How to make a Halloween coffin from cardboard

Updated November 22, 2016

To decorate your yard for Halloween tricker-treaters or the inside of your home for a casual costume party, many people make a coffin to create or add to a spooky decor While you’ll want to make your Halloween coffin to fit the size you need, you can create a fairly realistic looking coffin from cardboard, which can be discarded after this year’s events or stored for years to come.

Determine the length and width of your coffin for a basic rectangular “pine box” style coffin. Measure and mark the cardboard to cut out a piece to be the coffin lid and set it aside for later. If you are going to use a back on the coffin, cut out a second piece this size.

Cut out two pieces of cardboard for the sides of your coffin a foot wide by the length you determined in step one. Cut two more pieces of cardboard to be the top and bottom sides one foot by the coffin width from Step 1.

Stand up the top piece perpendicular to a side piece, both a foot tall, and butt the two ends together. Tape the two together along the joint where they connect with masking tape until it is secure enough to hold. Add the bottom piece followed by the other side and tape each joint from the inside until the basic rectangular shape is complete.

Set your back piece on the ground, if using one, and set the rectangle of the coffin body over the back piece. Tape along the base of the rectangular body on the inside to connect it to the back piece and secure it.

Draw lines with permanent marker to make the coffin look like it is made of wooden planks. Include dots to be nail heads as well as add thin lines to reflect a wood grain or cracks from the wood splitting.

Use paint as desired to darken the colours of the cardboard to grey or darker brown. You can also add touches of black to show age around the base of corners of the coffin. If the inside of the coffin will be seen in your display, paint the interior black or a deep red or purple.


If you are going to have someone inside the coffin for scaring others, be sure to include some type of handle of rope or string on the inside of the lid so they can easily pop out and close themselves back in. For added affect, polystyrene foam crosses, angels or skulls can be glued to the lid so long as it fits the look and size of the coffin.

Things You'll Need

  • Large pieces of cardboard
  • Tape measure or metre stick
  • Pencil
  • Scissors or box cutter
  • Masking tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Paint
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