Spooky DIY Halloween Chalkboard Tombstones

Make these DIY Halloween Chalkboard Tombstones I made from foam core board. Free downloadable tombstone design templates for each style. For more spooky posts see my Halloween Crafting page.

DIY Halloween Chalkboard Tombstone Prop, Black Halloween Chalkboard Tombstone Foam Cut out,

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I have been eyeing Pottery Barn’s Wood Chalkboard Tombstones for a few years now. My former foam Halloween cemetery tombstones were looking pretty shabby and I wanted to make some new ones.

I put off making them because I wanted an easier way to get the same great look of the Pottery Barn wood tombstones without all the hassle of sawing the wood and trying to get the shapes right. Wood cutting is not one of my best skills.

I walked by some giant sheets of black foam core board at Hobby Lobby and literally did the happy dance in the aisle. The only thing was to get them to withstand the elements. So, I did an experiment to see if I could make them withstand the elements outside and hey, it worked! Well at first… read on.

I cut out the shapes using my tombstone design templets (grab those below) with a large heavy-duty X-Acto knife and painted the foam core with latex chalkboard paint.

I painted the accents and words of the chalkboard tombstones with white acrylic paint instead of chalk. Then I applied a spray sealer so they would withstand the elements!

UPDATE: THIS PROJECT ENDED UP BEING AN EPIC FAIL! Too much rain from hurricane Michael ended up ruining the foam core board. I suggest these be cut from thin plywood wood or coroplast corrugated plastic sheets unless you are using them indoors. See the supply list for new materials.

This project has some steps to it, but if you are not into sawing wood like me this is a great way to go. If you want to make them out of wood I have some great templets to use for them too! Lets’ get started!

How to Make Foam Core Chalkboard Tombstones


Tombstone Design Templates:

Right-click and downoload to grab the images.

printable gothic tombstone template,
printable tombstone design templates
halloween tombstone printable
round tombstone template


The first thing you need to do is blow up the images of the tombstones provided above. Right-click each of the images above and download them to your computer.

Go to BlockPosters.com and upload an image. Click “Crop Image” and crop the image close to the tombstone edges. See screenshot.

Make a tombstone with a poster app

Under “customize your poster” on the right click “2 PAGES WIDE”. Accept the terms of service and click create my poster. Download the PDF and print it out.

How to make a Halloween Tombstone, tombstone template,

Tape the tombstone image together.

foam core tombstone cut out

Cut the tombstone out around the border. Place the template over the foam and draw an outline of the tombstone.

the best way to cut foam core, how to cut foam core board

Cut out the tombstone with the X-Acto knife.

TIP: Use a large heavy duty X-Acto knife for foam core. A larger knife will cut smoothly on foam core. The small pointed kind of X-Acto knives will not cut through the foam as well and will leave choppy cuts to the foam. 

paint tombstones wit latex paint

Paint each tombstone, front, back and edges with a thin layer of latex chalkboard paint. Make sure to cover all of the paper and foam edges with the latex paint.

How to keep foam core from warping, How to paint foam core board without warping

Weigh the tombstones down with random objects as they are drying out. Foam core will try to bend or warp when it is wet. I was able to get them to dry nice and flat by weighing them down as they were drying. Let them dry.

Paint chalkboard border on tombstone

Paint the edges of the tombstones with white acrylic paint. I made mine a little messy to simulate the chalky look.

TIP: You have two choices now. You can actually use these as chalkboard tombstones by writing on them with chalk or paint the sayings so they are the same every year. I opted to go ahead and paint the saying on mine.

How to Paint Tombstone Sayings:

Use a text editor like picmonkey.com or Microsoft Word to print out sayings for your tombstones, like RIP, Here lies, etc. You need to size them for the width of your tombstones.

I made mine on sheets sized 11 x 8.5 like a normal sheet of paper and wrote the words within the dimensions.

How to add letter to foam core board, How to Paint Tombstone Sayings

Lay the sheet with the sayings over the foam tombstone and with a pencil go over the outline of the words. Press down to make an indention in the foam.

Stencil on foam core, paint tombstone sayings

Remove the sheet of paper and go over the words with a white Sharpie paint pen within the lines you added via pencil.

You can leave it like this, it actually looks like chalk to me or you could go over it again with acrylic paint to make it a crisper white.

Repeat on all of the tombstones. Let them dry. Spray all tombstones (unless you are using them with only chalk as a chalkboard) with Flat Crystal Clear Paint Primer to seal the paint for weatherproofing. Weight them down again after spraying to prevent warping.

To make your tombstones stand up I used two paint sticks glued with Gorilla Glue Clear Contact Adhesive to the back of the tombstones. Let them dry and stick them into the ground that way!

Do not use hot glue on the paint sticks the glue will release with the heat of the sun.

DIY Halloween Betelgeuse Beetlejuice Tombstone stand up, RIP Chalkboard Tombstone PB Hack

Update: After being out in the elements, I noticed the tombstones near the sprinkler heads did warp a little. It is best to keep them away from direct water pressure. We shall see how well they hold up this season, otherwise I may need o make them out of wood or corrugated plastic sheets.

DIY Pottery Barn Knock off Chalkboard Tombstones, Easy foam core tombstones
Halloween porch Trick or Treat Banners with DIY Chalkboard Tombstones, Beetlejuice Tombstone
Halloween Beetlejuice Tombstone, Betelgeuse Tombstone, DIY tombstone

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halloween graveyard, tombstone templates
easy diy tombstone, tombstone templates

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  1. hi. where did you get the skull and owl.

    1. I got the skull at Walmart many years ago. It is awesome and a perfect replica of a human head skull. Try this skull online here. The owl I am pretty sure I bought at a Harris Teeter Grocery store when they have their October Halloween displays. It has eyes that light up and is solar. Try this owl online here. I hope this helps. Thanks for reading.

  2. Love, love, love these! Thank you so much for sharing this DIY. I’m always looking for cool, inexpensive ways to decorate the porch for Halloween, but don’t like paying the hefty prices they charge at the stores! Have a great one!

    1. I ‘m so glad you liked them. Unfortunately, they didn’t make it through a hurricane. I am going to have to redo them next year.

  3. All of your Halloween decorations on your porch look amazing! The tombstones are the perfect additions! I’ll definitely be including these in my Halloween Decorations Features at Merry Monday next week :)

  4. OH! I just love your Fall porch! So spooky and perfect for Halloween! It helps to have black doors, too… they just tie in with the overall look. Those tombstone signs are the cutest and your instructions are so thorough!


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