How to Make a Paper Coffin

Updated April 17, 2017

A paper or papier-mâché coffin is simple to make and can be an unusual Halloween decoration or a creative decoration for a Halloween-themed party. A pale-faced dummy---or a friend disguised as a zombie---can lie in the coffin to complete the illusion and frighten unsuspecting visitors. The items needed to make a papier-mâché coffin are easy to find and inexpensive---cardboard boxes, stacks of newspapers and a bag of flour are probably sitting on your shelves right now.

Prepare the refrigerator box. Use duct tape to tape the flaps of the box shut and tape over any holes in the box.

Lay the box on the ground.

Using your box cutter, cut a line across the top panel of the box, down one side of the box and around the bottom panel. The box should open like a book, with the uncut panel acting as the spine of the book.

Make papier-mâché to cover the coffin by mixing one part flour to one part water inside the 5 gallon bucket. Mix the flour and water with a long stick until the paste is the consistency of thick cream.

Separate the newspaper into individual pages and rip them into 1-inch-wide strips. Each strip should be as long as each page of newspaper.

Dip each strip into the papier-mâché paste, then run the strip between your middle finger and your index finger as you remove it from the bucket to remove excess paste.

Lay each paper strip on the box with each strip slightly overlapping the last. Smooth out the strips with your hands as you work. Cover the entire box.

Leave the box to dry in a dry, cool place. This could take a few days, depending on local humidity. You can speed up the drying process by using fans or blow dryers.

Spray paint the box.


Decorate the coffin by gluing on metal hinges, old-fashioned locks or strips of metallic foil.


Only adults should use box cutters.

Things You'll Need

  • Refrigerator box
  • Duct tape
  • Box cutter
  • Newspapers
  • Warm water
  • 5 gallon bucket
  • Long stick or paint mixer
  • 2.27kg. white baking flour
  • Brown or black spray paint
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About the Author

Since 1998 Alina McKee has written for dozens of traditional and online beauty, fashion, health and parenting publications including, Mama Health and Real Beauty. As a professional artist, her articles about these subjects have been used in magazines and websites around the globe. McKee has a diploma in fine art from Stratford Art School.