While waiting for a professionally-made tombstone, the grave can be marked with a temporary headstone.

In many areas of the world, people purchase or make a temporary headstone to mark a grave while waiting for installation of a professionally-made headstone. The style and size of a temporary headstone depends on a person’s budget and any personal, cultural or religious concerns. One of the quickest and least expensive methods of making a headstone is to use fast-setting concrete and a decorative concrete stepping stone mold typically found at most home improvement, hardware and garden stores.

Lay plastic sheeting across a flat, level work surface.

Wipe, with paper towels, a thin layer of vegetable oil over the entire interior of the concrete mold.

Place your concrete mold--interior facing up--on plastic-protected work surface.

Mix the fast-setting concrete following the instructions on the package. Typically, you will pour dry concrete mix into a bucket, soak with water and then mix with a large trowel or shovel.

Pour the concrete into the mold and then bounce the mold up and down slightly to level out the mix and force any air bubbles to the surface.

Wait for the concrete to set, per the package instructions. Pop the concrete form from the mold by placing a soft, thick towel on your work surface and carefully turning the mold upside down onto the towel.

Decorate the top (or front) surface of the headstone. For example, paint the entire marker, highlight any decorative areas and stencil on the last name of the deceased. Adornments such as a sealed photograph of the deceased or a religious symbol such as a cross can then be affixed with all-weather adhesive.

Things Needed

  • ['Plastic sheeting', 'Flat, level work surface', 'Decorative concrete mold', 'Vegetable oil', 'Paper towels', 'Fast-setting concrete', 'Water', 'Bucket', 'Concrete trowel', 'Shovel (optional)', 'Soft towel', 'Stencils (optional)', 'Stencil paint supplies (optional)', 'Adornments (optional)', 'All-weather adhesive (optional)', 'Sealant (optional)', 'Foil or metal craft kit (optional)']


  • If you use paint to decorate the headstone's surface, apply a sealant to the surface to protect it from outdoor elements that may cause peeling and fading.

    If you don't want to use paint to add the name of the deceased, date of death, etc., to the marker, consider using foil or metal craft supplies. Follow any instructions included with the craft kit to make a plate and then glue it to the surface.

    If the concrete form doesn't immediately pop out of the mold, press the exterior center of the mold, rub the sides with the palm of your hand and then gently shake the mold while holding it approximately a half-inch above the towel.