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Halloween Decoration: How to Make a Wooden Tombstone

Try this beginner woodworking project and turn your front yard into a haunted graveyard.

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Step-by-Step Instructions:

To make this simple project you only need three pieces of wood. Make a bunch of these tombstones and spread them all over your yard. Paint funny epitaphs on each one -- use names like C.U. Later, Ima Goner, Emma Ghost or Wee G. Bord.

Because this project won't remain outdoors for long, it's not necessary to use exterior-rated wood. The lumber list includes stock that is commonly available as craft boards at most home improvement centers.

Project Cut List

Body - 3/4" x 11-3/4" x 23-3/4"
Stake - 3/4" x 1-1/2" x 21"
Step - 3/4" x 3-1/2" x 11-3/4"

This project uses pocket hole joinery in one step.

Create the Body

Use the layout in image 1 (below) as a guide for marking and cutting the body to shape. To mark the rounded end of the body, use either a beam compass or a do-it-yourself compass.

To make your own compass, grab a piece of scrap wood, paint stirrer, or a thin craft board. Cut it roughly 12 inches long. Mark a center line along the length of the board. Drive a 4d nail on a spot on the line near the end of the board (image 2). From the center of the nail, mark a line that matches the length of the radius you need to make - for this project it's 5-7/8". Drill a hole on that mark large enough for a pencil point to fit through the board.

Drive the 4d nail into your radius distance mark on your project piece and draw the radius (image 3). Use a jigsaw to cut off the excess (image 4).

Attach the Stake and Step

Position the stake (image 1) and attach using glue and 1-1/4" deck screws (image 2).

Position the step (image 3) and attach using glue and 1-1/4" pocket-hole screws (image 4).

Add Finishing Touches

Apply the desired finish (image 1). We used Valspar Stone finish spray paint (Manhattan Mist). Allow to dry. Use black paint to add details to the tombstone. When placing the tombstone in your yard, press on the step with your foot to drive the stake into the ground (image 2).

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