How to make homemade cement memorial tombstones

Written by jennifer young
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How to make homemade cement memorial tombstones
You can make your own tombstone to cut burial costs. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Memorial tombstones are typically used to mark burial plots. They can be laid in the ground, placed in an upright position at the head of the plot or mounted on crypts or mausoleums. Tombstones can be made of a variety of materials to include concrete, granite or marble. Tombstones contribute extensively to the cost of burials and funeral services. You can make a memorial tombstone for a new grave site or to mark sites where the original marker may be unreadable, weathered or broken.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 36.3kg bag of mortar mix
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Circular Saw
  • 2 inch x 4 inch lumber
  • Wood screws
  • Drill
  • Stamp letters
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Large bucket or trough
  • Water
  • Stirring stick
  • Shovel
  • Trowel
  • Nails
  • String
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Measure and mark two 21-inch pieces and two 16-inch pieces of the 2 x 4 lumber. Cut the lumber on the marks with the circular saw.

  2. 2

    Form a rectangle with the four pieces of lumber. Secure the edges together with screws and the drill.

  3. 3

    Lay a piece of plastic sheeting on a flat, solid surface. Place the rectangle form on top of the plastic sheeting.

  4. 4

    Arrange the stamped letters to form the individual's name, date of birth, date of death and any special message. Make sure that the letter will fit inside the frame and be spaced evenly. Lay all of the stamped letters to the side.

  5. 5

    Pour the mortar mix into the large bucket or trough. Slowly add water. Stir the mixture until it reaches the consistency of thick peanut butter.

  6. 6

    Shovel the mortar mixture into the frame. Smooth and level the surface of the mixture in the frame with a trowel.

  7. 7

    Hammer all around the edges of the frame to make sure that the mortar mix spreads throughout the entire frame without any bubbles or open spaces. Smooth and level the surface again.

  8. 8

    Place nails along all four frame edges approximately two inches apart. Tie string to the nails and run them horizontally and vertically to form two inch squares over the surface of the frame.

  9. 9

    Dip each of the stamped letters in water and lay them on top of the mortar mix using the square guidelines formed in step 8. Press the letter into the mix until the base is flush with the surface. Remove each letter and wash immediately in a bucket of water.

  10. 10

    Allow the mix to dry for two days. Unscrew the frame and remove the boards around the cured mix. Stand the tombstone on one edge to allow any remaining water to evaporate.

  11. 11

    Allow the tombstone to dry for another five days before moving the tombstone to the burial area. Observe cemetery regulations and local ordinances.

Tips and warnings

  • Rebar, wire mesh or fibreglass can be cut and laid inside the frame to strengthen the cured mortar mixture. Shove a small amount of mixture into the frame before adding the structural supports to hide the supports in the finished piece.

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