How to make Papyrus - Ancient Egypt Projects answers questions

How to make Papyrus

Egyptian Papyrus
Egyptian Papyrus - Book of the Dead

It's actually pretty easy to make papyrus. You need a lot of river reeds (papyrus would, of course, be ideal, but you can get the idea with other wide grasses, since papyrus doesn't grow everywhere). You weave them together as if you were making a placemat, about half the size of a placemat. You'll need a way to anchor the vertical reeds while you weave them - a clipboard would do it. Then you pound the mat flat with a rock or a hammer. Flip it over and pound the other side flat. Let it dry (you can hang them on a clothesline with clothespins) until it is not green anymore but all brown and dry. To make a bigger piece, the Egyptians glued two pieces together.

brown woven paper mat

You could also (and a lot easier) do this with strips of paper about 1/2 inch (1 cm) wide and 11 inches long or so. After you weave them, soak the mat in water before you pound it flat on both sides and let it dry.

Amazon also sells sheets of Egyptian papyrus (see link below) - wouldn't that be cool to order and check out what it's like to write on real papyrus!

More about papyrus

Other activities:
* Making papyrus
* Hieroglyphics
* Imagining the Afterlife
* Making a Shaduf
* Making paper

Bibliography and further reading about papyrus:

More about Egyptian hieroglyphs
A day in ancient Egypt home

Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

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