History & Art: Making An “Ancient” Scroll

One of the stories we talked about in history class was when Judah was ruled by an 8-year-old king, Josiah, in 630 B.C. He turned out to be a good king, unlike his father and grandfather (Amon and Manasseh), and one of his wishes was to repair and restore the Temple that Solomon had built. As craftsmen were working on the walls of the Temple, one of them came across the Book of the Law (the first five books of the Old Testament, called the Pentateuch). From this event (of finding the scroll), came our activity of making a scroll that looked old. (This activity may take two days to finish.)


  • two empty paper-towel rolls or toilet paper rolls (if you want to make a smaller one)
  • several sheets of paper (choose a thicker kind so it doesn’t rip or tear while you’re working on it.)
  • tea bags
  • black marker
  • tape
  • yarn or raffia ribbon


1. Make a strong brew of tea or coffee. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little.

2. Crumple several sheets of paper and soak it in the tea or coffee. Leave until darkened, then spread out to dry.

3. Copy on the paper any verse or inscription you want to write using your black marker. (Make allowances on the top and bottom parts of the paper for the empty paper-towel rolls.)

4. Tape one end of the paper to the empty paper-towel roll, and the other end to another roll.

5. Roll both empty paper-towel rolls toward each other until they meet in the middle, then tie up with yarn or raffia.


The story of Josiah may be found in 2 Kings 22:1-2, 18-19; 23:1-4, 25.

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