The mummies have arrived in Charm City! Whether you’re headed to the Science Center for Mummies of the World, or are headed to The Walters Art Museum to explore the Book of Faiyum, prep your kids with a little pre-trip artsploration (art + exploration if you haven’t had enough coffee today). One project? This shrinky dink cartouche craft for kids!

What is a cartouche? A cartouche is an oblong, or oval, magical rope which was drawn to contain the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics that spelt out the name of a King or Queen. The “cartouche” can be found on Egyptian monuments and papyrus documents. The magical rope was used to surround the name and protect it.

Ancient Egyptians wrote in hieroglyphs — little pictures instead of letters. Oftentimes, it would take an Egyptian scribe weeks or months to finish the hieroglyphic text on a temple wall. Want to learn more about hieroglyphics? Check out these fun facts.

In this project, we’re going to create a cartouche necklace using shrinky dinks and Egyptian hieroglyphics.

(NOTE: This art project is perfect for elementary-aged kids, but can be modified for preschoolers.)

What You’ll Need for this Art Project:

  • Shrinky Dink Paper
  • Permanent Markers
  • Computer with Internet Connection/Printer
  • Hole Punch
  • Scissors
  • Wax Paper
  • Baking Sheet
  • Oven

How To Make a Shrinky Dink Cartouche:

1. Using an online Egyptian Hieroglyphics Translator/Cartouche maker, translate your child’s name. I link this one from Virtual Egypt. Print out the translation. Be sure to enlarge it — your final pendant will be 1/3 the size of the print.

2. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

3. Trace the cartouche onto Shrinky Dink paper (do this step for a preschool-aged child!). Have your child color it. The pendant will be more vibrant if you use permanent markers; but judge how much ‘permanent’ your child can handle.


4. Cut out the cartouche. Using a hole punch, punch a hole in the top to run a ribbon through.

DIY Cartouche with Shrinky Dinks - (cool) progeny

5. Place drawing on wax paper on top of a baking sheet, color side up. Bake for 2-3 minutes (or according to your shrinky dink paper). The charm will shrink to 1/3 the size of the original drawing and become 10 times as thick. Allow to cool.

6. Thread a ribbon and wear!

DIY Cartouche with Shrinky Dinks - (cool) progeny

A fun artsploration project. If you love this, check back tomorrow. We’re making ancient Egyptian armbands.