How to design your own gravestone

Written by ryn gargulinski
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How to design your own gravestone
Texas gravestone (Photo by Ryn Gargulinski)

Designing your own gravestone may seem like a depressing or morbid task, but it can actually be quite useful. If you design it yourself, and even put an order in with the company that will make it, the gravestone will be one less thing your loved ones will have to think about at their time of grief. Designing your own gravestone also gives you a chance to personalise it the way you wish.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Decide on any images. Today's gravestones have a wide array of image options. These include one or more photos of the deceased, etchings of scrolls, flowers, a portrait or other illustrations. Angels, religious icons or symbols are other options.

  2. 2

    Pick the text and font. The gravestone will state your name as well as date of birth and death. You can also include a word, phrase, favourite quote or funny saying. Decide on the mood you want to project by both the wording and the fonts. You can review different fonts by looking at the font selection on most word processing programs or looking online (see Resources).

  3. 3

    Opt for a size that will accommodate what you've chosen. If you only want your name and a small scroll, the gravestone need not be all that large. If you've chosen an engraving of an angel, bordered by a photo of you as a baby on one side and an old man on the other, raised lettering with your name and favourite Winston Churchill quote, you will need a much bigger stone.

  4. 4

    Choose any extras. Here's where you can pick the colour, material and any additional embellishments. Gravestones are most commonly made of marble or granite, with the former being the costlier of the two.

  5. 5

    Sketch your design on paper. Draw an outline of the size and shape gravestone you've chosen and fill in the text and illustrations. Play around with it to make sure you are happy with your choice. Also take your time, sleep on it, to really ensure this is how you want your gravestone. Picking a final memento as the lasting mark that you existed should neither be a rash nor rushed activity.

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