How to Make an Ancient Roman Sign

How to make an Ancient Roman Sign

In this post I will be showing you how to make an Ancient Roman sign in Latin. Fun to hang around the house, they also make an excellent addition to an end of unit presentation. Obviously, these signs can just be made using card board and paints, but I like to make things look a little authentic. Plaster cast is a perfect addition to this craft. It makes the final signs look a little fresco-like. And that’s a bit authentic, right?

Anyway, let’s have a look at a sample sign on a mosaic floor (so not fresco at all!). This image is from an article about the oldest ‘beware of a dog’ sign, found in Pompeii in the ‘House of the Tragic Poet’:

Ancient 'Beware of the Dog' mosaic

What You’ll need to make an Ancient Roman Signs

You only need card, scissors and plaster cast strips. The Spend a Day in Ancient Rome book gives instructions for working out your name in Latin and gives how to write ‘Watch out for the dog (or cat!)’ in latin also.

What You Need to Do

I would do this activity outside as it can get really messy. Also, if your hands are sensitive (and perhaps even if not) feel free to wear gloves.

  • First, cut the card to the size of sign you would like to make.
  • Next, fill a large container full of water
  • And cut the plaster cast strips into shorter strips, long enough to go all the way around the card
How to make an Ancient Roman Sign
  • Now, wet the strips one at a time and begin to wrap them around the card. You may find the card goes a little limp – this is fine, it will harden up once dry.
  • Straight away, whilst they are still wet, smooth over the plaster cast strips as you put each strip on the card:
  • The plaster cast ends should all be on the under side. This will leave the facing side smooth and flat.
Plaster cast on card board
  • Next, lay out the plaster covered card to dry thoroughly. I dried mine on a towel atop the car:
Plaster cast card drying on a towel
  • In the meantime, set up your painting station. Use a sheet to protect the surfaces (it is messier than normal painting). Once the blank signs are dry, paint the Ancient Roman signs:
Girls painting an Ancient Roman sign
  • Following the instructions from Spend a Day in Ancient Rome, the girls worked out what their Latin name would be based on their birth order. I have no idea why, but Abigail called herself Vera! Is Vera even an Ancient Roman name?!

Here are their signs warning about the dog and cat:

How to make an Ancient Roman Sign

And their Latin names:

How to make an Ancient Roman Sign

And there you have it. How to make an Ancient Roman sign in a few short steps!

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