Upgrade Cheap Halloween Tombstones

How To Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones

Check out this crafty DIY tutorial that teaches you how to make an awesome graveyard using cheap dollar store foam Halloween tombstones.

Give your store-bought props a major upgrade!

Eduardo of Monster Tutorials shows you everything you need to make thicker AND sturdier tombstones for a better-looking graveyard that doesn’t blow away.

Upgrade Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With This DIY Tutorial

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones

Images by Monster Tutorials / YouTube

The idea is to add two extra layers of foam to your cheap Dollar Store Halloween tombstones, and sandwich a stake between the layers for extra support when staking into the ground.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With Extra Foam

The layers can be made with packaging foam…

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Using Packaging Foam

…or sheets of panel foam insulation from Lowes.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With Foam Insulation

Each piece of panel foam is roughly 1/2 inch to 3/4 of an inch thick.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With Foam Sheets

Start by cutting two pieces of foam the exact same length as your original tombstone.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Cutting Foam
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With Insulation Foam
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With Foam Insulation

Mark the outside edges of the original tombstone’s base to find the center.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Finding Center

The center is where you’ll cut a slot for the PCV pipe that will hold your ground stake later on.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones

Measure up from the base about 6 to 8 inches to create a straight line towards the center.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Marking Foam Center

Eduardo is using this heavy grade, hurricane-withstanding piece of rebar that measures 12 inches long!

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Secured with Rebar

With this piece of electrical conduit (instead of PVC because it’s cheaper), you’ll create a sleeve inside the tombstone for the rebar.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Staked with PVC

Slice it at about 6 to 8 inches in length with a hack saw!

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Secured with Conduit
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Staked with Cut Conduit

Put the conduit along the centerline you just drew, and flush along the bottom edge of your foam sheet. Cut a hole around the perimeter.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Reinforced
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones DIY
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Tutorial

Do you see how the pieces will fit together?

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones with Foam Layers
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With Conduit and Foam
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With Conduit Foam and Layers

Now you’re ready to glue it down!

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Layered with Foam

Instead of using heavy-duty glue, use a bathroom silicone. It works great because it dries in only 30 minutes.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Glued With Foam

First, glue the original tombstone to one side of the middle foam board (with the precut hole for the PVC/conduit stake)…

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Glued with Foam Layers

Then flip it over and glue the second foam sheet to the back!

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Glued with Foam and Conduit
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Sandwiched with Foam

Add some weight to your foam sandwich and let it sit for at least 30-45 minutes.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Drying Process

You might want to assign someone to keep a close eye on the drying process…

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With Cats

Once the glue sets, cut around the perimeter of your original Dollar Store Halloween tombstone.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones By Cutting Edges
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones By Cutting Foam

It’s OK if you have imperfections, it’ll look like broken and decaying stone!

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With Imperfections

Take your time, I know you’re just DYING to finish!

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With Weathering
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With Knife

Now it’s time to paint! Choose an exterior, all-weather paint so it withstands the elements.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With Exterior Paint

Eduardo found a gallon marked down in price after someone ordered from Lowes but didn’t like the color!

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With Valspar Duramax

With a brush, get inside all the edges and crevices.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With Paint
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With Exterior Paint

The front and back are looking good so far!

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With Gray Paint
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones By Painting Front and Back

Add some distressing to your tombstone using a spray bottle mixed with 1 cup of water and about 2 spoonfuls of black paint.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones By Distressing

Rest your tombstone standing upwards so the paint drips down for a more authenticly creepy look!

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones By Spraying with Black Paint
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones By Distressing With Black Paint
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones By Painting with Black

See how the paint puddles naturally in the crevices!

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones By Distressing With Spray Paint

For added “weathering” and rust, dab brown, moss green and white paints around the edges with a sponge.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones By Aging and Rusting
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With A Sponge

It helps to tear away pieces of your sponge with a fingernail so the paint doesn’t lay down so evenly.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones With Aged Sponge

Dab your greens and browns towards the bottom of the tombstone where dirt and soil might have splashed for centuries on rainy days in the graveyard!

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones By Sponging Paint

And add white along the edges where time and water have worn away the concrete, exposing fresh layers below.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones By Aging With Sponge Paint

Muahaha – You’re almost through!

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Finished Product

Now it’s time to lay your tombstones out in the graveyard and stake them into the ground!

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones DIY
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Ground Stakes
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Rebar Ground Stakes
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Rebar Support
Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Support Stakes

Get your creepy, candy steelin’, Count Dracula hands out of my graveyard! RIP.

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones For Your Graveyard

Thank you Eduardo for keeping it real (and cheap) for us DIY Halloween Tombstone Haunters!

Upgrade Your Cheap Dollar Store Halloween Tombstones Made By Eduardo

Images by Monster Tutorials / YouTube

Our big thanks to Monster Tutorials again for thinking outside the box on this one!

Feel free to comment below to ask any questions about how to create tombstones like these of your own.

You can share this using the e-mail and social media re-share buttons below. Thanks!

See The Latest: Go Back Home to See Our Latest Halloween Displays.

Frank

Frank

Frank is a contributor and editor for HallowLane.com. He has a passion for learning about and building creative outdoor Halloween displays. We invite you to send in your story and Halloween yard haunt photos so we can re-share and inspire others to get their hands dirty with a project of their own. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *