Halloween Tombstones!




Introduction: Halloween Tombstones!

About: My wife and I have a home haunt called Terror On 20Th....I love to build props...everything from a casket to pneumatic monsters! I am also a presenter, speaker and course teacher at Halloween conventions.

With Halloween right around the corner why not make some tombstones for your very own Haunted Cemetery??

Step 1: Things, Materials Needed

I use Styrofoam insulation....2 types, 2" thick white foam...you can find it at the Home Depot or Lowes. It comes in a 4x8 sheet. The second...is the 1" pink insulation foam also in a 4x8 sheet.

You will need an Xacto knife with fresh blades, a razor cutting knife (the cheap plastic ones with the break off blades)

A computer with printer to print out script

Loctite Power Grab ...it's a MUST have

a straight edge and or a drywall T square (I use it all the time) tape measure

150-200 grit sand paper and an orbital sander (not a must on the sander but it makes things easy)

Flat gray latex wall paint, flat black latex wall paint...paint brushes

A small cabinet paint roller

6' fence plank...or scrap wood...a few 2' wood marking stakes with a few drywall screws

Things to add to the TS...skulls, bats, wood trim...these will be added for detail

Step 2: Tombstone Base

1.The 2" white foam has the loose beaded Styrofoam, it works great for the base of the TS. The Home Depot will cut the 4x8 sheet for you...I have them cut them about 18" wide...they will be 4' tall...you can make these any size you like. I have also used a skill saw and even a razor knife.....but cutting at home it's messy!!

2. I like to draw out the TS on paper first or look at internet pics to get ideas for the shape...then draw out the basics onto the white foam with a sharpie.

3. Using the tape measure find the center and with the drywall square draw a line through the center...top to bottom!

4. Draw out where things will go on the TS and cut out some sort of shape for the top...I have used everything from large salad bowls to cheap store bought tombstones.....once you make a few you like, use some cheap plywood and trace the top of the TS onto it...cut out the plywood to use as templates for future TS.

Step 3: Back of the Tombstone

1. Cut the 6' fence plank in half

2. Use the power grab to glue them to the back...place them a few inches from the edge...I like to set a few cinder blocks on the planks over night.....they will never come off!

Step 4: Time for Bottom Trim!

1. For the trim use the pink 1" insulation foam...its very dense and is easy to cut and sand...also good for carving

2. Start out by adding a few layers of foam to the bottom, using the drywall square measure out the first section...I make most with an 8" section to start with...cut out with the razor knife using a straight edge. The first section should be a few inches larger than the front, add sections to the sides first with the power grab..this way there won't be a seam facing the front

3. Add the first front section with the Power Grab...it will look like it was wrapped around the stone...I don't add layers to the back....who looks at the backs??

4. Repeat the last step with a smaller layer....about 5" tall

Step 5: Add Side, Top Trim!

1. To make the top trim trace the tombstone top onto the pink foam...be sure to do this with the TS face down to get the correct fit. I have also used cheap store bought tombstones for the tops.

2. Once traced you can make it as wide as you like....I like to use a small piece of scrap wood however wide I want the trim....then just follow the contour and make a mark every inch or so.

3. Cut out the trim...I like to use a hot wire cutter but you can use a razor knife or even a jig saw

4. For the side trim figure out how wide you want it and draw it out with the drywall square....this I cut with the razor knife.....sometimes I make them just strips down the sides but you can also do small sections to dress it up.

5. Glue trim to the TS with the Power Grab. This stuff works great...you can move the trim around a bit for a few minutes but then it's SET.

Step 6: Time for the Decorations and Script Plaque!

1. Using the computer I have found templates for bats, spiders...they are used for pumpkin carving...I print them out on paper...cut them and trace them onto the pink foam....just cut them out! Sand the decoration pieces with some 200 grit paper just to knock the hard edges off.

2. Glue into place!

3. Making the plaque....so this can say anything you want...R.I.P....PEEK A BOO...IDA VOIDER...these were made for Birthday's but I use them in the cemetery!

4. Using the computer I print out the script after choosing the font I liked....The size of the plaque depends on the space left in between the side trim...I like to leave an inch or so between the plaque and the sides. The script is taped into place and using an xacto knife cut out the letters at a 45 angle....this takes time...I usually do it while watching tv at night!

5. Once the script is done I sand down the surface with an orbital sander...200 grit paper

6. Glue into place

Step 7: Spider Webbs!

This could be it's own Instructable but I'll add it here since I use them on the TS.

1. You will need a hot glue gun, wax paper

2. Draw out a spider web.....place a piece of wax paper over the drawing and trace it onto the wax paper

3. Using the glue gun trace the lines with the hot glue

4. Place the wax paper with the glue web under water for several minutes

5. Peel away the paper....you now have the web...glue onto the TS with the Power Grab!!

Step 8: Time for Paint!

1. Paint the tombstone with a flat latex gray paint.

2. After it is dry paint all of the letters with a flat black latex

3. After the black is dry repaint the gray over it using a small cabinet roller....don't load up the roller with paint...I will roll it over a cardboard section to get the heavy paint off the roller....then go over the plaque but don't press down or you will get gray into the letters. Now the script will really POP!

4. Now after that is dry it's time to grunge up the TS. I paint small sections with the flat black and wipe off with a damp water soaked rag. Be sure to rinse out the rag in a bucket of water often. If you wipe to much off just add it back on!

5. I sometimes water down the paint and let it run down the TS...after a few min I blot it off....this makes some great effects and really makes it look old....you can also add other colors like green for mold.

Step 9: Istalling Your Tombstone!!

1. Soooo if you decide to display your creation indoors make a small base with scrap wood as in the photo. Use a few drywall screws to fasten the stand to the back of the tombstone, I set a brick on it so the TS will stay in place.

2. To display in your own creepy spooky cemetery use the wood 2' marking stakes they come in packs of 20 or so...pre drill a few holes in them...one about 3" from the top and another about 8" below that.....paint them black.

3. Place the TS face down in the yard.....line up the stakes with the fence planks on the back of the TS and hammer them into the ground...about 1/2 way...now stand up the TS and with drywall screws fasten to the TS using the pre-drilled holes! The Tombstone will stay up all season...have FUN!!

Halloween Contest 2018

Second Prize in the
Halloween Contest 2018

1 Person Made This Project!


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3 years ago

So cool! I love this.


3 years ago

Nicely done.. I created a tombstone, which is a finalist as well.. I love the detail you put in these.


3 years ago

These are great ideas. I've made stryofoam tombstones and sprayed them with stone textured paint but these are much more impressive and detailed. My next project for this Halloween.

Eh Lie Us!
Eh Lie Us!

3 years ago

In Step 4 you ask "Who looks at the back???" and my 1st thought was 'ah... Instructable people?' :)

Great job, man. I've spray painted some before ON PURPOSE to get that weathered look. It's probably the only time that I think I do that on foam.


3 years ago

I have several styrofoam tombstones that have the stakes to hold them down. But one Halloween a strong wind around 40 knots came by, and several of the tombstones were found in the neighbors yards the next morning. I thought of either some type of pvc or heavy wood and being held down by a brick so it won't BLOW away like mine did. Maybe I can experiment with something else and let you people know.


3 years ago on Step 9

Great Instructable!! Electric carving knives work great for cutting stiff or soft foam.

Tura Street
Tura Street

3 years ago

Creepy. I love it. Thanks for sharing.