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- Foam Tombstone Construction -

2003

 

I decided this year to give the foam tombstones another shot. Last year I made one but it didn't work out so great. I used the directions on Mourning Cemetery's site as a guide for my new stone. (Mark Butler has a number of additional Tombstone construction sites listed at his MonsterList site.)

My approach:

Step 1) get an idea of what you want to make in mind, cut the basic shape from a piece of blue/pink insulation foam.

I use a free hack-saw blade to cut my forms.

 

Step 2) Trace or draw free-hand any design you wish to carve into the face of the stone. This can include text, cracks, breaks in the stone, whatever makes you happy.

Unlike many I go for non-humorous (or very subtle humor) epitaphs. Most relate somehow to gothic/horror literature/films. (see the example below)

Step 3) Next one needs to carve out the design/lettering.

Lots of the tombstone construction sites talk about using a modified glue gun or hot wire to "carve" epitaphs, I use a Dremmel tool. This takes a steady hand but you can get quite nice effects.

 

Step 4) Next paint the "carved" regions of the stone with flat black paint. Make sure that you don't use an organic solvent-based paint - it will eat right through the foam. Latex-based paints work nicely. By painting in the carved areas you'll add depth to the final stone.

here is how my first stone is progressing. I added some breaks in the stone and cracks. The Epitaph is a nod to the Donald Pleasence character in Halloween.

 

Step 5) Paint entire stone with a flat mid-darkness gray paint. Again avoid organic/oil-based paint. According to Mourning Cemetery you can use organic/oil-based paints after "curing" (covering completely) with a non-organic/oil paint. I haven't done this but chemically it makes sense as long as you completely cover the foam with the first paint, any unpainted areas are definitely at RISK!

 

Step 6) Paint entire stone with a spray-based"stone-texture" paint. Don't worry, the foam is in fact cured now that you've painted it with a coat of none oil-based paint. A light coat is all that is needed.

Step 7) Spray with flat-black paint to "age" the stone. A little does go a long way (as MourningCemetery says!)

 

I'm currently at this stage...will add the rest of the directions as I progress through my construction