Monday, 24 September 2018

Genesis 50 - Joseph's Bones Quiet Book Page

Genesis 50 contains Joseph's dying words where he expresses his faith that God will make good on His promise to bring Israel out of Egypt. Joseph  asks his descendants to bring his bones with them when they leave.

Memory Verse: "So Joseph made the Israelites swear, saying, “When God comes to you, you shall carry up my bones from here.” Genesis 50:25.

Materials needed to create the Joseph's Bones quiet book page:

  • A4 felt background sheet - I used aqua
  • gold coloured material that won't fray - I used pleather but it was difficult to sew due to it's stretchiness (made easier by gluing first)
  • clear craft glue if using pleather to make sewing easier - I used polyacetic acid & ethylene resin based glue
  • gold trim
  • gold ribbon - melt the ends to prevent fraying
  • sewing thread to best match the colours
  • two buttons - I found some ivory ones with black etchings that somewhat resembled hieroglyphics
  • felt in gold/straw (or near enough), black, skin colour, and white/glow-in-the-dark
  • glow-in-the-dark paint if using white felt
  • decorative material or ribbons etc for the coffins
  • white ribbon for wrapping Joseph's mummy
  • my free template
Trace the sarcophagus, coffin head and death mask pieces using the template onto the back of your pleather using pen - this will avoid puncturing the pleather unnecessarily. Cut them out. Glue the front and lid of the sarcophagus to your gold/straw felt, inserting small strips of ribbon to form hinges along the top edge of the lid and loops for your buttons along the bottom edge. Make sure you make big enough loops to fit the buttons through easily. You can use pins to keep the ribbons in place if you need to but make sure it is where you will be sewing so you don't have holes where they will be visible. Leave to dry overnight.

Sew the pleather to the felt on all sides for the lid, reinforcing where the ribbons are. Only sew the top edge for the front. Cut them out ensuring you do not cut off the ribbons. Next glue the sarcophagus back to the background page, inserting the other ends of the ribbon hinges from the lid. Sew down once dried overnight. Then sew the front on the bottom and sides to form a pocket. To complete the sarcophagus, hand sew your buttons on.

Cut scraps of pleather to fit underneath the face holes of the coffin heads and death masks. Glue the death mask pieces to the gold/straw felt, layering a scrap in position under the front piece with the face hole. Leave to dry overnight, then sew down around the face hole and edges. Cut out the pieces and sew together along the top curve.

Decorate your coffin bases as desired and glue and sew on the head pieces. Sew together by the sides excluding the head or from the center of the head at the top to the center of the base at the bottom to form pockets.

I sewed the black one the first way as there was no reinforcing on the base and the other way for the blue/green coffin as it had a double layer due to the material.

I also used glue under the decorative material on this one as it is very thin material and very prone to fraying. To ensure there would be no fraying I did a tight zig zag stitch around those edges too.

For the mummy I doubled the skin coloured felt twice, inserting a wide white ribbon between the under body piece before sewing the two doubled pieces on top of each other along one straight side edge.

To make the bones I drew around the template pieces onto my white felt with a black pen and painted the glow in the dark paint on.

Glow-in-the-dark felt would make this step easier - not that it was hard, but as it is unavailable in Australia and I could not find a seller online, this was my solution. To finish, simply cut out the bones and glue them in place on the inside of the body.


Difficulty Level = Intermediate.

If you are using pleather the glue is imperative. It will be a nightmare without it as you will get bunching and/or stretching out of shape. Also, DO NOT attempt to use tape instead of glue - you will end up with the dodgy sewing featured below and have to start over.

Key Learning Areas and Skills

  • Genesis 50 - Joseph showed his faith by instructing his descendants to take his bones with them when God brought them out of Egypt!
  • Imaginative Play - wrapping and burying an Egyptian mummy is pretty fun, not to mention golw-in-the-dark bones!
  • Buttoning - open and close the sarcophagus lid
  • Wrapping - wrap the ribbon around the body
  • Sequencing & Spatial Awareness - order the pockets the wrapped body goes into - death mask, small coffin, large coffin, sarcophagus
  • Science - could incorporate a lesson about UV light and glow in the dark phenomena
  • Fine Motor Skills - all quiet books encourage fine motor skill development
  • Hand-eye Co-ordination - all quiet books encourage hand-eye co-ordination

Read the Chapter

Genesis 50

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If you know of any earlier patterns or other information, I'd love to hear from you!


There are Jewish legends about Joseph's bones that tell stories about the Israelites forgetting to take them with them when they were about to leave Egypt. The stories were written well after the fact and there are variations in the details, but basically the story goes that the pillar of cloud/fire would not move when they were all assembled ready to leave. The great-granddaughter of Levi realised that they had forgotten Joseph's bones. She was the only person old enough to remember where his body was laid. Apparently the Egyptians had sunk his coffin into the Nile River in an attempt to bless it, so Moses had to perform a miracle to get it to float so it could be retrieved. Only then did the pillar move forward to lead them out of Egypt.

Whether the story has some truth to it I don't know, but I did find it rather interesting.

You can see the monument at Joseph's burial site in this video.

Our actions follow from what we believe to be true. Joseph gave instructions about his bones fully believing that God would bring the Israelites out of Egypt. God had told Abraham that his descendants would be enslaved in Egypt for four hundred years (Genesis 15). He also brought them to Egypt to keep them safe throughout famine. That which brought blessing also brought suffering. And you can see in what Joseph says on his deathbed that he believed both that Israel would suffer in Egypt even though throughout his lifetime it had been a blessing and that God would come to their aid and bring them out of Egypt. Indeed they did need God to come to their aid to secure release from Egyptian slavery. The story of Exodus shows what great lengths God went to keep His promise. He will surely keep the remainder of His promises and bring us out of this world of suffering and into His eternal life of blessing. May our actions demonstrate our faith to our children and peers like Joseph's did.

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Which is your favourite coffin?

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