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This is a two-part video series on how to make Halloween Tombstones:

Following is an outline and pictures of the construction of this stone:

Okay, let's start:

Cut Foam: First off...ALWAYS WEAR A MASK WHEN CUTTING FOAM! The foam dust floats through the air and you will certainly suck it into your lungs. Unless you want to know what it's like to be a coal miner for a few days, don't skip this step! (Not that I learned the hard way... ;)

Using 1 1/2 inch thick blue or pink foam, cut out 2 copies of your design. When planning your shape, be sure to add length to the bottom so when you add layers of base foam it will insert into it. (You'll see what I mean in a later step). Then determine where you would like the channel for your 1/2 inch PVC pipe and cut out using the multi-purpose cutting attachment for the Dremel. Do this on both sides. Glue sides and PVC together using foamboard adhesive. Weight the top while curing.

Cut the PVC to be a 3/8 inch longer then the base of the foam.

Add Depth: To make an inset for the epitaph to rest on I Dremeled a shallow layer with the multi-purpose cutting attachment. I rubbed the pieces off and sanded it smooth using the rasp.

Epitaphs: 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.

Base and Assembly: To make the base, set the tombstone on your 1 1/2 inch foam. Trace around the perimeter. Then determine how big you want your base and cut that out. Use the first base you cut out to make more and more bases to make taller and/or wider. Then make a plywood base an inch or two wider than the bottom foam base. Cut out two circles out of the plywood where the rebar will go into the PVC pipe. Glue it all together using foamboard adhesive. Weight the top while curing.

Shape: Now the fun begins! I love shaping with rasps. I have a plane rasp for shaping long swaths of foam and a hand-sized one for detail shaving, aging and for making cracks and crevices.

Fill Seams: Use wood putty to fill in all seams in the tombstone.

Accents: To add the skull, insert drywall anchors into the foam. On your work-table, mold out your item using Model Magic. While soft, push onto the screws. Let dry and caulk edges to secure it even more to the tombstone.

Aging: After skull and caulk is dried, use cheap flat spray paint and hit it with long bursts to get the foam to start dissolving. This gives the tombstone terrific aging. For a quicker and more radical effect, you can brush on straight acetone.

Seal: After you spray painted the aging, turn the tombstone on it's side so you can get to the base. Seal all openings around the PVC with caulk. Let dry and coat with Drylok. Let dry.

Turn right-side up again to paint the rest of the tombstone with Drylok. Drylok is terrific for this because it is waterproof and has sand in it which helps give it a stone look. In this first coat, I had some white Drylok. But, be sure to use gray Drylok though, as you see in the second picture, it has the perfect stone color.

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

Tea-staining: Water down your dark gray exterior paint. Then roughly drip it down 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 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.

Lichen: 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 white and dark exterior latex paint. Using a 1 1/2 inch brush, paint streaks down some areas of the tombstone. Switch it up with the lighter paint to add depth.

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

Moss: Get some moss from Michael's and hot glue it to the tombstone and you are DONE! Thanks for looking at my tutorial.

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