How To Make A Tombstone

Now that your kids are a little older, it’s time to update your Halloween decorations – specifically, put away the funny and cute Halloween characters and bring out the flying ghosts, cackling witches and crawling creatures! Everyone knows no scary, outdoor Halloween theme is complete without a spooky graveyard and what does every graveyard need? Tombstones!

After you’ve mapped out where your graveyard is going to be in your yard and designed a rough sketch as to how you want your graveyard to look, it’s time to start making the tombstones. Tombstones should be placed at the head of each dirt mound in your graveyard. To give your graveyard a tattered look, you can also scatter some broken or cracked tombstones around the yard. Here are some easy steps to show you how to make a tombstone:

Purchase Your Tombstone Supplies
Search around on the internet and get some ideas on what tombstones should look like. Once you have a few ideas, here is what you’ll need to make a tombstone:

  • Foam board, preferably 2″ thick (decide on how many tombstones you want beforehand and how big you want them to be so that you know how much footage to purchase)
  • 1 black permanent marker
  • 1 pint of black Latex paint per every 3 tombstones
  • 1 pint of gray Latex paint per every 3 tombstones
  • Glow paint (if desired)
  • 9″ pieces of rebar, 2 for each tombstone
  • An engraver, a dremel or a razor blade
  • Spotlights

Design The Tombstone
How to Make a TombstoneThis is where you get to be creative. In this step, you will decide on the shape, size, and decorations for the tombstone. If you need a little help determining the shape of your tombstone, download and print out this free tombstone template.

  1. Draw the outline of the tombstone onto the foam board using a black permanent marker.
  2. Design the tombstone by adding a border, a skull, a bat, or anything else you can draw or trace onto the tombstone.
  3. Write a quote or a name on the tombstone. Some possible quotes for tombstones:
    • “Ben Better – 1893-1993″
    • “Flint Stone – Done In By Rubble”
    • “Here Lies Johnny Yeast – Pardon Me For Not Rising”
    • “Yetta Nother – 1442-1507″
    • “Otta B. Alive – 1975-2012″
    • “I. Emma Ghost “
    • “Into The Earth I Shall Be. Keep Off The Grass, And Stop Walking On Me”

Get Carving
With the engraver, dremel, or razor blade, cut the tombstone out of the foam board. Then, using the same sharp tool, trace over all the designs and words that you drew on the tombstone, making them about 1/4″ deep.

Paint The Tombstone
With the black paint, slather the front of the tombstone, making sure there is plenty of paint in all of your engravings. Wipe off the excess paint with an old rag without taking any away from the crevices. Don’t wipe it completely clean, as you want some black streaks on the front of the tombstone. Allow the tombstone to dry completely, perhaps even overnight. Using the gray paint, lightly drag a thin layer over the entire tombstone including the front, back, and sides. If it is so thick that you cannot see the engravings, then wipe it off with an old rag. Trace the engravings with glow-in-the-dark paint so if you add a black light to your graveyard scene, the engravings will glow.

Stake Tombstones Into The Ground
Carefully stick one 9″ rebar piece into each corner of the base of each tombstone so as to “pre-drill” the holes. Measure the distance between the holes. On your lawn, drive one stake halfway into the ground. Using the measurements from above, drive the second stake into the ground there. Push the tombstone down over the rebar.

Light it Up
Add spotlights to some of your tombstones to make them stand out. You can also cover them with fake spider webs, dead flowers, bugs, creepy creatures or anything else that you think would be scary.


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