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.
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
- INDOOR USE ONLY: Black Foam-core Board: 32 x 40 in (I used 4 for 8 large and 4 small tombstones) Hobby Lobby
- OUTDOOR USE: Thin Wood Sheets or Coroplast Corrugated Plastic Sheets
- Heavy Duty Plastic Handle X-Acto Knife
- White Acrylic Paint
- White Sharpie Oil Paint Pen
- Valspar Black Chalkboard Paint
- Krylon Flat Crystal Clear, Paint-Primer (Indoor-Outdoor): 2 Cans
- Wet Wipes
- Paint Brushes & Foam Paint Applicators
- Inkjet Printer
- Gorilla Glue Waterproof Clear Grip Adhesive
Tombstone Design Templates:
Right-click and downoload to grab the images.
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.
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.
Tape the tombstone image together.
Cut the tombstone out around the border. Place the template over the foam and draw an outline of the tombstone.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
As Seen on…
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More Halloween Projects:
- White Pumpkin Wreath
- Eyeball Wreath & Printable Jack O’lantern Face
- Skull Wreath
- Apothecary Jars w/Printable Labels by Domestically Creative
Shop the Post: Halloween Amazon Picks:
- Trick or Treat Outdoor Banners
- Black Lanterns (set of 2)
- 5 ft Poseable Skeleton
- Halloween Plastic Chain
- Jumbo Rats