How to Make a Ziggurat Out of Cardboard

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Ziggurats are similar to step pyramids.
Ziggurats are similar to step pyramids. (Image: pyramid image by Allyson Ricketts from Fotolia.com)

Ziggurats stood in Mesopotamia thousands of years ago. These terraced stone buildings resembled Egyptian pyramids, but held worshippers and sacred temple objects rather than coffins. For thousands of years, the inhabitants of southern Iraq built ziggurats to help them get closer to the heavens. You, too, can build a ziggurat to help illustrate key concepts in a history lesson or as part of a classroom project.

Things You'll Need

  • Empty cereal boxes
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Glue
  • Sand
  • Light brown paint
  • Paper plate
  • Paintbrush

Slit your cereal boxes up one side and spread out the cardboard with the printed side down. Draw four squares with your ruler and pencil. They should be 8 inches square, 5 inches square, 4 inches square and 3 inches square.

Cut out each cardboard square. Mark and cut 2-inch square sections from each corner of the largest square and 1-inch sections from each corner of the subsequent squares.

Flip each square over so you can see the printed side. Fold the edges of the squares up, creating four lidless boxes. Tape the corners with masking tape to secure them. Turn the boxes over so you can see the brown cardboard sides.

Stack the boxes on top of each other from largest to smallest. Run a bead of glue along the bottom edges of each box before centering it on the box below it. Press firmly and allow the glue to dry for at least two hours.

Squeeze a palm-sized puddle of light brown paint onto a paper plate. Add about a tablespoon of sand to the paint and stir it with a paintbrush. Paint the resulting textured paint onto your ziggurat. The sand simulates the tower being made of rough stone. Let the paint dry overnight.

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