Halloween is here witches! It’s time to get out your book of spells and cauldrons and start getting prepared for the best night of the year! These realistic DIY gravestones will magically turn your front yard into the scariest cemetery in the neighborhood. Ghosts and zombies may or may not be included – bwahahaha.


  • 4’x8’x2″ Foam Insulation Board (Pink FOAMULAR at Home Depot)
  • Tombstone cutout template (create your own or find templates already available online)
  • Jab Saw or Reciprocating Saw
  • Exacto Knife
  • Dremel tool (or any rotary tool for routing or engraving)
  • Craft Glue
  • 6 Inch Wooden Dowels
  • Various Paints and Stains
  • Paint Brushes and Cloths
  • Garden Stakes


Decide what shape you want your tombstone to be. Then using a sharpie, make an outline of a gravestone on the foam board. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but if you think you need a hand there are stencils online. Just look under Foam Tombstone Stencil.


Once you’ve made your outline, use a jab saw or recipricol saw to cut out our shape. A power saw is what I used, but a jab saw works just as well. It just takes a little more time.


On regular paper, print out your designs and letters. You can find free clip art and fun fonts all over the web. Just remember the scale may require you to spread your words over several sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper. 


Place your stencils on the foam board and tape down the edges. Using a pencil – the duller the better, trace the outlines of your letters and designs on to the foam by gently pressing the pencil on the foam. You want to create a legible indention on the foam, but try not to pierce through the paper.


Once you’ve created your outlines, use an Exacto knife to score the outlines of each letter. Then crosshatch the interior. Next use a Dremel to carve out your designs. This process isn’t perfect and you may need to use your Exacto knife or something sharp to “scoop” out stubborn foam.


Using a wood file or something similar, file down and round off the edges of your foam. You want it to look weathered.



Paint your gravestove. We started by spray painting the entire stone black. Then we watered down some white acrylic paint and used a cloth to wipe the translucent paint on to the stone. You will need to do several coats and let each layer dry before starting the next.

Try to avoid your carvings as best you can. You will want those to stay dark. You don’t have to be Michael Angelo, the white will inevitabley run into the carvings. After you achieve the desired look for your stone, you can go back with black paint and refill your letters and designs with a small brush.



Build a base for your tombstone by creating a box out of your foam core. First cut a rectangle that is about 5-7 inches larger that the dimensions of the base of your gravestone. Next, cut 4 more pieces of foam core, 2 long and 2 short to make a frame on top of the base. Glue the pieces to the base and each other. The end result will be the same size as the bottom piece, but will create a gap in the middle that you can snuggly fit your gravestone into. See illustration below.



Drill 3 holes into the bottom of your gravestone. Fill the holes with glue and insert your wooden dowels. Then push the grave stone through the empty rectangle you’ve created in the base. Press down hard enough that the dowels go through the bottom later of foam.




Paint your base using the same method as you did the grave stone.


Secure your finished gravestone to the ground by running garden stakes through the base. 



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