Terrifying Tombstones


You'll need:
(for each tombstone)

  • Sharp knife
  • Foam, at least 2” thick and 18" x 10-24"
  • Black pen or marker
  • Utility knife
  • Chopstick or blunt end of unsharpened pencil
  • Distressing tools: knives, fork and/or needle-nose pliers
  • Paint brushes; one small with point, one 2" to 3" flat
  • Grey paint
  • 2 1/2" dowels, 2' long
  • Handsaw
  • Hammer
  • Optional: Paint in a darker shade of gray, sponge or rag

1. Use knife to cut tombstone shape out of foam.

2. Using a pen or marker, write an inscription and draw a design (if desired) on front of tombstone.

3. To “engrave” letters, use a utility knife to slice along right side of pen mark at a 45 degree angle, then repeat on left side of pen mark. (Slices should meet in center, leaving a “v”-shaped piece of foam you can remove.) Aim for crooked lines and uneven lettering.

4. When all letters are engraved, drag a chopstick through each "valley" to roughen it up, eliminating any sharp, clean edges.

TIP: If foam chips, it’s fine―the tombstone is supposed to look old.

5. Distress tombstone. Depending on type of foam, you can slice pieces off with a knife, dig into it and pull away pieces with your fingers or needle-nose pliers, or use a fork to scrape away surface of foam. Break off any sharply defined corners of tombstone to give a weather-beaten look).

6. Turn tombstone over and shake out any debris. Using small brush, paint inside each "valley" and over any area you've scraped or broken away. It’s okay if some foam remains unpainted.

7. Using a flat 2” or 3” brush, paint tombstone front, back and sides. If desired, apply a second color for texture, using a sponge, rag, or even your fingers.

8. Use dowels to anchor tombstone in ground. Saw one end of each dowel into a point. Insert pointed ends of dowels straight into bottom of tombstone about 12".

TIP: If a dowel pokes through front or back tombstone, pull it back out and try again. Plug the hole by gluing in a piece of foam.

9. Position tombstone in your yard, and mark where the dowels should go. Remove dowels from tombstone, and hammer pointed ends into ground about one foot. Slide tombstone over the dowels.