Spooky Spooky Cemetery

October 20, 2017


I'm so excited to share this post with you all today!  Last year at Halloween our house was pretty boring and I wanted to do a little something extra this year.  We have a small courtyard at the front of our house and I always thought one year it would be cool to make a little haunted house leading up to the front door but I really have no idea how to go about that so I thought I would start with something a little simpler.  A spooky little cemetery.  Since this was a cheap DIY project I knew I needed an anchor piece, immediately I thought of a mausoleum.  A mausoleum is an above ground tomb.  


(Photo I took of a New Orleans Mausoleum during a trip I took years ago)


Of course I went to pinterest and started searching for DIY halloween decor, there really wasn't much, I had an idea in my head and wasn't seeing anything.  I came across a lot of tombstones made of cheap plywood or styrofoam.  I wanted to just use stuff I already had at home and if I did wood I'd probably need my husbands help and even the styrofoam comes in ginormous pieces and figuring out getting either home...I was ready to shelf the idea.  I was getting rid of some old boxes when it hit me, I should just use these!  Worst case scenario they look horrible and it's no money lost.  


(Photo I took of a New Orleans Mausoleum during a trip I took years ago)


I gathered up similar size boxes (thanks Nordstrom for usually sending me the same size box) and my husband had just moved office buildings and had some furniture delivered, so he saved me a huge tall box.  The idea in my head was a couple tombstones and a big mausoleum.  Years back I visited New Orleans and that's what they have due to sea level and all, but these things were crazy cool, so ornate, but super duper spooky too - which is perfect for the theme. My eyes kept playing tricks on me, I'd say "look! I saw a shadow moving!", pretty sure it was trees and such.  Nonetheless a fun trip.



Before taping up the boxes I used ziploc bags filled with sand (from my kids sandbox, perfect right?) to use as anchors so they wouldn't topple over.  Just put them in the box and your good to go.  I taped up the boxes with masking tape just so there weren't a lot of open seams.  I used some craft foam I had on hand to make the tombstone words, it's actually for little craft projects with my kids but I used the ugliest color I didn't need since I was just going to paint over it anyway.  I used my plastic stencils to trace the letters and numbers.  For the skull I used a round lid to make the shape of the head and the sides of the mouth.  Simple Elmer's glue to adhere the foam to the boxes.



My first coat of paint for the tombstones was with the cheapest grey spray paint I could find at Lowes, $3 and some odd cents.  I gave all four tombstones one solid coat of this and let it dry a couple days.



My mom gave me a box she had recently got from Amazon, and it was the PERFECT shape for the bottom of the mausoleum.  I rolled packing tape into a double sided tape and taped it to the bottom of my giant box.  I taped the flaps of the giant box up, to make the mausoleum taller.  (pictured below you can see the sand bags I made).  I threw the sand bags in the bottom of the big old box.  



For the top arch of the mausoleum, I used a smaller box and left the two adjoining already folded edges together, why do more work when this was the perfect roof!  I taped it to the sides to hold it in place, on both sides, inside and out.  Next I used the other side of that box to cut out two long rectangles to fill in the v-shape.  From there I took an exacto knife and cut out a big rectangle shape, this is the opening and taped everything together. 



For the first coat of paint on the mausoleum I used some white chalk paint I had on hand watered down a ton, about a 1:4 paint/water ratio and painted it on.  I brushed a little on the tombstones too. At this stage it was fairly light.  Next I added some grey chalk paint I had on hand and repeated the same thing.  In the cracks and on the edges I made sure to go over it heavier vs a light sweep.



The third coat was a mixture of black paint (I picked up at walmart, just regular craft paint) to water, about 1:3 ratio.  Again, I went over the cracks and edges with emphasis.  I tried to create some shadowing around the edges.  I went back over those same edges with a 1:1 ratio of black paint and water to really emphasize and make it look old.  


I used the same mixture and the leftover grey wash on the inside of the mausoleum.  There was a bug in there so my son helped me paint that part, ha! Thanks Colin, he really took one for the team (I hate bugs).  We finished the look off with some chains and spiders we found at the dollar store and some skeleton hands and spider webs I got earlier in the month from Michaels.  The final touches were a strobe light (michaels) and a hanging spooky guy (dollar store).  



I haven't decided if I am going to move this to the front yard (since it turned out so cool) or else I would have draped it in cob webs!   Check out the slideshow below for some step-by-step photos on how I created this.  Save some boxes and use up all your excess paint to create this spooky spooky (colin's words) cemetery at your house!  It's sure to give the trick or treaters a fright.



Supplies Needed:

Assortment of different shaped boxes



White, grey and black paint


Ziploc bag and sand or rocks, whatever you have on hand

Creepy props, spiders, rats, skulls, etc

Strobe light (not pictured)


Let me know what you think guys!






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Welcome to

Modern Crumb!

Thanks for stopping by.  I'm Tara.  Food fan, avid crafter and pizza lover extraordinaire.  I'm a wife and a mom of two kids.  

Modern Crumb is a food blog that shares delicious and easy family friendly recipes that everyone wants to eat!





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