Build a Wall

Thank you for your interest in building a Before I Die wall! Each wall is created by passionate people who want to make a space in their community to restore perspective and reflect with one another. If you’d like to build a wall, please read through the information below. It explains the aim of the project and addresses frequently asked questions. Then download our online kit of resources below, which includes a checklist of materials, a step-by-step guide, and options to buy readymade stencils as well as templates to create your own.



The Spirit of the Project

The Before I Die project is free for everyone to use. We ask that you follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Be free. A Before I Die wall should be accessible for everyone.
  • No logos. A Before I Die wall should offer passersby a much-needed break from the messages in our public spaces which are trying to sell us something. This space for contemplating mortality and the nature of a life well-lived should be free of logos, slogans, website addresses, hashtags, etc. However, you are welcome to include a small placard next to your wall that tells passersby that you built it, and this might be a good place to include your hashtags, handles, and internet stations, if needed. (You’ll find a sample placard in the toolkit.)
  • Please keep the word ‘die’ in Before I Die. There’s a lot of superstition and anxiety around the language of death, and we’ve seen many walls which have replaced “before I die” with something more oblique and gentle, such as “while I’m still alive.” While these variations are worthy exercises and you’re free to make any kind of wall you like, they are not Before I Die walls. A key part of our mission is to remove the stigma of discussing death and to help inject conversations about mortality into a visual landscape that is preoccupied with instant gratification, youth, and distraction. When we become comfortable talking honestly and directly about death, we can help change the culture around it, from one that is full of death denial to one where we confront mortality in a way that compassionately prepares us as individuals and as a community.


Frequent Questions

How do I make a Before I Die wall?

Download our resources below to help you get started. This folder includes a step-by-step guide, a list of the materials you’ll need, and options to purchase readymade stencils or templates so you can make your own.

Can I use the Before I Die project to promote my product, organization, event, hospice, service, or conference?

The Before I Die wall was not intended to be an open-source marketing tool or a free replacement for a well-considered public engagement campaign that is specific to your company, conference, service, or organization. If you’re interested in partnering with us to create something like this, please get in touch and let us know what you have in mind.

Can I put my logo on the wall?

No. This space for contemplating mortality and the nature of a life well-lived should be free of logos, slogans, website addresses, hashtags, etc. But you’re welcome to include a sign next to your wall that tells passersby that you built it, and this might be a good place to include your credits, logo, and internet stations, if needed. (You’ll find a sample placard in the Before I Die resources below.)

Can I create a remix of this project that uses a different prompt than 'Before I die'?

Our focus is on supporting conversations about mortality and emotional health in public space, but you’re welcome to create a different prompt that is unaffiliated with our project. If it’s helpful, you can download our resources below to learn how to create a wall, and we hope you will mention that your project was inspired by the Before I Die project.

How do I get permission from my community to make a Before I Die wall?

Every city and town has different rules around public art. It’s helpful to begin by getting the blessing of people who live and work around your proposed site. It can also be helpful to speak to or partner with a local organization or institution that may have experience getting permission to install things in public space. We have included a letter of support at the end of the Before I Die guide that explains the intentions of the project and can be used if needed to help gain permission.

Will my wall be featured on the Before I Die website?

With over four thousand walls created to date, and dozens more created each month, we’re unable to create and maintain an online presence for every wall. We occasionally share images of new walls that use the project typeface and layout, and we try our best to represent a range of locations, languages, and reasons that individuals have created a wall.

We always love to see photos of the walls that have been created, so we hope you will share the story of your wall with us, and we encourage you to share your wall through your own networks and create your own online presence for your wall.

How can I find out if a Before I Die wall is currently in a particular city?

Most Before I Die walls are temporary installations, and with dozens of new walls appearing each month, we’re unable to keep track of the status of each wall. If you know the organization or individual who created the wall you’re searching for, it might be helpful to get in touch with them directly.



Before I Die is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. You may not use the Before I Die project for commercial or marketing purposes.

Creative Commons License

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