Make Your Own Egyptian Pharaoh Cobra Staff - Craft Activity for Kids
Updated: Jun 20
We’ve crafted an Egyptian style Staff that could have been found in a Pharaoh’s tomb. It has a cobra head to show it belonged to a Pharaoh and to provide him with protection. We even added the gold and blue striped Nemes design on the cobra’s hood. What Ancient Pharaoh could resist having this epic relic in their tomb?
How to Make an Egyptian Cobra Staff
You Will Need:
PVA Glue - We used Craft Planet PVA Glue
Kitchen Roll (White Paper works too)
Metallic Paint (Gold, Red, Black, Bronze, Dark Blue) - We used Arteza Metallic Acrylic Paint
Acrylic Paint (Red, Black, Dark Blue) - We used Daler-Rowney 12 Acrylic Paint Set
Step 1 – Make the Staff Base from Cardboard Strips:
Using scissors, cut out 6 strips of cardboard, approx. 4cm wide and 30cm long. Always get an adult to help when using scissors
Place 3 of the cardboard strips to one side for later
Take the remaining 3 cardboard strips and place them short end to short end. Make sure the cardboard strips overlap each other by about 2cm on the ends
Stick the 3 strips together by pasting PVA glue onto the overlapping ends and press together firmly until dry. You will now have a long staff of cardboard approximately 86cm long
Repeat this process to make a second staff of cardboard using the 3 cardboard strips set aside earlier
If you wish to make each staff sturdier, you can add more layers of cardboard strips. Paste PVA glue across the entire length of the cardboard staff then layer 3 more cardboard strips along it, overlapping the short ends like earlier. Press down firmly until the glue dries. In total, we layered about 9 strips of corrugated cardboard into each cardboard staff to make them sturdy
You will now have two long cardboard staffs approximately 86cm long. These will form the base for the pole of your Cobra Staff.
Step 2 – Add Shape to your Cardboard Staffs with Newspaper:
Take one cardboard staff and paste glue along the entire length of one side
Take 3 sheets of newspaper and roughly roll them up lengthways together. Stick this to the glued side of your cardboard staff
Depending on the size of your newspaper, you may need a few rolls of newspaper sheets to fill the whole length of one of your cardboard staffs. If this is the case, glue the first roll at one end then continue with more rolls (placed end to end) down the length of the staff
Repeat with the second cardboard staff.
Step 3 – Design the Base of Your Cobra Head:
Use the template above (Snake Staff Template.pdf) to draw the base of a cobra’s head onto an A4 sheet of cardboard. Note: Always be careful when downloading files from the internet
Cut out the cobra’s head by using scissors to cut around the outline. Do not cut out the red lines
Score and fold along the red lines
Using PVA glue, stick the tabs (marked in orange) to the areas marked in yellow. Press firmly until dry. Alternatively, use Sellotape if you find PVA is not strong enough to hold the cardboard in place
Again, we added extra layers of cardboard to make the cobra’s head sturdier. To do this, use the template again but cut out each individual shape (including the red lines). Then Sellotape these shapes into place on your cobra’s head.
Step 4 – Papier Mache Your Staff Pieces:
Cut rough strips of newspaper
Mix water and PVA glue in a bowl (2 parts glue to 1 part water)
Dip the newspaper in the water/glue mixture to coat. Scrape off any excess with your fingers or on the side of the bowl.
Apply the wet strip of newspaper to one of your cardboard staffs and smooth down.
Repeat this process until both of your cardboard staffs and cobra’s head are covered in a layer of newspaper & water/glue mixture.
Leave to dry overnight.
Step 5 – Fix All of your Staff Pieces Together:
Paste glue along the flat side of both staff pieces
Position one staff piece vertically at the back of your cobra’s head. The short end of your staff piece should be in line with the flat top of your cobra’s head
Position the second staff piece on the other side of the cobra’s head. Both lengths of your staff pieces should meet underneath the cobra’s head. The top end of this staff should meet the underside of the cobra’s head
Use rubber bands to hold the staff pieces in place until they dry. Press the staff pieces down onto the cobra’s head firmly until dry.
Step 6 – More Papier Mache:
Once your staff pieces have dried in place, add at least 2 more layers of Papier Mache using the method described above
The more layers of Papier Mache you apply, the tougher your staff will become
We did our final two layers of Papier Mache using white kitchen roll (strips of white paper work great too). This will give a plain background for painting
Leave each layer to dry overnight
Step 7 – Paint & Decorate Your Cobra Staff:
Paint a base layer of gold paint onto your cobra staff
Paint a black hand-grip onto your handle approximately 5cm below the cobra’s head.
You could also add Egyptian Hieroglyphs in black paint if you want. Not sure what to write? Check out our How to Write in Egyptian Hieroglyphs article for inspiration.
Step 8 – Paint & Decorate Your Cobra’s Head:
Paint the teeth at the front of the cobra’s head in red and outline in black
Paint the staff handle connected to the front of the cobra’s head in red and outline in black
Paint the staff handle connected to the back of the cobra’s head in black
Using a pencil and ruler, measure and draw horizontal lines on the front and back of the cobra’s head, approximately 2cm apart. The lines should stretch from the staff handle in the centre to the edge of the cobra’s head. We also did lines on the top of our cobra’s head at an angle to match the edges of the cobra’s head
Following these lines, use dark blue paint to paint a striped pattern covering the entire cobra’s head.
Once your Cobra Staff is dry, you can add it to your Pharaoh's burial chamber. Why not try our Mummification Craft Activities too?
If you are a teacher then you'll definitely want Imagining History to bring their 'Ancient Egypt: A Time Travel Tour' Interactive workshop to your school.
Our Award-Winning sessions combine role-play, storytelling, demonstrations, and drama and performance to bring history to life for your students.
Here are some of the craft materials we used to create our Cobra Staff:
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