Introduction: Handmade Functional Coffin

This project was inspired by the impact graveyards and traditional burials impact the environment and our pocketbooks. The average casket costs $2,000, but depending on the material it can cost up to $10,000. This does not factor in the cost of embalming, and beautifying the corpse for viewing or the cost of a burial plot. This, to me, seems a rather unnecessary attempt to prevent your inevitable decomposition. The natural burial or green burial movement, though rather contemporary, is essentially a return to simpler times before embalming and the mass production of caskets. Though Natural Burial caskets are better for the environment they are still rather expensive.

My goal was to design a fully functional casket out of cardboard and opensource it so that anyone could make their own for under $30 using tools you probably have lying around the house.

For more on natural burial:

Step 1: Step 1: Gather Materials

Ruler/ tape measure

T-square/straight edge (for straight cuts)


Extra blades (change often for clean cuts)

8 Extra Large moving boxes which collapse to be about 6 feet long

I made this project using 100% recycled cardboard boxes I bought at Home Depot for $1.97 a box

Step 2: Step 2: Get to Measuring

This is by far the worst part of the entire process.

I suggest measuring on the side with all the logos This way you don't have to go back and erase all of your pencil markings. I have attached a pdf file with all of the example measurements. If you are taller than 5'3 you will have to adjust the length of the vertical baseboards, sides, and bed planks to your height +2-3 inches for wiggle room.

The Dashed lines are lines should be scored and folded

To score only cut through the first layer of the side with all the logos making sure not to cut through to the other side. Then fold against the cut for a rounded and more sturdy edge.

Step 3: Step 3: Start Cutting

This step is pretty straightforward. Put on some good tunes and cut out all of your components using your box-cutter and T-square or straight edge. Be sure to be fairly accurate while doing this as that will determine the finished look of your coffin.

Step 4: Step 4: Putting It All Together

Begin by folding the horizontal baseboards on itself 4xs along the scored lines. you should end up with a 2 foot long 6 inch wide board with 4 slots.

Next, fold the vertical baseboards on the scored line and insert them into the slots of the horizontal pieces.

Attach the bed planks by folding on the scored lines and inserting them into the slots of the horizontal baseboards.

Then fold the head and foot boards along the scored lines and insert the slots of the head and foot boards into the outermost slots of the horizontal baseboards.

Finally install the sides by folding them on the scored lines. Insert the first half of the side on the inside of the headboard and the second half of the side piece on the outside of the headboard. create the same kind of sandwiching effect for the foot-board. Do the same on the other side.

At this point you should have a functional coffin. You can then embellish it however you like. I used the extra pieces of cardboard to create a moulding effect, but you can do whatever you wish.

Step 5: Step 5: Show It Off

Snap a few pics of your finished eco-friendly casket and bring awareness to your friends and family of the importance of green burial.

Don't forget to use the hashtag


Halloween Decor Contest 2016

Runner Up in the
Halloween Decor Contest 2016