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Terra's Lair

Hunter's Moon Tombstone: Tutorial

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Hunter's Moon tombstone was made for my latest Secret Reaper victim Lisa48317. On her like list was black cats. That sounded like fun and also an opportunity to try out some fluorescing effects on a tombstone.

Made a video that will help you loads in visualizing the steps needed to make this stone. Please watch:

Note: Please see the previous Captain Daniel, Raven and Revenge tutorials for new techniques that were also done for this stone. See Blackbeard's tutorial for a full build tutorial. This tutorial only focuses on what is specific or new for this stone.

Materials Needed:
Blue or pink 1 1/2" thick foamboard (1/3rd of a board)
Reserved pink snow
22 1/2" x 8" plywood
Printer paper
White caulk
Latex Drylok (gray or tinted gray)
Foamboard glue (Glidden Gripper and Loctite foamboard glue)
Wood filler
1/2" PVC pipe (two 14" pieces - 28" total)
Paper towels
Black exterior latex paint - flat
White exterior latex paint - flat
Black acrylic paint
White acrylic paint
Orange fluorescent paint
Deep Yellow fluorescent paint
Red fluorescent paint
Bright Yellow fluorescent paint
Optical White fluorescent paint
Dishwashing liquid
Raw sienna acrylic paint
Raw umber acrylic paint
Lime green paint (cadmium medium yellow acrylic and chromium oxide green acrylic mixed together)
Moss green paint (cadmium medium yellow acrylic and chromium oxide green acrylic, raw umber acrylic mixed together)
Lichen yellow paint (cadmium medium yellow acrylic and raw umber acrylic mixed together)
Matte Gel medium
Sheet moss
Two 24" rebar rods

Tools Needed:
Jig saw
Face mask
Eye protection
Photoshop-type program loaded on computer
Rasterbator program loaded on computer
Adobe Reader program loaded on computer
Computer printer
Ballpoint pen
Blue painter's tape
Jig saw
Dremel with multi-purpose cutting attachment
Dremel cone sanding attachment
SureForm Shaver
Hot Wire Engraver tool
PVC cutter
Sanding pads
Green scrubby
Small bowl
Drywall sanding sheet
1/4" & 1/2" drill bits
Paint brushes
Paint scraper
eXacto knife with regular blade
Pottery tools
Caulk gun
Hot glue gun
Misc. sized brushes including a 3" and 2" angle brush
Plastic cup
Non-reactive plastic container
Painting tarp
Latex gloves
Ground stakes
Wood planks for leveling (optional)

Cut out Shapes (picture 1): Reminder: If you would like a .jpg image that was used for this cat tombstone - please message me with your email address and I will send it to you. Then you can Rasterbate it and have the same design. Cut out two tombstone shapes and two bases. The layout on the grid paper above shows you the sizes and shapes you'll need.

Trace Epitaph (picture 2): Transfer the design to the pink foam using a pen to heavy handedly retrace the epitaph and cat. Flip paper off for a second and you will see the impression left. Retrace it with your pen. Ignore the moon for now.

Roughen Moon Surface: (picture 3):Use the Stanley SureForm shaver to roughen up the surface of the moon. Place the two sides of the tombstone together and also place the bases on. Continue to shape the moon to the other side of the stone but stop at the backside of the stone. You want to give the impression that the moon curves like a moon should.

Place the design back over the moon. While flipping the paper back off and back on trace where the craters will be. Unfortunately, the stone is roughed up now and you won't be able to see the impression left from the pen - you will have to do this from memory and good guesses. That's why you flip the paper off and on repeatedly. Also, it's doesn't have to be perfect. As long as you have a good representation of the craters you'll be fine.

Acetone Moon(picture 1): Place the stone flat on your worktable. Dabble acetone with a paint brush over the craters and give it a few seconds to react. Go over the areas again but this time with more smooth brushstrokes and let that react. You may have to do this a third time until you start seeing realistic moon craters.

