DIY / Holidays / Tutorials

DIY: Canopic Jar Props

Yes, I know we are well past Halloween, but I do love to share with all of you the crazy props I make for our annual Halloween party. This year’s new addition to the decor was the Egyptian tomb themed basement. One of the things I made just a couple of days before the party was a pair of canopic jars. Here’s how!

Supplies Needed:

  • Up to 4 matching tall jars or bottles
  • Paper Towels, newspaper, or thin junk mail
  • Masking Tape
  • Glue
  • Air Dry Clay
  • Stone fleck spray paint (I used “sandstone”)
  • Liquid Leaf (or gold paint)
  • Assorted enamels, acrylic paints, or even nail polish for details!

I had been saving a couple of bottles through the year, knowing I wanted to make these canopic jars. When October came around, the best candidates were a pair of Rumchata bottles. They had nice shoulders for the shape, even if they are a little flat. This can be fixed.


The mat beneath is a one inch grid, so these are pretty tall bottles.

Next step I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of. Using wadded paper and masking tape, rough out the shape of the heads you want and attach them to the top of the bottles. Don’t go straight to sculpting in clay! Solid clay will be top heavy and make the bottles prone to tipping over.

Keep adding tape and paper towels until you have roughly filled out the bottle shape you want. This is almost like an initial sketch of your design. Next, go over that with strips of your paper coated in glue to smooth out your surface.

Let this dry completely before moving on to the next step.


Look, we have heads! Yeah, I’m not the best sculptor.

Now, the air dry clay! First, a note for those of you who have not used this stuff before. Don’t open it until you plan to use it. It is hard to save without it drying out.

Rolling out your clay will help you cover your paper in a relatively even layer. Cover as much as you can, then start working in your details. You don’t have to be perfect. After all, these are supposed to look old – uneven places (like where the clay meets the bottle) can be worked in as chips and scratches later.

Once again, let this dry completely before you move on to the next step. Read your clay packaging for the drying time.

Next, spray paint! Read and follow the instructions on your stone fleck paint. Allow to dry. Paint multiple coats if needed. Don’t forget the bottoms!

Finally, the detail paint. This is actually pretty easy, as once again we’re going for an old look. Start with your gold, dry brushing it on where it would have once been gilded. Don’t try and cover it thickly or completely – it will look older if it looks like it’s worn off some. Yes, if will seem like it’s messy, but the overall effect at the end is age.

These bottles would once have also been colorful. I found a great thing for little areas of bright finish is actually nail polish. It looks like old enamel paint.

Let this dry thoroughly.

Finally, if you really want to make them look old, water down some brown paint. Brush it on, letting it run into the crevices of your design, and use paper towel or a rag to dab off the excess. It’ll make it look grungy.


The finished jars, on the relic table of my tomb.

Final note: Why am I so insistent about things drying? Because I am notorious for rushing before something is completely dry and messing up my own work. Don’t be like me – be patient!


2 thoughts on “DIY: Canopic Jar Props

  1. Pingback: DIY Egyptian Crafts to Try at Home

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