Halloween Forum banner

1 - 20 of 209 Posts

8,310 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Okay, here is the promised Beloved Tutorial.

I tried my hand at making the Beloved Tombstone by somewhat using the instructions at Haunted Webby - Alice Tombstone. I got additional ideas from Kevin at Brewster's Yard haunt at Brewster Yard Haunt: New Props. From what I can gather, the Beloved Tombstone was created by http://www.castleblood.com/scrap/1999_Carpe_Noctem/1999.html. If anyone knows more history about this great idea, please let me know.

Okay, so you've decided to tackle this daunting project. KUDOS! I thoroughly enjoyed working on her in my spare time and I'm sure you will too.

You will need:

One and a quarter sheet of 4'X 8', 1 1/2" thick blue or pink foamboard
Fancy thrift store small-sized dress with a train, high neck and sleeves
Med curly long wig (seduction wig)
Mannequin styrofoam head: also known as a wig stand
3-4 tubes of foamboard adhesive
Can of cheap flat spray paint
Monster mud (4 gal drywall compound mixed with 1 gal exterior flat gray paint)
1 gal gray Drylok, latex base
1 qt. exterior flat dark gray paint
1 qt. exterior flat white paint
Small tube raw umber acrylic paint
Chicken wire
Scraps of muslin fabric or sheet fabric
1 roll mesh drywall tape
Some wire (I used 16 gauge)
Pkg. model magic
10 pipe cleaners
1-2 tubes exterior caulk
4' X 2' plywood board
Elmer's wood putty
Bag of moss
Set of flicker lights (see my tutorial)

Dremel with cutter attachment and multipurpose cutting bit
Jig saw
3" brush, 1 1/2 inch angled brush, small and large detail brush
Drywall mixer attachment and drill
Caulk gun
Microplane rasps (used for woodworking)

To make the stone: I didn't take measurements as I made this so hopefully these measurements will work (PM if you find I'm off a bit). Using your jig saw, cut the following out of your foamboard:

Front: 28" X 28"
Back: 28" X 28"
Top: 31" X 18"
Bottom: 28" X 18"
Side A: 29" X18"
Side B: 29" X 18"
T-Brace side A: 28 1/2 " X 12"
T-Brace side B: 28 1/2 " X 12"
T-Brace center: 15" X 15"

In the first picture you will get an idea of what you are building. You are building a box with a center support. First cut out, with your Dremel, a 1/2" deep channel in the T-Brace sides so the T-Brace center will snug up into it. Glue together with foamboard adhesive.

Using the assembled T-Brace, trace out onto the inside bottom of the box. Cut another 1/2" channel with the Dremel. Glue in place.

Start to assemble, but do not glue yet, the box (use painter's tape to hold in place). Be sure that the top of the box is being nicely supported. File down if needed.

Before gluing the box together, cut out your epitaph on the front foam.

In 'Word' find the font and size you like. Then go under the format tools and select 'emboss' to just outline the font and then go under 'spacing' and make the space between the letters bigger. If the words were too big to fit on one page, still print it but tape the letters together. Place it over the tombstone and transfer the drawing by tracing over the outline with a pen. It would leave an impression on the foam. Remove the paper and make a clearer line with the pen.

Use the Dremel with the multi-purpose cutting attachment to cut out. For very small or detailed fonts, go shallower. If not, the centers of 'e' , 'o' and 'a' would flake off.

Now you can glue your box all together. Don't worry if your cuts aren't perfect, that's what the wood putty is for :). Glue with foamboard adhesive and hold all together with painter's tape and weigh down. Let dry overnight. Repeat if some sides still need to be glued down (I had to turn over the box two additional times).

File down using your rasps to make it look more like aged stone. Also, make it rough and old using the rasps. Then, fill any open seams with wood putty.

Now, the fun part. Take outside and hit it hard with strong sprays of cheap, flat spray paint. You are trying to get the dissolving effect when spray paint touches raw foam.

First off, I wanted her to be a very small woman. So, her scale is more like the size of a 14-year-old girl. I thought that would look more feminine and the stone could be smaller-sized.

Take your small dress and place on the stone to see how your pose will look. For mine, I had her resting her head on her right hand and her left arm was hanging down over the stone (like she was sleeping).

