How to Make Tombstones Out of Barnwood

As a child, I knew Halloween was nearing quickly when my parents got out the old tombstones.  My father was our assigned household painter.  Every Halloween season he would paint faces on pumpkins and ‘endearments’ on tombstones.  Of course I would want nothing less for my child growing up, so I created several for display at our home.  Here’s the ‘How-To’ for another cheap and easy project {my favorite kind!}.

Materials Needed:

  • Barnwood, or some other kind of old distressed wood (heck, even low-grade plywood will do the trick – just allow it to weather, or use artistic means to distress it).
  • Black paint
  • Small paint brush, about 1 inch or less depending on your preference
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Steak
  • Mallet

FYIIf opting to use barn wood, bear in mind weak spots in the wood as you are creating your tombstones.  If there is a large crack, or weaker area that falls towards the center of the board, you may want to reconsider the placement of that template.  If they do not split in half after pounding them into the ground, they surely will after one season outside in the elements.  That’s not to say they can’t be glued back together, but just trying to save you some time. 😉

1. Draw out shapes for your tombstones on the wood you’re using.  They do not have to be perfect {by any stretch of the imagination!}.

2. Using a jig saw, carefully bring your 2 dimensional drawings to life by cutting them out.

3. Attach stakes to back of signs with screws.  You want to make this very sturdy.

4. Utilize the magic of paint and add your ‘endearments.’  Some I have were made up by my father, and others were found online.  There are several websites available with humorous sayings for Halloween tombstones.

5. With a rubber mallet, pound signs into ground where you want them displayed.

These will provide years of fun for family and friends.  Every year my friends would always go around the yard reading each and every one – each one provoking a little chuckle or smile.  Another project which uses these tombstones can be found here.

Come back tomorrow to learn how to make another easy and versatile Halloween arrangement.

Happy Haunting,


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