Making Halloween Tombstones for the Garden – DIY Guide for a Scary Garden Decoration

What would Halloween be without a garden that gives you goose bumps? Probably a pretty boring one. Here therefore a manual for a creepy gravestone.

Making Halloween gravestones for the garden
© Anna Kucherova –

Throughout the year there are many great celebrations that are especially fun for children. Because then always great Deko is bought, in order to decorate and thus beautify the house and the garden. Many decorations can also be made by yourself. This saves money and is often a lot of fun. Children in particular are very proud of the masterpieces they create later on. Halloween, for example, is a celebration for which you can create many decorative items yourself. For example, you can carve creepy pumpkins and make a spooky gravestone for the front garden. This gives the garden a mystical flair and makes every Halloween party a unique experience.

In the cemetery there are always large gravestones in the form of a cross, small oval and also large square gravestones. Some gravestones are also provided with a saying and other large gravestones are decorated with patterns. To get some inspiration, you can simply have a look at some gravestones on the Internet. There you will find many great models that you can rebuild and put in the garden for Halloween.

This is what you need for a Halloween tombstone

No matter which gravestone you choose, the same materials are always needed. It makes sense to prepare all the required materials in advance. So you can relax and get to work later without having to search for utensils all the time. You need:

  • a thick polystyrene plate
  • Knife with a smooth cutting surface
  • pencil
  • a pen (as thick as possible)
  • a saw or a bread knife (should be serrated)
  • Styrofoam adhesive or hot melt adhesive
  • Spray cans in the colour black
  • Acrylic paints (white, grey, black)
  • brush

You can buy the polystyrene plate at any DIY store for little money. You can also use watercolours instead of acrylic colours. However, you will have to paint the gravestone afterwards to ensure that the paint will hold even in wet conditions.

DIY Guide for a Halloween Tombstone

Step one:

First of all, print out a template for the gravestone. You will find countless variants on the Internet. It is best to start by selecting a template that is not too complicated to rebuild. Later you can increase the difficulty and make more challenging gravestones. Basically, all gravestones are made the same way, regardless of whether you choose a simple or an elaborate gravestone.

Step two:

If you have the template next to you, you should start by drawing the outline of the gravestone with a pencil on the polystyrene plate. If there are several round elements on the template, you can use a saucepan, glasses or plate to help. Working with a compass is of course also possible.

Step three:

Now you can cut the gravestone. You should use the bread knife or the saw for this. With a serrated cut surface the tombstone is cut out in the twinkling of an eye. But since polystyrene causes a lot of dirt, it is best to do this work outdoors.

Step four:

Once you have cut out the tombstone, you can start decorating it. No matter whether you paint on crosses or the lettering RIP – there are no limits to your imagination. This work is best done with a thick felt-tip pen. You can still make corrections at any time now, because as long as the patterns are not yet carved, you can still change the ornaments.

Step five:

Now it is time to carve the painted patterns out of the polystyrene. For this you should use a knife with a smooth cutting surface, such as a cutter knife. The decorations must be carved about 3 centimeters deep into the polystyrene. Here it is important that you work very precisely and precisely.

Step six:

If you are satisfied with the decorations, you can take the spray can with you. Now spray the gravestone completely with black paint. You should make sure that you spray the paint evenly. Spray the paint also into the carved ornaments. This will give you a great effect later on. Once the gravestone has been sprayed, allow the paint to dry for a few hours.

Important: Since vapours rise during this work, you should always carry out this step outdoors.

Step seven:

If the gravestone is dry, you can paint the decorations with the white color a little. Here it depends entirely on the taste whether the decorations should become white or remain black. You can also paint the patterns to your heart’s content. The paint must then dry well again.

Step eight:

To achieve a mystical effect, you can now paint over the entire gravestone with a gray color. It is important that you use very little paint and that the paint does not flow into the patterns. Simply spread the grey colour carefully over the entire gravestone and let it dry well afterwards. To give the tombstone the perfect stone look, you can apply a second layer of paint. Here you can decide whether you want to apply a layer of silver paint or mix grey and white paint.

Step 9:

If the gravestone is dry, you should spray it with a clear varnish to be on the safe side. If you have used acrylic paints, this is not absolutely necessary. The gravestone only needs to be varnished after the use of watercolours. Now the tombstone is ready and can be placed in the garden. Simply dig it into the bed or fix it on a lawn with long nails.

The following is a similar video tutorial:

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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