Introduction: Headstone

I love Halloween. I loves decorating for Halloween. This year my graveyard headstones were getting a little worn so I did some web searching and found some good ideas and decided to make some new ones.

I made 4 tombstones from the one sheet of foam insulation.

Below is a list of items I used to make these headstones.

1 sheet of blue Styrofoam insulation I found at Lowes. - Any will do just get a thick one so they are as strong as they can be. (Don’t want weak headstones now do we). I also suggest you get one of the big carts that you can lay stuff down on, it is quite cumbersome to walk around Lowes toting this thing around, I almost took out a stock person just trying to turn a corner.

Some black and white latex paint I got a Wal-Mart. I used the kind you paint on with a brush instead of the spray because the last time I used the spray it made a horrible mess of the Styrofoam and melted foam, it did make the headstone have an old misshapen look (because it ate it) but that wasn’t the look I was going for so I went with just the plain old paint this time, not taking any chances.

Small can of wood stain – I went with a mid-color. This stuff is sticky and messy so you will need mineral spirits to clean your brush.

Wood burning kit- so much fun melting the foam, horrible stench though I suggest doing the melting outside if you can. You can do it inside if you want but it might set the smoke alarm off and the person you live with might take offense. The smell does eventually go away. Fortunately my husband can’t smell anything and the smoke alarm stopped wailing by the time he got home so it’s all good.

Various brushes – you know what those are for.

Carbon paper - for tracing your design.

Step 1: Step 1 Cut Your Stuff

I cut my blue foam into 4 equal areas. You can make your smaller or bigger, just do want you want. I went online to Pinterest (my best friend .... right after my husband John of course) below is where I went.

So you can cut these anyway you want.. Saw, knife, etc... my weapon of choice was the wood burning tool (I love this thing). I just marked it with a marker, drew a line and then used the wood burner to cut along the lines. Be careful it is HOT! I know I touched it and it hurts. So I cut the 4 equal areas out. I then chose what I wanted each headstone to be in the shape of. I hand drew the shape of the headstone on each block and then used the wood burning tool again. I kid you not, you are going to love this tool.. I can’t tell you how much fun it was. I didn’t realize I like to melt stuff so much, but I do and I must say I am kind of good at it.

I decided to do 3 stone headstones and one wooden one. So once I cut the 4 headstones out, I then went and hand drew some lines on the one I was doing as wood so that it looked like planks with wood grain. I also added a couple of holes in the wood plank area also. Yep you guessed it, I used the wood burning tool to do this also. Just don't hold it in one place for long or you will get more holes then you want.

Just a few things about the wood buring tool before I move on ... It HOT! I would suggest going for the cheapest one you can find . I got mine at best friend #3

I suggest getting a cheap one because what I found out was that once you have your way with the foam it melts into all the little crevices of the tool and seals the little interchangeable end to the tool and you don't have an interchangeable end anymore.. So get a cheap one and it wont be a big deal.

Step 2: Dolling It Up

Now that you have each of you pieces cut up into the shape you want, it’s time to etch the words and pictures you want onto you headstone foam. I went online found some saying I liked and some images to go with them. I printed the images onto paper the size I wanted them to be on my headstone. I actually printed out what I wanted on 12x18 sized papers. I did this at work, with work paper and used the work printer. I’m not worried about getting fired since I sleep with the boss. If you aren’t willing to sleep with our boss to avoid a stink at work you can just print it on your regular printer at home. Just print the size you want on regular 8x11. It will take multiple pages to get the full wording you want.

I laid the printed paper out in the position I wanted on the
headstone and then used carbon paper under it and then traced it to the

Once you get it traced its time again to use the wood burning
tool..yeah! Just touch the tool lightly to the areas you want to melt the
longer you hold it in place the deeper the etch will be.

Step 3: Painting

Finally done with all the cutting ,burning and etching, now it’s time to Paint.

I wanted 3 stone like headstones and 1 wood headstone.

For the wood headstone I used real wood stain. I painted both sides and gave it 3 coats. I let it dry completely between coats. Once the coats were dry I went back with a smaller brush and went back over the etched areas to make them darker. The stain will settle nicely into the carved lines you put for the wood grain. The bad thing about using this stain is that it is really messy. You will need mineral spirits to clean up the brush and the stain off your hands.

For the stone headstone,, I first mixed the black and white to make a grey color that I liked. I then painted all of the surfaces of (back also) It. It only took two layers. I waited for it to dry then took a dry brush dipped it in white paint brushed it across dry paper a couple of times and lightly painted the surface of the
headstone. This gave it shadows and highlights and made it more dimension. I then went back with the black paint and a smaller brush and painted over the etched areas so they were darker and would stand out more. Easy Peasy.

Step 4: The End

So there ya go, easy, cheap and fun headstones that are a quick turnaround....and you can melt stuff. I think I may have discovered my hidden talent with the foam and burning tool. I bribed my husband into helping me build a cemetery gate out of old wood pallets, and I made stone entrance columns from boxes I had around the house. the only thing left to do if figure out the best way to stick these guys in the ground so they don't keep falling over. I will figure it out and I got ideas about metal tent stakes that might work, wish me luck hope someone finds this useful.

Halloween Decor Contest 2015

Participated in the
Halloween Decor Contest 2015