Building the Book of the Dead from The Mummy (1999)

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jcporcel

New Member
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The Book of the Dead from The Mummy has been in my to-do-list for a VERY long time but I always thought looked a bit too complicated to make. A couple of months ago someone asked me to make a replica of it so I decided to finally give it a try.

In the end I made MANY mistakes, but I ended up with a pretty acceptable piece that will probably not impress any experts, but still looks freaking awesome on top of my bookshelf =)

Here I will be uploading the story of my 75% successful build!
 

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jcporcel

New Member
The first step was too define the size of the book. I'm usually not very worried about absolute perfection when it comes to movie accuracy so I just looked for a size that would be convenient.

I already had an unused piece of plywood that looked reasonably sized.. so what more convenient than that...

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Good enough!

For the lines and designs on the cover I first took a piece of paper and roughly drew them based o a couple of photos I found of other props.
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I gathered some photos and references on a google photos album, you can take a look over HERE!

Then I copied the lines onto the wood with a pencil by hand, nothing to exact. And went over them with the router head of my dremel:
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jcporcel

New Member
The inner pages!

This is where the mistakes started....

The first reference I found of how the inner pages looked were this couple of photos:
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I thought they looked awesome so the idea of golden pages stuck with me up until the end of the project.

The thing is, those golden pages are not from the Book of the Dead which is all black (the one on the right)... The golden pages are from the Book of Amun-Ra which is all golden !(the book on the left):
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Since most photos just show the insides of the book and never the cover, I somehow just amused It's all from the same book. So when I realized that my pages should be black and not gold It was waaaaaaaaay too late to restart.

Since I didnt have sheets of brass or other yellow-ish metal at hand I decided to go for wooden pages and then maybe add a bit of golden paint at the end.

I once again went to my good old pile of scraps to look for material for the pages. Luckily, a friend of mine gave me a couple big pieces of "trash" that I never used up until now:
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Never underestimate garbage!

Then it was a matter of cutting the to size...
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Then I printed out and made photocopies of the pages from the book to transfer them onto the plywood. This is done using modpodge:
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Then I removed all the paper to leave only the toner:
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Once that was done, I aged the wood a little using coffe:
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The a couple layers of varnish:
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And then everything is left to dry:
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So my book has a black exterior and golden pages... not at all accurate, but still nice!

If you want the image files for the pages I made, you can download them all HERE.
 

jcporcel

New Member
Just to be sure the pages are available over here too. Based on the photos, the book has 6 pages. I could only find photos of 4 and then just invented 2 extra pages. Here I'm attaching all the pages I re-traced:

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Here the 2 extra pages I added, one based on a photo from the scorpion king and the other seem like an actual page from the real book of the dead:

EDIT!: Turns out this first actually-egyptian looking page was made by some amazing people here on the RPF, here is the threat where they are putting them together, some CSI level work going on!: About The mummy returns prop-Help!!!
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Jintosh

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
These are great. If someone reads this and has the ACTUAL extra 2 pages, please share. Having these 2 is still better than not having them.
 

jcporcel

New Member
Part 3! Building the page holders and birds.

Based on the size of the cover I drew a very rough sketch of a side-view of the book and remade it in illustrator so i could print any number of copies:
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The final printout looks like this:
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You can download the full res version from the Mummy download page.

Here is applied directly on to the plywood for cutting:
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After the shapes are cut, it’s time for sanding:
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One last detail that was added is the squares texture that goes on top of each piece. First just drawn by hand:
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And then burnt:
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For the birds the process is basically the same. Rough sketch + illustrator:
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Then onto the plywood and everything gets cut:
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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:
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The I added a bit of 2 part epoxy clay to mode the heads of the birds:
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And it's done for now!
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THIS IS AMAZING!!!!! I don' know about all that "not concerned about accuracy" stuff. This totally blew me away! Granted I am not "expert" so take it with a grain of salt, but........... DANG DUDE! NICE!
 

jcporcel

New Member
And we are back!

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. This would be soooooo much easier with a laser cutter, but alas, I have no such magical machine near me... so scroll saw it is =(
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Now that all the pieces are cut and sanded, we can try to assemble the spine to test the size of everything (the birds over here were already painted black):
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Time to paint! First a black base and then a couple of hands of gold and a touch of brass color.
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I stuck all my sticks-with-drying-pieces in a big block of styrofoam:
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It looks kinda lame and yellow, but it will look just right after aging.

Now a bit of assembling:
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The spine is ready!
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Now that we know the exact length of the spine, we can cut the long screw to the proper size.
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LorenzoTOS

New Member
hi there. excellent work on the book. I happen to have a 60 watt laser in my home. If you are interested maybe we could accomplish this together.
 

RobertMuldoon

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Nice work! I always liked the prop, it bares no semblance on anything Egyptological but it's a fantastic prop, and you've made me want to finish the kit BotD I have in a cupboard!

In case you haven't seen, here is a picture of the open BotL: https://www.therpf.com/forums/attachments/dsc_0067n-jpg.384175/ The was a BotD page in a Propstore auction a couple of years ago too: MUMMY, THE (1999) - Book of the Dead Page - Current price: £2250

Also, for the sake of credit: The first of your extra pages was made by a group of RPFers, including myself, and the full thread is over in the Paper Props section, the full version is on page 10.
 

jcporcel

New Member
hi there. excellent work on the book. I happen to have a 60 watt laser in my home. If you are interested maybe we could accomplish this together.
Hey that would be awesome... but I live in a laser-less god forsaken country in south america haha, so I'm guessing the trip would be rather inconvenient =)
 

jcporcel

New Member
Nice work! I always liked the prop, it bares no semblance on anything Egyptological but it's a fantastic prop, and you've made me want to finish the kit BotD I have in a cupboard!

In case you haven't seen, here is a picture of the open BotL: https://www.therpf.com/forums/attachments/dsc_0067n-jpg.384175/ The was a BotD page in a Propstore auction a couple of years ago too: MUMMY, THE (1999) - Book of the Dead Page - Current price: £2250

Also, for the sake of credit: The first of your extra pages was made by a group of RPFers, including myself, and the full thread is over in the Paper Props section, the full version is on page 10.
Oh!, thanks a lot!. Waw, that looks like a LOT of work putting those pages together. (Just added the links to your thread!)

Yeap, I actually used the Propstore photos to trace my pages. And for some reason I never thought that those black pages are the correct color for the insides of the book. The first pages I looked at while researching were the golden ones you also mention and those simply stuck in my mind as the correct pages so now my book has black exteriors and golden inside pages... Very inacurate, but it still looks very cool so whatever, live if too short to throw away perfectly good golden pages! =)
 

jcporcel

New Member
Cover decoration time!

For the decorations on the cover we first transferred the designs onto the plywood:
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Then cleared the paper so only the toner from the photocopies stays:
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Later I cut away all borders and internal pieces that should be hollow:
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Then It’s a matter of pyrographing all bas-reliefs:
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Giving it a couple coats of pain and varnish:
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And finally assembling:
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Later I repainted the golden piece in a darker metalic color since this golden paint was a bit too yellow.

To be continued!
 

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