For her left arm, measure the sleeve from the shoulder to the wrist to see how long her arm needs to be. Cut out a section of chicken wire to that length. Then roll up and hold together with some wire. For the upper part of her arm, cut out another section of chicken wire and roll that around the top part of her arm. Hold together and give shape by wrapping mesh drywall tape around it. Bend the arm at her elbow to your desired position.

Wrap the muslin or sheet fabric around the arm and hold in place with the mesh drywall tape.

Do the same procedure for her right arm and torso. In the last picture, you can see her taking shape. I didn't tie her arms to the torso because the dress will hold them in place and you need the flexibility.


8,310 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)

To help her stay in the correct angle on the stone, I glued a piece of foam on the top of the stone.

Prop her up so you can see how big you need to make the plywood for her base. In the picture you will see that I had the train of her dress down. I decided after I took this picture that I like the cascading effect of her train up better.

Here, you can see the plywood base better. Using foamboard adhesive, glue the stone to the plywood really good. Let dry overnight and then give it it's first coat of gray Drylok. Let dry overnight again.

Prepare to get really messy. I wanted a thinner monster mud mix so I mixed 3 gallons of drywall compound with 1 gallon of exterior gray flat paint. YOU WILL NEED A DRYWALL MIXER ATTACHMENT! Mix and mix and mix....

Now, put on your painting clothes and don some rubber gloves:
Slather some monster mud into the sleeve of her dress and spread around so it is coated. Then, coat her arm and insert into the sleeve. Repeat for the other arm. Repeat again for the torso and then again for her head. Zip up the dress. Now, coat the outside of the sleeves and bodice of her dress. Okay, top half is done.

Pull up her dress until you get to the inside layer. Slather on and coat the mud onto the inside layer (both sides) and then the outside layer. I realized that when I got to her outside layer, it was easier if I propped her up on the stone and I sat on the floor so I could painstakingly rub in the monster mud into the toile and sheer lace so it got completely coated but still kept some of the details of her dress. The whole process took about 3 hours and would be tough to take a break (you will get dirty) so plan ahead. Now, go have a glass of wine!

For the skeletal hands: Trace out your hand on a piece of paper. Then Google a picture of a skeleton hand and draw out the structure of the bones onto your drawing. Shrink down the image to match her size. Then place wire to the lengths of the five fingers. Tape to hold in place. Wrap a pipe cleaner around each finger so the Model Magic will have something to grab onto. Using your hand as a model bend into your desired shape. In the picture, this is the hand she will be resting her head on.

Grab a finger-sized piece of Model Magic and smash onto a finger and squish down and shape to resemble bone. Do that for the whole hand. Let dry overnight. Stick into some leftover foam and coat with Drylok. Let dry and do another coat.

Attach her hand with wire to the inside of her sleeve or arm (whatever works).

Whoo hoo! Fun with monster mud again ;) First, brush out the wig so there are no tangles. Don the rubber gloves and dip the wig into the monster mud and squeeze out the extra. Fit onto her head.

Now, the hard part: To get her curls to come back you have to reform them piece by never-ending piece. Flip all the hair up and separate out the bottom layer of the wig. You will see that bottom layer because that's how they make wigs, layer by layer. Take a section of that layer and make a curl and put in place. Keep doing that until you finish the layer. Then get another layer and repeat, repeat, repeat....There must be about 12 or so layers (depends on the wig). By the way, the wig I used is called the Seduction wig and it doesn't matter what the color is.

Now do your first coat of Drylok on her (do the tombstone again as well). Take your time here. You want to make sure you get all the monster mud covered. But don't worry too much, you get to do two more coats of Drylok :) The reasons you want to do a total of three coats is to stiffen her up, make sure she is water-proof and the thicker the paint, the more she looks like stone. Let dry overnight between each coat.


8,310 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)

Even after three coats of Drylok, her hair still has lots of openings that rain could get in. So, I plugged them up with paper towels (you could also use caulk) and then put several more coats of Drylok over that. I'm warning you...you will get sick of Drylok by this point.

Painting dark crevices and epitaph: Using a small detail brush and dark gray exterior paint, paint the inside of the epitaph. Using a larger detail brush, paint the crevices but also feather out to the edges.

