This is more of an activity then a craft, but since there is crafty involved I think it totally counts. This project is from awhile back when we studied ancient Egypt.
I have never mentioned it here but we are a homeschooling family. One of the great things about homeschooling is that we can do awesome, fun projects.
One of those projects is making these chicken mummies!
First you need some supplies:
oil (any type-not pictured)
large ziplock bags
small frying chickens or Cornish hens
If your poultry of choice is frozen, thaw it out.
Mix up the ingredients for the natron salt…
this was the kids favorite part!
The natron is where you use all that salt, baking soda, baking powder and some of the cinnamon. I looked all over for the directions we originally used and couldn’t find them but I seem to remember a ratio of 1/2 salt, 1/4 BS and 1/4 BP and then add a bunch of spices. I have seen directions using all salt so I think as long you have plenty of that you will be all set. You will need to make a LOT of natron so if you can get the ingredients in bulk, do so. Otherwise you will have to go to Walmart and buy all that stuff you see in my picture…more than once…and the cashiers will begin to wonder about you.
You will also need some spiced oil. This is basically oil and spices (shocking!) that you need to mix up early on as the spices need to steep in a jar. Neither the natron nor the oil recipes specify cinnamon, you can use any aromatic spice (cinnamon. cloves, nutmeg, allspice), but since I had to use a butt-ton I went with the 2/$1 cinnamon.
Here is our spiced oil percolating in an old jam jar.
Now you need to get the chickens ready. We used Cornish hens. You need to wash the hens, dry them and dip them in an alcohol bath.
Then fill the cavity with natron and nestle them in more natron.
At first we used the ziplock bags but found it was hard to keep the whole hen covered so we switched to a large Tupperware container.
You need to change the natron a lot at first, like every few days, but after awhile you can go every week or so. You will need to remove the hens, clean off the salts (I read you were suppose to wash them off but I just brushed them off) and add new salts.
After a week or so they looked like this:
After about six weeks the hens were ready for their entombment! This is the fun part!
You need to anoint the mummies in spiced oil then wrap them in cotton dipped in glue. I had a bunch of rolled bandages and some mod podge,,,good enough!
Here are the results: Queen Cluckopatra and King Bobantatum!
They were then gilded…
We also preserved some of the internal organs and sored them in canopic jars. You don’t wrap the organs, you fill the jars with oil.
The tombs are wipe containers spray painted and then hand painted with acrylics and bejeweled. For the canopic jars were just paper mache and acrylics over ordinary jars (I think this jar was a caper jar). The gilting was spray glitter.
It was fun but it left quite a mess.
We made these about 3 1/2 years ago and they still don’t smell. The organs however did. We didn’t keep those.