I haven't published any instructables recently, because what was possible in our condo was just not really suitable to post online in my opinion.
This year, after relocating for work and moving into a bigger house, my daughter and I decided to get some halloween fake tombstones. But the ones you can actually buy don't look that real. They mostly have ornaments that you wouldn't find on real tombstones. With all the left over furniture packaging that we had to get rid of, we finally decided to make our own fake tombstones. We started 3 weeks ago and only worked on 1 day during the weekend on the tombstones. But if you want to follow this instructable, try to at least have 3-5 days available before halloween, because there'll be times you cannot work on the project and rather have to wait for things to thoroughly dry.
This is a fun project for the whole family if precautions are taken so that no one gets hurt when using tools and parts.
Step 1: Tools and Parts
This instructable is rather short as I didn't get too specific with taking pictures. But this project is actually so easy, that a lot of things won't need a lot of explanation.
Things you'll need:
- Left over packaging materials like styrofoam, cardboard
- Sharpie for marking (if you like marking stuff you eyeballed before)
- Duct tape, or any other tape that at least sticks a little to styrofoam without "melting" the styrofoam
- Scissors, cutter, saw blades, screw drivers, etc. basicaly any tool you can use with cardboard or styrofoam
Working with above mentioned tools can cause serious injuries. Be careful when working with sharp tools. If you work with kids, make sure to explain and help in properly working with the tools so that they won't get hurt. If in doubt your kid(s) can handle the tools, do it for them leaving the steps to them you feel confident they can do. And of course, don't hurt yourself ;-)
Things you may have to purchase separately:
Henry feather finish
You can get this at your local home improvement store. I found it in the flooring section. It's used to fix small cracks and holes in concrete floors or to level a floor before you add carpet or hardwood. Be careful when working with it. Gloves and goggles are recommended (especially if you work with kids) and if you are extra careful, you probably want to use a dust mask, too. Please make sure to read the safety and caution instructions before working with the feather finish.
Color, black and white for finishing the tombstones once they feather finish has completely dried.
Step 2: Basic Structure of Tombstones
To get the basic structure of your tombstones, use the tools mentioned in the previous step.
- Use scissors and cutter to cut cardboard parts as needed
- Use cutter or saw to cut styrofoam
- Use cutter, saw blade, screw driver to break away some parts at the edges and front of your styrofoam. This will "improve" the look of your finished tombstones. It'll actually look as if your stone was really weathered.
If you make separate parts (like the cross or frame I used on my tombstone), tape them to the styrofoam in the appropriate places. The tape only needs to hold the parts in place until the feather finish is applied.
My daughter had a blast putting the tombstones together and so did I.
Step 3: "Stone" Your Tombstones
Use the Henry feather finish (or any other similar product that provides a stone texture) to cover the basic structure of your fake tombstones.
Only mix as much of the feather finish as you can actually spread onto your tombstone within about 5-10 minutes. It settles pretty quickly.
Mix the powder with water as described on the package and stir well. Use paint brushes to spread the mixed feather finish in thin layers onto your tombstones.
Make sure to not use too much feather finish at once. It'll take long to dry and where you used extra parts on top of the styrofoam, it may actually cause cracks due to different thicknesses in the feather finish.
Repeat layering until you don't see the styrofoam's or cardboard's structure any more (or the tape you used to fix things onto the styrofoam).
Step 4: Preview of Tombstones
To see if we like what we did so far, we had put the tombstones in front of our house right before dusk.
We thought it turned out pretty good, so we decided to give our tombstones the finishing touch in the next step.
Step 5: Finishing the Tombstones
We used the colors white and black to finish off our tombstones.
Mixing the white and black to different shades of gray and applying the color from the outside inwards with the darker colors on the outside edges gives a look similar to real tombstones.
My daughter and I had a lot of fun doing this project together, and we are curious to see how the neighbors and kids ringing at the front door react to our set up.