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Hang Up an Egyptian Cartouche | Drawing Projects

Hang Up an Egyptian Cartouche

We can imagine a young Indiana Jones wanna-be proudly displaying one of these on her bedroom door. An Egyptian cartouche (pronounced kar-TOOSH) announces, in no uncertain terms, that this is her turf.

Basically fancy hieroglyphic nameplates, cartouches traditionally bore the names of members of royalty and adorned walls, tombs, statues, doorways, and other ritual objects in ancient Egypt. The symbols shown here represent just a fraction of the hieroglyphic "alphabet." In fact, says Field Museum educator Liz Cruger, "There are more than 700 symbols that represent sounds, words, and ideas."

As you design your own cartouche, follow this trick for hieroglyphic spelling: match the symbols with the sounds, rather than the letters, of your name (we wrote the name Brittany, for example, as b-r-i-t-n-e). As you practice writing on scrap paper, take a moment to appreciate modern craft supplies — 4,000 years ago, you would have had to grind up charcoal and minerals for ink!


  • Textured paper or card stock (for a more ancient look, try papyrus, available at art supply stores)
  • Thick black marker (for the oval — a brush tip is best)
  • Fine black and colored markers (for hieroglyphics)
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Foam core or cardboard (for backing)
  • Glue stick
  • Craft knife
  • Poster putty or tape, such as Scotch Wallsaver Removable Poster Tape


Egyptian Cartouche Step 1

1. Once your child has mastered writing her name in hieroglyphics, she can copy the oval cartouche onto the fancy paper with the thick black marker. (Tip: Trace around a glass for the curved ends and use a ruler for the sides.)

2. Next, have her write her name in hieroglyphics with the fine-tipped black and colored markers.

3. Finally, use the ruler to outline a rectangular border around the cartouche. Cut out the rectangle, trace it onto the foam core, and cut out the shape. Glue it to the foam and hang with the poster putty or tape.