All cultures have some form of good luck charm, like the rabbit’s foot or four-leaf clover. In Ancient Egypt, charms were known as amulets and were usually in the form of plants, animals, or sacred objects. They were thought to provide protection against evil or danger, as well as bringing good luck. These ornaments or jewelry were even placed with the deceased to ensure they had a safe afterlife. Some amulets are currently on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I had children make these clay necklaces, inspired by the exhibition King Tut: The Golden King and The Great Pharaohs.
- air hardening modeling clay in white or gray (eg. like Jovi or Das)
- sculpting tools like skewers and toothpicks
- bowl with water
- acrylic paint and brushes
- cord or yarn for necklace
Have a look at these websites to choose the kind of ancient Egyptian amulet you would like to make. Print up a copy or make a sketch of the one you select:
1. Take a small amount of air drying clay and make your chosen shape. Use your tools to create any depressions or drawings you have chosen. Careful not to make it too thin since dry clay can easily break. Air drying clay does dry quickly, so have a bowl with water handy so you can dip your fingers in it to make the clay more pliable. Remember to cover your unused clay immediately, so it doesn’t harden. Use a skewer to make a hole near the top edge, making it big enough to put your cord through once the clay has dried. Once you are happy with your design, allow it to dry overnight. Remember to turn it over at some point so both sides can dry well.
2. Decorate your amulet using acrylic paints. Gold looks great and Liquitex’s Iridescent Antique Gold looks more metallic than most. Once dry, you can add your varnish. It will give your amulet a nice sheen.
3. Finally, add your cord to turn your amulet into a necklace. You can find this in any bead shop, or just use yarn. In Toronto, Arton Beads has a great selection and price range. Enjoy your protection from all things nasty.