How to Build a Coffin From Scratch or From Plans

how to build a coffin

Finding instructions on how to build a coffin isn't that difficult if you know what you want and where to look. Nowadays, with the costs of burials at an all-time high, some are turning to do-it-yourself caskets as a cost-cutting measure. Others, however, are constructs their own coffins so they know their final resting place will be exactly what they envisioned.

Basic Instructions on How to Build a Coffin

The Internet is full of images and diagrams on building coffins, albeit most of them are for props or Halloween gags. To construct a sturdy casket that will withstand the weight of a deceased person's body and the wear and tear of being placed into the ground, one should follow some basic directions:

  • Measure the person for whom the casket is being constructed. One size does not fit all. Include length, shoulder width and feet size (for casket height).
  • Write out your blueprint to include these measurements.
  • Make sure you leave enough additional space so the person rests comfortably inside, as well as leaving room for a lining and personal belongings that may be buried with deceased individual.
  • Purchase enough wood -- cherry, pine or other hardwood -- for the casket as well as the lid. You can also look into purchasing some biodegradable materials if you plan to have a natural burial.
  • For a rectangular casket, cut the lid and base of the burial container the same size. The length and width of the walls should equal those of the lid and base.
  • With 1 5/8-inch screws, attach the walls to the base. Hinges can be used to attach the lid to the bottom-half of the container.
  • Seal the seams and screw holes with wood glue and sealant.
  • Have an experienced seamstress sew a soft casket liner from any type of fabric you choose. That can include silk, cotton or satin.
  • Attach any extras you may want including handles, designs or trim.

Where to Find More Instructions for Caskets

If you need more elaborate directions on how to construct a casket, take a look at these Web sites. You really need to search to decipher between "fake" coffins and those used for real people:

  • Eco Coffins has step-by-step directions for constructing a biodegradable coffin that is ordered through the company. All of the pieces are pre-measured and cut. Only assembly is required.
  • Casket Furniture has a variety of plans available on how to build a coffin. The company also sells kits so you can construct your own at home without having to measure and cut the wood.
  • Bob Vila sells plans for a wood casket. The plans are downloadable and cost $2.29.
  • Shallow Valley has free downloadable and printable plans for a toe-pincher casket.
  • Funny Potato has a diagram on how to turn the panels and sections of a homemade coffin into a bookcase.

If You Aren't Ready to Use Your Casket

Chances are, if you built your casket, you are planning for inevitable demise. But that doesn't mean you can't use your homemade burial container for other uses until your time comes. Although it sounds creepy, some individuals actually use their pre-made casket as a piece of furniture in their homes. Coffins have been known to be used as:

  • Book shelves
  • Coffee tables
  • Props for Halloween (when used with a skeleton inside)
  • Chest to store extra blankets or linens
  • With the addition of glass shelves, you could display your collectibles
  • A "fake" guest bed (if you and your guest have a sense of humor); just add a pillow and a blanket
  • Storage for pretty much anything else. To hide your casket from guests, just cover it with a tablecloth or similar linen. No one will know the difference.

Final Note

Building a casket is not as morbid as one may think. If you are an experienced carpenter and want to save some money when you die and are buried, then this may be the way to go.

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How to Build a Coffin From Scratch or From Plans