it – but she kept it and this year gave it to Camila for Xmas. We finally opened it today and I’m surprised at how well the clay kept, and how cool the kit is.
In reality, the kit is very simple. It has a mold with different amulet shapes, 3 rather small clay bars, a few backings for the amulets (to make into pins, earrings, etc.) and a little booklet. But the girls had fun making the amulets (though I had to help, specially with the smaller ones) and I think they may even wear them. Well, maybe (Mika doesn’t believe in magic or amulets, and thus sees no point in having them, or so she said today).

In all, I’m quite happy that I bought the kit and that my sister kept it all these years 🙂

BTW, the kit is available through some sellers at Amazon. I thought it was quite expensive at first (about $30 after shipping), but I probably paid just as much when I bought it and I think it’s really worth it giving how cool it is.

Update

We are throwing an Ancient Egyptian party for Mika’s 8th birthday and the kit is coming very handy. I’m making ankh necklaces for everyone and small scarabs to put with the invitations. I will probably use some of the other amulets as part of the scavenger hunt.

Update 2.

While I love the amulets we made, they are *very* fragile, both those I made with the enclosed clay and those that came with the Sculpey clay I bought. None of the keychains we made survived purses or pockets, and some of the ankh necklaces we made broke already (I’m making extra for the party). I think the problem is that they are too thin – or am I underbaking them?

The amulets we made:

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