First we constructed a wood base for the tombstone that measured 28" L x 12" W x 12" tall. After this project was completed we found out this was the right size for a head to fit into but a little cramped if you wanted hands also.


We used a Dayton 4RPM AC Gearmotor, item 3M098, that my husband picked up at Grainger for $34 (click here for instructions using a rotiserrie motor). We mounted it on its side to a small sheet of wood and then attached a block of wood to this as a base. This base we screwed into the bottom of the tombstone box. This keeps the motor stable and secure. Make sure you don't screw the motor to the wood sheet too tight or the motor will bind up and not spin.

Using a 3 prong cord that we salvaged from an old refrigerator we wire nutted the motor and cord together

To make the crank shaft we used:

On one end of the L bracket we drilled a hole and placed the hex bolt through it. We then slipped on the 2 nuts, a washer, the angled stock with a hole drilled thought it, a washer and the last two nuts. Make sure the washers are a little loose against the angled stock as it needs some play to rotate. The other end of the L bracket we had to bend shut to make it fit inside the U bolt. We placed the U bolt onto the end of the motor shaft and then the sqeezed end of the L bracket we shoved into the U bolt under the motor shaft. Tighten the cable clamps that are on the U bolt.

Here's how it looks with the motor mounted in place and the crank finished. The free end of the aluminum stock will be sitting in a PVC elbow that's screwed into the lid and this will make the lid rise and fall. We drilled a hole in the back of the box for the motor cord. We placed it a little higher than the motor in case of rain so the water wouldn't run down the cord and ruin the motor. For added protection we put a roof over the motor (not shown).


Finish the base of your stone. Here I glued foam sheets around 3 sides using Liquid Nails. The side where the lid will hinge on I left as plain wood as the lid needs room to open. I painted the inside a flat black. I should have painted it first before installing the motor but forgot. I carved in my saying and where the foam edges meet I used Elmers Wood Filler to fill in the gaps and imperfections, sanding it when it was dry.

We hinged a piece of wood to the box. The lid with the tombstone will attach to this, making it rise and lower. You could also use a sheet of light wood that covers the whole top.


Using a PVC elbow pipe we drilled two holes. These holes will attach to the hinged wood in the above step. We also cut off half the pipe on the opposite side of the holes to allow drilling space.

A view of how the crank works. The elbow PVC is mainly used as a device to hold the aluminum stock up. The stock isn't glued or screwed in - it's just set inside the PVC pipe. When plugged in the motor turns the shaft which rotates the L bracket. The aluminum stock rises and falls. The stock, which is nestled inside the elbow pipe that is attached to the lid, lifts and lowers the lid.


I cut out a lid to fit over the base and made a tombstone to sit on top of the lid. Using a dremel I cut a groove in the lid so the tombstone will fit tightly. I then used Liquid Nails to attach the tombstone to the lid. For instructions on tombstone making please visit Marks Monster List.

Using Elmers Wood Filler I filled it in to smooth out the roughness where the lid and tombstone meet. This is the back side as I want the front to be more decorative.

For the front I used a piece of Caulk Backer Rod Pre-Caulking Material. It's basically a piece of foam round rope. I then painted the stone with gray outdoor latex paint.


I painted a styrofoam head flat black and Liquid Nailed the mask on. You could add LED lights for the eyes but I chose not to. On the top of the head I glued in place a cup hook Using fishing line we tied it to the cup hook and squeezed it closed. We drilled a hole in the lid of the tombstone and ran the line through it. We tied the free end of the fishing line to a screw we had laying around and Liquid Nailed the screw down. I will fill in the hole with Elmers Wood Filler and paint it.

And here it is completed. For added effect we wired a string of blinking red and green X-mas lights to the motor cord. This way the lights and motor are using one cord and work together. The lights are just in a pile on the floor.

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