How to Build Grave Markers out of Cement

Written by sue stepp
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How to Build Grave Markers out of Cement
Make your own grave markers out of cement. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

People have different reasons for making grave markers out of cement. Some want to decorate their home for Halloween, some use them to remember deceased pets and some make grave markers for friends or loved ones. Making a grave marker is simple, but the process takes several hours, as the concrete needs to set completely.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 6 feet of 1- by 4-inch wooden plank
  • Tape measure
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Several 8-penny nails
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Cement
  • Plastic mixing tub
  • Water
  • Trowel
  • Yardstick
  • Press-in letters
  • Dowel
  • Rasp

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  1. 1

    Saw the plank into four pieces: two that are 2 feet long, and two that are 1 foot long. Nail them together in the shape of a rectangle.

  2. 2

    Lay the frame on a flat, level sandy area. If it has any gaps where concrete might leak out, pack sand there on the outside of the frame.

  3. 3

    Put on the gloves and safety glasses. Mix enough concrete to fill a 2-square-foot area 4 inches deep. Look at the back of the cement package for the correct amount, and follow the manufacturer's mixing instructions. Fill the frame with the concrete, and level off the top with the trowel. Let it set until it is firm.

  4. 4

    Use the dowel like a pencil to write the grave marker's words into the concrete. If you make a mistake, sprinkle a little water on that area, and smooth out the concrete with the trowel. Let the grave marker set overnight.

  5. 5

    Remove the grave marker from the frame by lightly tapping the marker's perimeter on the back side until the marker drops out of the frame. If the outer edge has rough spots or excess concrete, break them off with the hammer or file them off with the rasp.

Tips and warnings

  • To make the grave marker stand up, dig a hole 6 inches deep and slightly bigger than the marker's base. Put the marker in the hole and pack the loose dirt around the base until it fills in the hole. Tamp down the dirt to secure the grave marker.
  • For a more professional-looking tombstone, use the yardstick as a guide to keep the lettering level. You can also use press-in letters; when you pull them out of the concrete, the impression will remain.
  • Follow the safety warnings on the cement bag.

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