There are a number of different coffin props on instructables already and they are all great for what they were intended to do. Some have dummies in them while others creak open by themselves. I liked the ideas but didn't have the time that people had estimated that these took to build so I looked for the quickest way to make a simple prop to lean beside the front door. As it was leaning against the wall it didn't need a back nor did the side need to be any larger than a single board. The finished product looks the part and wasn't a large investment in time.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
To keep the cost down only minimal tools are required and pallets are often given away for free. The nails pulled from the pallets can be reused to hold the whole thing together.
- Cobwebs (optional)
- Pry bar
- Saw (either hand or circular)
- Drill and bit
Step 2: Disassemble and Sort the Pallet Wood
Take a couple of pallets apart being careful to minimise damage to the timber.
Sort the pieces into similar lengths and widths. The heavier brace pieces will also be used so hang onto them.
Lay out six of the widest boards until you get a shape that you are happy with. Given this is going to be used one night a year you do not have to be too fussy.
Step 3: Build the Sides
Mark and cut the sides, top and bottom to the required length.
Cut a piece of the heavier timber into four lengths. These should be slightly shorter than the width of the side boards.
Attach the short lengths to the one end of each of the side pieces using either nails or screws. I reused nails that were pulled from the pallets.
Attach the two shorter sides to the top and the two longer sides to the bottom. I started to shake a little at this point and wanted to bevel all the corners and get nice joints but reminded myself that it is a one night prop for outside in the dark! Dont drive the nails all the way in as you need to bend the sides out into the correct shape.
Lay the sides out again and mark a heavier piece to go across the center. This does a couple of jobs: it holds the sides together and provides a board that the front can be nailed onto as the lengths of pallet wood you have are invariably going to be to short and will need supporting.
Cut as marked and then use as a pattern for a second brace. Cut.
Nail both braces into place, one and the top and the other at the bottom.
Step 4: Attach and Trim the Front
Select boards and attach to the front of the coffin. Try to select bits that do not overhang too much and it is a good idea to start with the centre board and work out.
It is best to drill a pilot hole before nailing down to ensure that the timber does not split.
Mark to show the location of the sides once the top is covered. Use the saw to trim off the waste. To make cutting easier, I screwed a board to the top to act as a guide.
Step 5: Enjoy!
The coffin is now ready to be leaned against a wall or beside your front door. Some cobwebs/blood splatters can be used to add to the effect but these are not completely necessary. You could also lay it on your lawn, bust the top a bit and have bones poking out!
Hope you enjoyed and make sure to check out other coffin designs if you are thinking of adding a body or animations.