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Coffins or caskets can be used for a variety of purposes in a haunted house. But, the real thing could be very expensive. That's why you'll want to make your own for hardly any money at all!

Materials Needed:

• (3) 4' x 8' plywood sheets (2 if you don't want a lid on the coffin)
• Paper
• Wood glue
• Screws, 1-5/8"
• Hinge(s) - 1 long piano hinge (48"), or several small hinges (Optional - Only use if you want a lid that swings open)
• Wood plugs (or) wood filler (optional)
• Saw - Circular saw or regular saw

How To Do It:

1. Making The Lid Template: (Optional - If you plan on putting a lid on the coffin, follow these instructions. If not, move on to step 2.) Use paper to create a template for the lid of the coffin. Use large sheets, such as the back of gift wrap paper, or something similar. If you don't have anything large, just use tape to hold smaller sheets together to create a large one. The overall height in your template will be 75.5", and the overall width (at widest point) will be 34". So, make sure your template paper is slightly larger than that, to allow you room to make your markings. Use the figure 1 image below to plot out the measurements of your template. Drawing your template will be easiest if you first draw the 2 perpendicular center lines, defining the height and width. A larger or smaller coffin can be made by simply scaling the dimensions up or down.

Dimensions for your prop coffin template

2. Cutting The Side Pieces: The sides of the coffin will be 12" high. To begin making the sides, cut one of your 4' x 8' sheets of plywood into 4 equal pieces, each measuring 1' x 8'. We will be using 3 of these boards to make the side pieces, to the sizes noted in figure 1, above.

3. From the first 1' x 8' board, cut 1 piece, measuring 59". You should have 37" left over. Do the same for your second 1' x 8' board. You will now have both of your 59" pieces. To make sure your pieces are flush and fit together well, try to cut the ends of your boards on the angles noted in figure 1, above.

5. From the third 1' x 8' board, cut 4 pieces: 24", 18", 18", and 17". You should have 19" left over.

6. Making The Base Template: The base of the coffin will be 3/4" shorter on each side when compared to the top. For the proper measurements, simply subtract 3/4" from each side (1.5" total) from the measurements in Figure 1. This leaves you with 32.5" width in the widest area, and a total height of 74". Draw your template for this piece on another large piece of paper, just like in step 1.

7. Making The Base Panel: Clamp down your base template onto the second 4' x 8' sheet of plywood, in the lower right corner so that the bottom of the template aligns with the bottom of the plywood, and the widest point of the coffin touches the side of the plywood.

8. Use your saw to cut around your template to create your base panel.

9. Making The Lid: (Optional) If you would like a lid on the coffin, place your Lid Template (as described in step 1) over the remaining sheet of plywood so that it fits completely over the wood. Clamp down the template and use your saw to cut around your lid template. You now have your lid.

10. Assembling The Pieces: Before using any glue or screws, simply place the piece together (ie: dry-fitting) as shown in figure 1. This way, you can make sure they fit together properly before gluing and screwing the pieces together.

11. Once you're sure the pieces fit together, use glue or screws to fasten your pieces together (Not the lid, though!) Personally, I would use both. First glue, then add screws.

12. Finishing: (Optional) If there are dents or holes in your plywood, you can use wood plugs or wood filler in them. After this, you can paint and/or decorate the coffin any way you'd like.

13. Attaching The Lid: (Optional) If you're adding a lid, you can now add hinges (or one long hinge) to one of the longest edges (the 59" edges) of the coffin, and attach your lid to it.

Completed Prop Coffin / Casket

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