How to Make Tombstones Out of Cement

Written by erika marie
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How to Make Tombstones Out of Cement
Create authentic looking tombstones for Halloween using cement. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Even the most manicured lawns look haunting and creepy on Halloween when they feature a graveyard scene. Use concrete to create your own tombstones in various sizes and customise them with inscriptions. Cement gravestones make ideal Halloween decorations because they have enough weight to stay in place and not blow away on a windy autumn day. Use the stones for many years, and create new ones every Halloween to improve your front-yard cemetery.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Butter knife
  • Duct tape
  • Wide tub
  • Sand
  • Resurfacing concrete
  • Heavy-duty trash bag
  • Bucket
  • Wooden paint stirrer
  • Trowel
  • Pointed clay tool

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  1. 1

    Create a mould for the concrete tombstone. Cut two pieces of cardboard to create the sidewalls and one piece for the bottom of the tombstone. The tombstones can be any size as long the walls are deep enough to pour concrete into. Cut a piece of cardboard twice the length of the bottom for the tombstone's rounded top. Score the top piece by dragging the dull end of a butter knife depth-wise across the cardboard and creating deep score lines every inch. Bend the lines to create the curve.

  2. 2

    Tape the cardboard pieces together with duct tape to form the shape of the tombstone. Cover the seams completely with the tape.

  3. 3

    Place the cardboard mould face up into a wide, shallow tub or bin. Make sure the tub is long enough to accommodate the entire tombstone, but allows some extra space on its sides.

  4. 4

    Tape the cardboard mould to the tub. Place strips of duct tape on the bottom edge of the cardboard mould to secure it to the tub. Cover the seams completely with tape. Not only will this hold the mould in place, it will prevent the sand used later in the process from leaking under the mould.

  5. 5

    Pour sand into the tub, around the outside edges of the cardboard mould. Fill the tub with enough sand to cover at least half of the depth of the mold.The weight of the sand will keep the walls stable when you pour the concrete.

  6. 6

    Place a heavy-duty trash bag into the mould, forming it around the shape of the inside of the mould. The trash bag prevents the mould from leaking. Leave some wrinkles in the plastic to create an old tombstone look.

  7. 7

    Mix the concrete in a bucket according to package instructions.

  8. 8

    Pour the concrete into the mould. Stir the concrete mixture inside the mould with a wooden paint stirrer to remove bubbles. Smooth the top with a trowel.

  9. 9

    Allow the concrete to dry to the consistency of clay, and then inscribe lettering into the concrete using a pointed clay tool.

  10. 10

    Dry the tombstone. Allow at least 24 to 36 hours for it to cure. Once the stone is dry, remove it from the mould and peel off the plastic bag.

Tips and warnings

  • Wipe dirt over the stones to give them an aged look.
  • Dry brush green and brown acrylic paints around the bottom edges to create a mossy look.
  • Premade tombstone moulds for concrete are available online.
  • Use caution when working with sharp tools.
  • Allow proper curing time, about 24 to 36 hours, before removing the tombstones from their moulds to avoid breaking them.

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