OK, I’m a little crazy when it comes to decorating my kids’ rooms. I like the challenge of a theme — so far, I’ve redecorated rooms in Western, Spaceport, Octonauts, and Sporty Teen modes. If my husband would agree, I’d redo the master bedroom in a Robot theme, but so far he remains unconvinced.
So earlier this year, when my 7-year-old declared he’d like an Indiana Jones room, I eagerly took up the challenge. He’s been 8 now for a few months, but the room is finally finished, and he’s totally into it. Huzzah!

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I tried to bring in as many props from all four of the movies as I could — Lost Ark of the Covenant, golden idol, Coronado’s Cross, the Holy Grail, Sankara stones, Crystal Skull. I knew the room had to have elements of the jungle as well as have a studious, professorial feel to it. A whip, a hat, some artifacts, and a waterfall would complete the look and feel.

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A fountain from the thrift store became the “waterfall,” and some rocks my grade-schooler has collected became the sacred stones. I found a roll-top desk and a small dresser at a secondhand furniture shop, and scored the most adorable faux cowhide chair for $10!

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Here’s a list of props I “created”:

  • For the Holy Grail I used a wooden cup (non-breakable is good!), then painted it with rust-colored primer and metallic gold spray paint.
  • For the gold fertility idol, I bought an inexpensive Mexican quartz-stone ashtray, used a hammer to knock off the ashtray portion, and then used metallic gold spray paint. He’s my fave!
  • I found some cheap linoleum tiles on clearance, and used an X-Acto knife and sandpaper to make them into more organic, stone-like shapes.
  • I used a Sharpie to write the letters of Arlo’s name on four of the floor tiles, then put them near the entrance to the room. A big hit!
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  • My husband (thanks, Bruce!) painted the entire room a nice khaki color, and then I drew large bricks in pencil on one wall. Some dark paint created the lines. Temple wall coming together!
  • I smeared the dark paint across a couple of the bricks to see how it looked, and that ended up adding a day to the project. But it looks awesome and was totally worth it.
  • I wanted to create the illusion of a crumbling brick or two, but my attempts look fairly amateur, as does my spider. Luckily, 8-year-olds aren’t big art critics…
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I spent about $40 on commercial items. Two booby traps drop spiders on your head when you open the door, or shoot soft arrows at you from their eyes. I thought about buying some Crystal Skull Vodka, drinking the contents, and offering up the container to the Indy Room Gods, but I found an inexpensive plastic version that felt safer (and less torrid). And Arlo had spotted the comforter cover in a catalog, which is what started the whole idea rolling, I’m pretty sure.

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Sometimes helpful editor and digital media director at MAKE and CRAFT.

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