Egyptian Mummy's Tomb - Photo Booth Vignette

I created the Egyptian Mummy's Tomb as a photo booth vignette. Guests have the opportunity to have their photo taken inside the tomb while wearing their costume finery. With the lights turned low and the LED flame torches glowing, it is sure to give an entertaining experience!

This project does take a fair amount of time to create but isn't very difficult to make. I hope it will inspire you to create your own photo booth vignette for Halloween or that specially themed party.

Supplies:

Backdrop

  • Fabric bolt or canvas tarp
  • Thread
  • Overhead projector
  • Computer printer
  • PVC pipe and fittings
  • Pencil and Craft Paints, Paintbrushes

Pillars

  • 2" foam board
  • 2 - Sonotubes
  • Hot wire, knife or carving tools
  • Paint

The Mummy

  • PVC pipe
  • Baling wire
  • Drill
  • Strips of fabric (Old sheet ripped into strips)
  • Foam head - wig display
  • Flour and water for paper mache or drywall mud
  • Craft paints in brown, beige, grey and mustard yellow

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Step 1: Preparing Your Fabric

If you bought a fabric bolt you'll need to decide how big you want your vignette backdrop to be. I wanted mine to be 10' wide by 7' high. So, I cut my 54" fabric in two 10'6" long strips. I stitched the strips together lengthwise and used a French seam to finish the sewn edges of the seam. I now had the correct length for my backdrop but since I wanted the fabric to be 8' high (unfinished hem) I needed to cut off some fabric. The two strips that I'd sewn together were 108" high and I only needed it to be 96" high. So, I simply cut off 12" from one edge of the fabric.

Now is the time to hem your fabric so that it will fit the PVC framework/stand. My stand is made from 1 1/2" PVC pipe. By using a 4 1/2" hem at the top and bottom, the pipe slid in easily. You'll need to hem the sides in the same way making certain to leave an opening at the top and bottom of the side hem that the PVC pipe can be slid into.

Step 2: Choosing and Transferring Your Design Elements

There are literally thousands of Egyptian graphics available on the internet. The hardest part of this project may just be deciding upon what you want to paint on your backdrop. I chose a fishing scene that could have been painted on the tomb wall of a king to ensure his pleasure and provision in the afterlife.

After you have chosen your design, it's helpful to change it into a pencil drawing with a photo editing program. I used Picasa 3. Print out your design onto a piece of paper or mylar. The clear mylar sheets are made for overhead projectors and will project a crisper image.

Hang your fabric on a large wall and adjust the overhead projector until your image fills the fabric. Now, taking your pencil, trace the lines that are being projected onto your fabric. Use firm pressure so that after the projected image is turned off the lines will be clearly visible. Make certain that all lines have been traced.

Your images are now ready to be filled in with paint.

Step 3: Painting Your Backdrop

I printed out a full color copy of the original tomb painting and used it throughout the painting process to help me get the colors right. From there, it was easy to simply fill in the pencil drawn lines.

The hardest part of this stage of the vignette was simply dealing with 10' x 7' of fabric. I started at the bottom of the painting and completed the border first. After that, I just pulled the fabric down off from my table, little by little, to paint each new section as it laid on the table.

Step 4: PVC Frame and Stand

Once your painting is finished and the paint has dried, you'll want to mount it onto a stand. You'll need to measure your fabric top and bottom and the sides to determine how long to cut your PVC pipe.

Slide 2 pieces of your PVC pipe down into the sides of the painted backdrop, and one piece each into the top and bottom. Add two 90° elbows - one at each top corner. You don't want to glue these together, just snug the pieces in as tightly as you can.

At the bottom two corners, you'll want to add a T fitting. Snug it onto the two pieces of pipe. You should end up with a hole in the T facing downwards toward the floor. Fit another short piece of pipe into each of the two downward facing open ends of the T's. Now, using the center hole, press on another T onto each short piece of pipe. Now, you can add four more pieces of pipe into the T holes that will attach perpendicular to the pipe framework surrounding the painting. These pieces add stability so that the painting will not fall over. You can see them on my framework in the photo above.

Step 5: Foam Columns

The columns are made from 2" foam board that's been cut and glued together to form a large rectangle. Stand the rectangle on end and using a hot wire or knife, score the lines of the "stone blocks" that make up the columns. Cut a couple of graduated cap stones for the top of the column. In the top capstone,you'll need to cut out a circle that corresponds with whatever size Sonotube that you'll be using. Glue the two capstones together and then onto the rectangle column. Make certain that the smaller capstone with the circle cut out is on the top.

Now just push your Sonotube into the cut out circle. It should fit snuggly to keep it from wobbling and falling over.

Paint your columns.

When I was painting my columns, and while the paint was still wet, I threw a little cornmeal into the paint to add texture. After the first coat of paint and cornmeal had dried, I added a second coat and contrasting colors to make it look more like stone.

Step 6: The Mummy

Ok, I'll admit it... my mummy isn't the best looking mummy out there. But, in my defense, I'd never made a mummy before. So, I can tell you how I made mine and then you can check out other Instructables to help you make a better one. If you really want accuracy and you have a budget to work with, just buy a Buddy Skeleton and save yourself the headache of building a mummy from scratch.

Since most of my creations are created using the shoestring budget, this is what I did to craft mine...

I had a foam head like the ones they use for wig displays at the beauty shop and decided that should be perfect for my mummy. I crafted a PVC spine and used a T to add two pieces of pipe for the shoulders. I added a couple of 90° elbows on the end of those and added a couple more pieces of pipe for bones down to the elbows. I drilled the end of those and used bailing wire to wire on a couple more pieces of pipe for forearms. The baling wire acted as elbows so I could bend the forearms into position over the body. Repeat the PVC for the hips and leg bones, ending with a couple of elbows sticking up and a short piece of PVC for each foot.

Now that you have your "skeleton", the fun begins. I took a small piece of chicken wire and sort of crafted a ribcage around the upper skeleton. Then I began stuffing the body with plastic bags, crumpled paper and wrapped the bones with foam, quilt batting and fiberglass drywall tape. You just have to kind of wing it here. Stuff it until it looks sort of like a body should.

Now is the time to start winding the body with fabric strips. You'll need a lot of them! I found that old thrift store white sheets work really well. You can cut a slit about every 2" - 3" in the edge of the sheet and just tear the cloth into long strips. Dip your strips into a solution of flour and water, or very runny drywall mud before winding the cloth around the body parts. You'll need to do this is stages, letting the body wrappings dry in between coats.Just keep adding until you're happy with it.

Step 7: Putting It All Together

My husband is 6'4" and I realized that after I added the columns and a table with the mummy in front of the painted backdrop, we wouldn't be able to see much of the backdrop. Also, whatever was above the top of the backdrop would show when taking photos. I solved the problem by raising the backdrop about 2' off the ground. We accomplished this by adding 2 foam fly walls and resting the PVC backdrop framework on small shelf additions to the fly walls. Of course, this presented us with another problem. Now, there was a 2' gap between the backdrop and the floor that was visible in photos. I solved the problem by using long pieces of cardboard that I taped together and then painted to look like blocks of stone beneath the painting. Now the painting was up where it was clearly visible behind the columns and mummy table. And, the top of the painting was high enough to not let anything in the background above the painting show during photo shoots.

What I'd do differently: I'd add taller Sonotubes so that the tops of the tubes didn't show in some of the photos.

Step 8: Finished Vignette

There you have it, a full fledged Egyptian Mummy Tomb for Halloween or your own special event. I hope this Instructable has inspired you to create and enjoy your very own photo booth vignette.

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Halloween Contest 2019

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