Ancient Egypt Art Lesson #1: Text as Texture

Teach art ith Ancient Egypt project for using text as texture. Oh my, how I loved the way this project turned out! I had such fun teaching the co-op students something a little new. And for them it really was a variety of skills; some of them had never made or cut out a pattern or knew how to mix paint to make a skin toned color. They also loved using a variety of media.

Ancient Egypt Art Lesson. This lesson is compatible with any text on Ancient Egypt.  | Harrington HarmoniesAncient Egypt Art Lesson #1

This project is a multi-media project that can go with any lesson on Ancient Egypt. For this lesson you will need:

  • multi-media paper
  • pencil
  • tracing paper
  • newsprint, ads and/or patterned printed papers
  • scissors
  • tempera paint in yellow, red, blue and white
  • glue
  • black permanent marker
  • additional tempera or acrylic paints in various colors
  • markers or watercolors or both
  • gold acrylic paint for adding details

Ancient Egypt Text as Texture Faces Tutorial

1. Look at Egyptian art and faces.

Any book will do for this because there are so very many to choose from. Or perhaps check out an art book on Egyptian Art in the resource section of your library. If you don’t feel confident demonstrating the drawing of a face to your child I can recommend Ralph Masiello’s Ancient Egypt Drawing Book (Ralph Masiello’s Drawing Books) to guide them. If you happen to have the  Draw and Write Through History (Creation through Jonah, Volume 1) you may be able to use just the section on Egypt and enlarge the head portion. But if you’re choosing one, the first is definitely the best for this.

Step one of Ancient Egyptian Art Lesson on using text as texture. | Harrington Harmonies2. Draw an Egyptian face.

I demonstrated both a front and side view for my students. One thing that is often hard for kids is to use the entire piece of paper. So try to remind them the size needs to fill the whole page.

Another good place to start is that eyes are located in the middle of the head. Have them lightly draw a line across the mid point of the face from the top of the head to the chin. This is where the eyes go.  The next hardest thing to draw is the nose.

Steps one to 5 on my Ancient Egyptian Faces tutorial- draw, mix and paint, glue, and outline! | Harrington Harmonies

3. Trace the headpiece and cut it out of the newsprint.

Using tracing paper, have your child trace the headdress part of their Egyptian drawing. Cut the pattern out. Next, lay the tracing paper over the news print and cut that pattern out of the newsprint. Make adjustments if needed. This was the hardest part for my class of 3rd to 5th graders. So you need to assist your child here as much as possible so they don’t get frustrated.  Always let they attempt a skill on their own first, even if it’s not perfect- that’s okay! Just be ready if they need the help and ask- be accessable. Cuts from printed paper add embellishment to the composition. | Harrington HarmoniesAs desired, cut any other interesting pieces you may want out of ads or newsprint. I also offered my students printed paper with patterns. This added depth and texture to their compositions.

mixing paint to make skin tone is pretty easy. Just experiment with amounts. | Harrington Harmonies4. Mix tempera paint to make skin tone and paint face.

Mixing paint to get the color you want is an important art skill for children to learn. But let’s move beyond primary and secondary colors. Making skin tones is actually very easy. You just have to experiment with amounts. See how to mix paint to make skin tones here.

Paint the entire face. Remind your child to leave the eyes white!

I allowed students to use a variety of media. Student here add s design and  embellishment with colored pencil. | Harrington Harmonies5. Glue the Newsprint and Outline with Permanent Marker

After they get the newspaper to be a good fit have them glue it for the headdress. I also allowed my students to cut pieces from ads and printed paper. Once dry enough, re-outline the features of the face with permanent black marker- my favorite to use with children are Black Sharpies. ( Fine or Regular) 

This is also the right time to add more sections in the outfit later to become ornate decoration.

Some students preferred to paint the dress and were happy to choose the colors they wanted. | Harrington Harmonies

6. Paint blank areas, add background with watercolor or marker and fill in all other blank spaces.

I told the children I wanted no white areas. So, I looked around to help them with whatever they needed to add. Once the body of the Egyptian was complete is was time to fill in the back ground. I suggested complementary colors or a contrasting color to  make their person “pop” out of the paper.

7. Add embellishment and final touches with Gold Acrylic Paint

This is where the real excitement bursted from my co-op students. They were so very happy with their creations! It made my day just to see how interested they were in learning! These were the final touches that made their projects complete! You can have your child add golden stripes to the headdress or elaborate golden jewelry or design to the collar.

Student Art Gallery of Ancient Egyptian Faces

Didn’t their work come out awesome?

Ancient Egyptian Art Lesson Plans: Student Gallery Collage  | Harrington  Harmonies

Linked up with Trivium Tuesday.

Tell me…

What lesson on Egypt might you use this art lesson to compliment? What books are you using?


Art Around the Ancient World Blog Series | Harrington HarmoniesArt Around the Ancient World- the line up:

The following lists each lesson by civilization, what each lesson’s focus will be, and the media/project tutorial.


  • Sara

    We only spend a few weeks on Egypt, but this would be an awesome project just before we studied the mummies and pyramids. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Julie

    I love this idea! We made valentines a couple of years ago by painting newspaper red (but lightly enough to be able to see the words through the paint) then using it to cut out hearts, etc. It made the newspaper more durable and added wonderful, creative texture. Thank you for all the inspiration as I plan our homeschooling for next year….