HIEROGLYPHIC ALPHABET – Shape, Texture, Balance

Students use glue and salt coloured with chalk to create an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 6


Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts


hieroglyph raised relief shape texture


Crayola Coloured Chalka Crayola Washable No-Run School Glue Crayola Construction Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Crayola Soft Paintbrushes Pencils Table Salt Copy Paper - 21.6 cm x 27.9 cm (8 ½" x 11")

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HIEROGLYPHIC ALPHABET – Shape, Texture, Balance - Step One

Step One

  1. Draw the outline of the hieroglyph on the construction paper.
    - make it almost as tall as the paper
  2. Draw the alphabet letter it represents in one corner of the paper. 
HIEROGLYPHIC ALPHABET – Shape, Texture, Balance - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Fold a piece of copy paper in half short end to short end.
  2. Open the paper and place it on the tablewith the crease facing down.
  3. Pour a small mound of salt onto the paper.
  4. Slowly rub coloured chalk into the salt. 
  5. Add more salt until you have about 2 tablespoons of coloured salt.
HIEROGLYPHIC ALPHABET – Shape, Texture, Balance - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Use washable glue to outline the drawing. 
  2. Draw directly with the glue.
  3. Fill in the alphabet letter with glue.
HIEROGLYPHIC ALPHABET – Shape, Texture, Balance - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Fold the paper with the coloured salt in half.
  2. Gently sprinkle the coloured salt over the wet glue.
  3. Make sure to cover all the glue.
HIEROGLYPHIC ALPHABET – Shape, Texture, Balance - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Gently shake the coloured salt off the construction paper and onto the salt paper.
  2. Make sure you do not touch the glue lines.
HIEROGLYPHIC ALPHABET – Shape, Texture, Balance - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Repeat this process until all the glue is covered with coloured salt.
  2. Set the drawing aside to dry overnight.
HIEROGLYPHIC ALPHABET – Shape, Texture, Balance - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Use a soft paintbrush to gently remove the chalk dust from the paper.
  2. Trim the paper to clean up the edges.

Learning Goals

 Students will be able to:

  • create a raised Egyptian hieroglyph and its corresponding English alphabet letter;
  • explain how to read ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs;
  • explain the importance of the Rosetta Stone; 
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.


Have students create a clay Egyptian Cartouche using the lesson plan available on this website.


  1. Download images of Egyptian art from the Internet, for example,
    Egyptian Harvest
    Egyptian Wall Painting
    Hieroglyphic Alphabet
  2. Gather and make available, books about ancient Egypt and the Rosetta stone, for example, The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, by Elizabeth Payne; Tales of Ancient Egypt, by Roger Lancelyn Green, and Michael Rosen; Ancient Egypt: Tales of Gods and Pharaohs, by Marcia Williams; National Geographic Kids Everything Ancient Egypt: Dig Into a Treasure Trove of Facts, Photos, and Fun, by Crispin Boyer; and Hieroglyphs, by Joyce Milton, and Charles Micucci.
  3. Preview the information available at the following website,
    Egyptian Art
  4. Have students research hieroglyphics and find 3 things about them that they find interesting.
  5. Create a sample.


  1. Have students share and discuss the interesting facts they learned about hieroglyphs, for example,
    - Egyptian writing system developed over 5000 years ago
    - uses pictures of objects, people and animals
    - was used for important or religious documents
    - was used by the priests
    - word means sacred carving
    - can be written from top to bottom or bottom to top
    - can be read from right to left or left to right
    - look for which way the animal or human is facing, and read in that direction, for example, if it is facing left, read from left to right 
  2. Ask students to read the hieroglyphics on one of the paintings. When they have difficulty explain how the discovery of the Rosetta stone helped to make reading hieroglyphics possible.
    - it was a large rock that had writing on it in 2 languages – Egyptian and Greek, and using 3 different scripts
    - the stone was carved in 196 BCE
    - it was found in 1799
  3. Ask students to think about why there would be 2 different languages on the stone. What does it remind them of in their own experience?
  4. Explain how it was possible to figure out Egyptian script and hieroglyphics because of the Rosetta stone.
    - How is the fact that it unlocked the puzzle of the ancient Egyptian language important?
  5. View and discuss the use of hieroglyphics in the images of Egyptian art.
  6. Discuss the raised surfaces on some of the art. 
  7. Explain that this is called raised relief.
  8. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a raised Egyptian hieroglyph and its corresponding English alphabet letter.
  2. Explain how to read ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.
  3. Explain the importance of the Rosetta Stone.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - drawn the hieroglyph accurately
    - made the drawing large 
    - drawn the glue lines evenly and smoothly
    - drawn glue on all parts of the design
    - coloured the salt with lots of pigment
    - applied the coloured salt evenly
    - balanced the drawing by trimming the paper
    - carefully glued the drawing to contrasting construction paper
    - kept the paper in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into small groups
  2. Ask them to: 
    - Share their work and discuss the things that are especially effective and why.
    - Talk about how they would read the hieroglyph based on the way it is drawn.

    - Talk about what they found difficult and what they found easy to do.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask students to tell how they felt about doing this project.


  1. Observe students as they work  – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss the drawings – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – Hieroglyph_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – Hieroglyph_self-assessment.pdf)