Intro: DIY Personalized Tombstones
There’s an air of spookiness about cemeteries, and there’s not Halloween decoration as classic as the personalized graveyard. Buying decorative tombstones from the store can cost you more than you’d like to pay. So why not do it yourself? These DIY tombstones can be customized to your liking, and they're easy to make!.
Just a note for you:
This project is a type of casting technique. Using an oil based clay, you can make impressions into the clay “mold.” When the mold is complete, a special casting material made from a mix of plaster and paper pulp is poured into the mold to create a casting of the mold. The casting material is lightweight, durable and can be sanded and carved when cured. The curing process can take several days, but can be sped up in the oven. Follow the manufacturer’s directions. Because the clay is oil based, it will not dry out can be used over and over again.
Step 1: Materials
Here's what you'll need!
- Blick Carve and Cast.
- An old plastic bowl/large tupperware and spoon for mixing.
- Plastalina (Oil based modeling clay).
- Shallow aluminum tray.
- Krlyon Stone Spray – Granite.
- Baby Doll.
- Plastic letters (optional).
- Various Objects to create impressions – buttons, flowers.
- Pirate Cameo Necklace and Earring Set.
Step 2: Plastalina
Break the plastalina in to approximately 2” pieces. Start by kneading and pressing the pieces into the bottom of the aluminum pan.
Cover the entire bottom of the pan with the plastalina, working hard to knead and smooth the plastalina. The layer of plastalina should be approximately 1/4-1/2” thick.
Step 3: Facial Relief & Impressions
You can use a doll’s head to make a facial relief on the final tombstone. Press the doll’s face firmly into the plastalina, to create a nice deep impression in the plastalina.
Use various items to press impressions in the plastalina. Any letters or numbers will need to be pressed in backwards since the casting is a mirror image of the mold. Trick- You can check your lettering with a mirror to make sure nothing will turn out backwards.
Step 4: Carve and Cast
Mix together the Carve and Cast material following the instructions. We used 2 parts water and 3 parts of the carve and cast. Always add the casting material to the container of water. Stir it together for at least one minute. The consistency will be like oatmeal.
Gently scoop the Carve and Cast over the clay. Once you have covered all the clay with a thin layer of material, gently tap the tray several times on the table to release any air bubbles that might be trapped in the Carve and Cast.
Step 5: Smooth and Wait
Finish filling up the tray with the Carve and Cast. Smooth out the top with the spoon.
Let the Carve and Cast sit for at least 30-45 minutes, or longer. It will be hard to touch but soft enough to smooth out any imperfections. Gently remove the casting from the tray. The casting should pull away from the plastalina smoothly. If you are new to working with this material, you might experience some breakage in your first casting. The best part, is that your mold is reusable. If your first casting breaks, save the pieces to use as broken tombstones in your garden, and make another casting.
Step 6: Curing and Touching Up
Let the casting finish curing. As it cures the casting will become lighter weight and more rigid. This can take several days, but you can speed this up by baking it in an oven at 200 degrees for several hours. Once the casting has cured, you can use sand paper to clean up any rough edges.
For a finishing touch, we sprayed the tombstone with Krylon’s Natural Stone Granite spray. It gave a really nice tone and texture to the piece. Have fun playing with this fun material that lets you personalize your tombstone.