How to Build a Coffin for a Halloween Skeleton Display - Holidappy - Celebrations
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How to Build a Coffin for a Halloween Skeleton Display

Author:

L.M. Reid is an Irish writer who has published many articles. She makes her own prize winning Halloween decorations and shows you how here.

How to Make a Coffin From Scratch

I have many outdoor Halloween display decorations that I have made myself. This year, I decided to give my skeleton, Percy, a home. So I made a wooden coffin to display him in. I have written step-by-step instructions with lots of photos so that you can make one yourself. So when the kids come trick or treating give them a scare with your own DIY Halloween coffin.

Learn how to make a wooden Coffin for Halloween.

Learn how to make a wooden Coffin for Halloween.

Materials Needed

  1. Wood - one large piece approx. 7 foot by 3 foot.
  2. Enough strips of wood to make the sides
  3. Screws - As many as required
  4. 2 large hooks
  5. Wood glue
  6. Wood preserve paint
  7. Fake blood

Tools Needed

  1. Work table
  2. Screw driver
  3. Hammer
  4. Saw
  5. Tape measure
Here is the basic shape for the back of the coffin.

Here is the basic shape for the back of the coffin.

Making the Coffin

  1. Cut the largest piece of wood to size. My one is seven foot down by three foot across.
  2. Place on your work top and secure it.
  3. Go to the top of the wood and measure out the shape you want.
  4. Saw off the two pieces on either side to create the coffin effect
  5. Go to the bottom of the wood and saw off some wood at an angle to give that tapered look.
  6. I did this for the first coffin I made but left the bottom of the wood in the second one alone.
  7. They are both effective. You can decide which one you prefer when you see the photos here.
Some of the wood I used to construct my coffin decoration

Some of the wood I used to construct my coffin decoration

Making the Sides

  1. Cut the wood to fit the three sides on the top.
  2. Use wood glue to secure each piece.
  3. Put two screws in each piece of wood as well.
  4. Attach the wood to the sides in the same way. I made this with scraps of wood left over from my decking. If you are buying the wood new you only have to use one long piece here.
  5. Secure with wood glue and screws.
  6. Finish off by fixing the last piece of wood at the bottom.
  7. In this coffin, I pushed in some wire to make it look aged.
A view of my coffin decoration in progress

A view of my coffin decoration in progress

How to Make the Coffin Secure

My display involves standing it upright so it needs to be securely attached to another wall.

  1. Turn the coffin upside down and measure two holes about twelve inches down and across evenly apart.
  2. Make holes for large screws.
  3. Attach two strong hooks with screws.
Fake blood adds an additional element of fright to handmade Halloween decorations.

Fake blood adds an additional element of fright to handmade Halloween decorations.

Painting the Coffin

  1. If you plan to use this for your display every year then it is necessary to preserve the wood.
  2. Paint the whole piece back and front with wood preservative.
  3. If you have used new wood you can give it that aged look by mixing in some used tea leaves with the second coat of paint.
  4. I mixed some fake blood which I bought online with water for inside the box and spread some around the edges too.

Attaching the Skeleton Securely

Again for safety reasons your skeleton needs to be attached to the coffin securely.

  1. Lay the box flat and place the skeleton inside.
  2. Drill two holes into the box on either side of the neck.
  3. Do the same on either side of the bottom of the spine.
  4. Use strong wire to thread through the holes in both places and tie at the back.
  5. Put the box on its side and check the knots.

Now that your skeleton is fastened into the coffin properly you need to attach it to the wall securely too. Once that is done your Halloween display is ready to scare all the children when they come trick-or-treating.

More DIY Halloween Displays

Here are some other decorations I've made for my Halloween displays. Each article below includes step-by-step instructions and original process photos. I am ready to scare all the children when they come trick-or-treating—are you?

Percy

I bought the skeleton last year online for Halloween, and we called him Percy. He is very heavy, so we were able to sit him on a bench beside the door, and the kids loved him. There were so many of them wanting a photo with him that I decided to give Percy a better home this year with his new coffin.

This is Percy, my skeleton.

This is Percy, my skeleton.

How to Build a Coffin for Halloween

Comments

L M Reid (author) from Ireland on October 05, 2017:

Thanks and happy Halloween to you too

MomsTreasureChest on October 04, 2017:

What a great Halloween decoration, and you did a wonderful job explaining how to make it with the tutorial and photos. Happy Halloween!