Carve Epitaph (picture 2): Place design back on over moon and cut out 'Hunter's Moon' with an eXacto knife. You are just scoring the epitaph here. Retrace the epitaph with a Sharpie so you can now see it. Keep those cut-out letters handy if you need to remind yourself what the letter looked like. Because of the craters it's easy to lose the shape of the letter. Cut out the epitaph with a Hot Wire Engraver or the Dremel with the cutting attachment. Go ahead and also cut out the rest of the epitaph.

Dremel Tail (picture 1): Set the depth of the Dremel fairly shallow and Dremel the entire area where the tail is. You are trying to recess the tail into the stone to help give it a 3D feel.

Smooth Tail (picture 2): Smooth out the tail with a green scrubby.

Make Paw and Face (picture 1): Cut out the paw and face of the cat from the design paper and trace out the shape onto scrap foam. If you have some 1/2" thick foam scrap - use that for the face. If you don't, carefully slice the thicker foam so it's about 1/2" thick. Sand the face smooth with a green scrubby. Retrace the eyes and then Dremel out to recess them.

Shave away the paw with the SureForm Shaver graduating the thickness from the elbow to the claws. Continue to shape the roundness of the paw. Use a pottery tool and green scrubby to pick out the individual fingers and shape the claws. Keep working on it to get it as realistic as you can.

Glue Together (picture 2): Embed two 14" pieces of PVC into the center of the stones (see previous tutorials) using foamboard glue for the PVC section and Glidden Gripper brushed on both sides evenly for the rest. Tape down with blue tape tightly and weigh down for 2 days to dry.

Glue the base to the plywood bottom that already has the holes cut out for the rebar and tree stakes (see previous tutorials) and then glue the stone to the base all using Glidden Gripper. Insert the stone into the bases also using Glidden Gripper. Weigh down and allow to dry at least two days.

Paperclay Claws (picture 1): Set up a small bowl of water and take a small ball of Paperclay and knead with a bit of water to allow it to become more pliable. Flatten and then wrap around a claw. Dip a wood shaping tool in the water to get wet and then shape the Paperclay so it's smooth over the foam claw. Continue to shape into a pointy claw. Let dry.

Sand Claw (picture 2): Cut out a small circle from the drywall sanding paper. Use that to smooth out the Paperclay and better define the claw.

Room for Paw (not pictured): Place the paw over the base where it will be protruding out. Chunk out the base to make room for the paw but try to keep it as tight as you can. Save those pink foam chunks. You will be using them later.

Egg & Dart (picture 1): Egg and Dart is an old style wall molding and we will be making this as the decoration for the base. Google images of Egg & Dart designs and find one that is pretty simple to replicate. Trace out the outline of the eggs and darts onto the base of the stone.

Carve (picture 2): Tilt your hand holding the Hot Wire Engraver or Dremel with cone sanding attachment at an angle and trace out the egg going deeper towards the outside edges of the eggs. Do this for all the eggs. Then repeat for the bottom of the darts with the deeper edge to the outside.

Shape (picture 3): Straighten the Engraver and re-cut just the outside edges of the egg and darts to better define the edges. Angle the Engraver again and now shape the rest of the body of the dart. Continue to trace out the eggs again to make them deeper and more egg shaped. Keep repeating these steps until you are satisfied with how your egg and darts look. See the video for additional steps that you may want to do to shape the bottom edges of the base. When done with shaping - sand smooth.

Attach Face and Paw: (picture 1): Use broken ends of toothpicks to help hold the face in place when you glue it to the stone. Use Glidden Gripper to glue both the face and the paw in place. Weigh down and allow to dry at least a day.

Glue on Stones: (picture 2): Foamboard glue on those reserved stone pieces you were saving where the paw is breaking free of the stone. Place a large glop of foamboard glue and press on a handful of the stone pieces at the base where the crumbling occurred. Go back over the pile and breathe lightly to see which stones didn't catch onto the glue and pull off. Also glue in some random stones onto the plywood base.