Next: Detail aging painting. I also call this 'tea-staining.' Water down your dark gray exterior paint. Using your angle brush, roughly drip the paint over the top of the tombstone and help brush it down. Do it over and over again until you like the look. You are trying to make it look like this stone has been in the weather forever.

Dry-brushing: This is the miracle step. Get a dry 3-inch brush and dip it in slightly-grayed white exterior flat paint. Brush it dry on a paper towel. Then lightly brush the entire tombstone. This will paint only the raised edges of the tombstone and you will be amazed at the transformation. Instantly your tombstone will look like real stone.

Make it ancient: Raw Sienna is the perfect orangy color to add a rust-colored lichen look. Have some of the paint straight and have some of it lightly mixed with the white and dark exterior flat paint. Using the angled brush, dry-brush paint streaks down some areas of the tombstone. Switch it up with the lighter paint to add depth.

Make it more ancient: To add a white-lichen look, put some of the white exterior flat paint on your pallet and very, very slightly darken it with some of your dark gray paint. Get a rag and dip it into the paint and dry off a bit on a paper towel. Then hit the tombstone a couple of times to get the look you want. In the picture, you will see it I hit the back of the tombstone with it.

Add moss in some random places using a hot glue gun.

Then turn her on her side. Before the picture was taken, you would have seen large and small openings on the bottom of her dress where bugs and water could get in. So to fix that, use scrap chicken wire and foam shreds to help fill in large holes. Then put a heavy coat of caulk over all to help seal it. Let dry overnight and then caulk any remaining holes. Let dry again. Drylok the entire bottom with two coats (let dry in-between) and then a final coat of whatever exterior flat paint you have left. Let dry again. Laugh every time you see her upside down ;)

Here's a better view of the moss I added. You will also see some outdoor flickering candles on the stone. If you want, you can make these candles using the Flickering Lights tutorial located in my album: Halloween Forum - Terra's Album: Outdoor flicker lights

Step back and admire your creation and have another glass of wine....

Ahhhh, you are all done. Now the next challenge is to keep the kiddies from hitting it with sticks to see if it is really stone (they are so lucky I'm the laid back, cool neighbor lady).

109 Posts
The hits just keep crawling out of your basement. Another great prop! Thanks for sharing! By the way, do you use drylock on all your tombstones or just this one? I guess I'm thinking more of the headstone itself and not the lady. I ask because I have a half-dozen headstones made of blue foam board that only have two or 3 coats of exterior latex mis-tint paint, and am wondering how they will hold up over the years with moisture. They've made it one year just fine so far.


Mistress of Darkness
1,689 Posts
We're trying to make a "beloved" prop but I swear it's looking more and more like the "unloved" instead of the "beloved"!

8,310 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
The hits just keep crawling out of your basement. Another great prop! Thanks for sharing! By the way, do you use drylock on all your tombstones or just this one? I guess I'm thinking more of the headstone itself and not the lady. I ask because I have a half-dozen headstones made of blue foam board that only have two or 3 coats of exterior latex mis-tint paint, and am wondering how they will hold up over the years with moisture. They've made it one year just fine so far.

Thank you Thud (I love your name). I used two coats of Drylok on all my tombstones. What was a very happy accident was that it has sand in the paint (didn't expect that). That really helped add the perfect stone look. I was going to just do the latex myself but after seeing the texture and color of the gray Drylok, I realized that I was only going to need the latex for the accents (epitaphs, dark crevices, tea-staining, dry-brushing and sponging.

638 Posts
absolutely astonishing. This is a VERY impressive prop...I've never really invested too much in static props...but with the "living dead" theme I am going for, I may have to add this to muy graveyard...once again BEAUTIFUL work.

1 Posts
dang that is absolutely awesome!! one of these years I will have some free time and finally be able to do something like this!

thanks for the great tutorial


2,442 Posts
Wonderful stuff

Wow, the graveyard looks so good, very gothic and eerie the beloved tombstones amazing. It makes me think of Cathy from Wuthering Heights, a tragic soul. ( I'm a bit of a drama queen :eek: ) Very beautiful, it's going to look stunning on Halloween night.
1 - 20 of 209 Posts
About this Discussion
208 Replies
92 Participants
Halloween Forum
Halloween forum - Keeping the Halloween spirit alive 365 days a year. Discuss decorations, costumes and more!
Full Forum Listing