The Book of the Dead from the Mummy is ready! and here is a video summary of the project! There were MANY mistakes, but it’s done. The whole project took arround 3 weeks since we work on our off time but editing the video took many months since I wasn’t sure what exactly to show and what to take out… In any case, here it is:
The Mummy project (part 8) assembling the pages and final aging
This is the the last important step, adding the pages. Since we couldn’t find any reference of a working functional book of the dead, we had to be creative. Each one of our drop-shaped wooden parts has a strip of leather going around it and that holds a page from both sides. We used superglue and a couple of tiny nails to secure each page: Here is a couple detail photos: Once all pages are ready we starded ading all the pieces on the spine of the book. We just applied the same Bitumen of Judea that was used to age the cover decorations: First apply the bitumen then remove a little bit so that all the grooves stay dark: And now the spine is ready! And the pages are functional!
The Mummy project (part 7) cover assembly
Now that basically all parts are ready, it’s just a matter of putting all together. Since I wanted the cover pieces to be rather secure in the cover but I didn’t want to use screws I applied a good amount of 2 part epoxy: Once the epoxy is dry I applied a bit of Bitumen of Judea which in theory is used to age furniture: Since the lines on the cover and the black vertical decoration piece are lower than the rest of the surface, the dark aging would normally make them very visible but since this book is all black those parts required a “whitening” aging process. I used a bit of glue and all the sawdust that was all over my shop from making all the parts from the book.
The Mummy project (part 6) scarabs
Lets make some bugs! specifically, the 4 flat scarabs on the cover just below the bird heads. I initially printed out the scarab lines and tried to use copy paper, but it simply didn’t work over the foam. I ‘m using a very thin sheet of PEVA foam. So I just grabbed a pen a drew the scarabs by hand Then I cut out each scarab leaving a good extra border of foam: I then made superficial cuts following all the lines being careful not to cut down to the other side. Once the cuts are done I used a heat gun and went over each cutout. This is before passing over with the heat gun: After applying heat the shallow cuts open up and become grooves: Later I added an extra layer of foam below (the black layer): And then cut them out but this time following the shape closely: Finally I went around the piece with a lighter to seal up the foam: Then I gave it a couple passes with black acrylic paint and a couple hands of varnish: And here are the scarabs finished: Se you next to assemble the book spine!
The Mummy project (part 5) cover decorations
For the decorations on the cover we first transferred the designs onto the plywood: Then cleared the paper so only the toner from the photocopies stays: later we cut away all borders and internal pieces that should be hollow: Then It’s a matter of pyrographing all bas-reliefs: Giving it a couple coats of pain and varnish: And finally assembling: And those are the decorations! Next up… making some scarabs maybe?
The Mummy project (part 4) assembling the spine
Now that the cover holders are ready, we can do the rest round pieces that are needed to hold the inner pages and fill the spine of the book. The process is the same, print out the shapes, glue them to the plywood and cut everything: Now that all the pieces are ready, we can try to assemble the spine to test the size of everything: Time to paint! First a black base and then a couple of hands of gold and a touch of brass color. It looks kinda lame and yellow, but it will look just right after aging. Now a bit of assembling: The spine is ready! Now that we know the exact length of the spine, we can cut the long screw to the proper size. And now the spine is ready! Next episode, will build the decorations that go onto the cover!
The Mummy project (part 3) cover holders and birds
Now that the covers and pages are ready, it’s time to make the wooden parts that hold them together. All of those: Based on the size of the cover I drew a very rough sketch of a side-view of the book: And then re-drew it on illustrator so I could print any number of copies: The final printout looks like this: You can download the full res version from the Mummy download page. Here is applied directly on to the plywood for cutting: After the shapes are cut, it’s time for sanding: An so, the cover holders are ready: One last detail that was added is the squares texture that goes on top of each piece. First just drawn by hand: And then burnt: With those ready, let’s make the birds that hold the front cover in place. The procedure is basically the same. First a very rough sketch: Then into illustrator: Finally printed and glued onto the plywood to cut: The extra step here is that, once the piece is cut, there a bit of extra dremeling necessary to actually get the curved shape on top: The I added a bit of 2 part epoxy clay to mode the … Read More
The Mummy project (part 2) Covers and pages
The first step was to define the size of the book. I had a couple pieces of plywood that I bought to make shelves but never used so I decided to used that to make the covers since they looked quite similar to the size of book shown in the movie. So I took the width of that piece and calculated the height based on photos of other props. Always check you leftovers before making too many measurements, usually there’s something already perfect! Once the covers were ready, the next step pas to make the curved marks on them. I copied the very rough lines to a piece of paper based on a couple of photos of one of the many props floating on the internet. Then I copied it to the piece of plywood by hand, nothing to precise. Then I used the router head of the dremel and created the grooves on the cover. For the internal pages, I first started gathering photos of props. I much later realized that all pages from this book are supposed to be made out of obsidian or black stone, but I for some reason found these photos first: I really liked … Read More
The Book of the Dead from The Mummy (part 1)
The book we are making this time is the Book of the Dead from The Mummy (1999)!. The Book of the Dead from The Mummy has been in my to-do-list for a very long time, but I always thought I might be a bit too difficult to make. The whole clasps system looked a bit too fantastical to me. But, we actually got a request over Facebook asking if we could make a replica of it so we finally decided to at least start making a potential plan for building it. A couple of weeks later, we had a couple a reasonable plans and a list of materials so we started the build. In the end, the book was finished with a couple of parts missing, but you’ll will see all our misadventures on our next posts! The Book of the Dead References! As always the first par of any project is to gather some references. Sadly the movie doesn’t have quite enough shots of the prop to get much details so we based our replica on several other props that were floating on the internet. Here is a small compilation of the photos I used to start this build: … Read More