Go back over any glue seams and scrape the excess away to help make it look more like loose stones and not mortared ones.

Acetone, Cracks and Wood Filler Do the acetone treatments, cut out cracks and fill in score lines or seams with wood filler. These steps were explained in previous tombstone tutorials.

Two Coats of Drylok: You are going to paint two coats of Drylok and as usual make sure you leave downward strokes so the grain is vertical. But, change the direction of the grain on the crumbled gravel. Make sure it's all different angles to help sell the idea that this is tumbled stone.

Paint Cat and Moon: Paint the entire moon fluorescent orange. Paint the cat black. Allow to dry fully.

Detail Paint Moon: Look at a reference picture of the moon to see which craters are the deepest. Under black light paint those with red fluorescent paint. Paint the raised sections of the moon with Deep Yellow fluorescent paint in a drybrushing style. Dot and drab the surface of the moon with Bright Yellow fluorescent paint. Pick places where it would be the highest peaks on the mountain or where rocks had skipped across the surface when the moon was impacted. Finally do just a few dots of Optical White fluorescent.

Paint Epitaph & Cracks: This font is very small so use straight flat black paint to have it show better. Also paint in the cracks with the black paint. At spots very near the surface of the crack - paint in the illusion of a crack so in the center between the line and the crack looks to have a tiny 'stone' left behind. This will help to add realism

Paint Black Lines: Paint thin flat black lines at the seams of the crumbled stones. This will help separate and give the illusion that there is space there.

Tea-stain and Accent Colors As explained in previous tutorials - do two sessions of black with raw sienna and raw umber tea-stain with a few drops of dishwashing liquid to help break up the surface tension of the water and allow the tea-stain to really stain the stone. Do not tea-stain the moon. Let dry. Streak some raw sienna (lichen) and paint some hits of lime green when the stone is dry. It will look too vibrant now but it will be toned down after subsequent steps of tea-staining and drybrushing.

Drybrush: Use slightly-grayed white to drybrush the stone again ignoring the moon. Pay good attention to the crumbled gravel to help it stand out more.

Third and Forth Tea-stain: These tea-stains have a little less black but now have a green added to it (cadmium medium yellow, green oxide, raw umber). Also be sure to add in that drop or two of dish washing liquid to help break up the surface tension. You also get a very cool effect with these tea-stain steps. It looks like moldy/mangy slime. The paints also separate a bit where it's pooled up in the holes of the gravel on the base. Use a Q-tip to suck that up and left behind is a cool mud color and texture. Perfect!

Fifth and Sixth Tea-stain: Okay - now we are just gong crazy with tea-stains - but what the heck. Now go back over two more times with just black tea-stain to marry all those colors together.

Light Drybrushing: Hit the areas you had dry-brushed before lightly once again to bring some of the texture back.

Black Cat: Go over the cat again with black but thinned with some water to you can still see some of the weathering effects.

Cracks & Stones: Re-trace those lines you made again with thin black to bring that back.

Eyes: Paint the eyes white and allow to dry. Then paint with the Deep Yellow fluorescent paint.

Claws: Paint the claws white with some raw sienna mixed in. Allow to dry and then accent with some raw sienna with black thinned with water and paint at the base where the claw comes out of the finger. This will help give realism to the claws. Let dry and then paint the claws with some fluorescent Optical White.

Lichen: Mix a dab of raw umber to cadmium yellow in a small cup. Mix in some pink snow and a lot of Matte Gel medium. Dab the mixture on a few place on the stone to give the illusion of lichen growing there. Allow to dry and then sea-sponge a little gray Drylok to help break up the color and add realism.

Moss and Blood: Final touches are some hot-glued moss to the stone and some dribbled down Perma-Blood at the claws. You are done!

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  1. Mr_Chicken's Avatar
    Splendid work, as always!
  2. lis617's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Chicken
    Splendid work, as always!
    Your my hero! )