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Hauntless
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Offered the prize of a custom-made tombstone for the Hauntcast Resurrection. Mike P. won it and he picked Dead Raven as the theme. It's the name of his cemetery for his haunt. This is the tutorial of how it was made.





Following is a video tutorial that will help give you an overall feel of how the build will be like:




Note: This tutorial will only show new revisions or specialized instructions for this particular stone. It will focus on some new techniques that was discovered during the build. Mainly using a Hot Wire Foam Factory (HWFF) Engraver to 'carve' features on the stone. Other new techniques are additional steps (and colors) in tea-staining, new type of cracks, new detail coloring, detail shading and a new white lichen technique.

For a full step by step tutorial please see the Blackbeard tombstone build.


Materials Needed:
Blue or pink 1 1/2" thick foamboard (little over 1/3 of a board)
23" x 12" plywood
Printer paper
Tape
Latex Drylok (gray or tinted gray)
Foamboard glue (Glidden Gripper and Loctite foamboard glue)
Acetone
Wood filler
Chicken bones
Duck feather
Sheet Moss
1/2" PVC pipe (two 16" pieces - 32" total)
Paper towels
Monster mud
Bleached chicken bones
Dark gray exterior latex paint - flat
White exterior latex paint - flat
Black acrylic paint - flat
Raw sienna acrylic paint
Burnt umber acrylic paint
Cadmium yellow acrylic paint
Chromium oxide green acrylic paint
Glue sticks
Two 24" rebar rods

Tools Needed:
Jig saw
Mask
Eye protection
Sharpie
Ruler
Photoshop-type program loaded on computer
Rasterbator program loaded on computer
Adobe Reader program loaded on computer
Computer printer
Ruler
Ballpoint pen
Blue painter's tape
Hot Wire Engraver tool
Hot Wire Industrial Knife Kit
Multi-Max dremel with wood cutter attachment
PVC cutter
Sanding pads
1/4" & 1/2" drill bits
Drill
Paint brushes
Paint scraper
eXacto knife
Wire brush tool
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
Sea sponge
Ground stakes
String
Wood planks for leveling (optional)



Cut out Shape: The shape of the wings on the tombstones are more detailed then a normal tombstone so when you cut the tombstone out of the foam allow some extra space around the feathers. You don't want to get pigeon-holed by an edge. Later on you will refine these edges.



Trace out Feathers: Mark the outline of the feathers and its spine. Use a real feather as a reference (if needed) to draw guide lines of the directions that the lines of the feathers take.

Carve Out: Hold the engraver at an angle and starting at the slim side of the feather slowly carve up the feather angling the tip so it cuts deeper on the outside edge and is more flush at the spine of the feather. Flip the tombstone upside down and start to carve the opposite side of the feather but this time make large swiping diagonal cuts so it leaves the impression of the ribs of a feather.

Sharpen Edges: Carve the edge of the feather so it better defines the boundaries of it. Carve away the top of an underlying feather to help give the wings and feather’s depth.



Carve Dead Bird: Outline the outside edge of the dead bird with the engraver. Do the same for the circle and then burn away the field in between. This will give the bird the illusion of being separate from the rest of the stone. Lightly trace the engraver over the lines of the beak, eyes, wings and lines on the legs. Carve away a couple of feathers using the same feather strokes to help suggest the wings.

Star the Perimeter: Hold the engraver at an angle and burn a mark on the outside edge of the circle that surrounds the bird. Make a matching right burn and a left burn and you should have an impression of a triangle. Go to the matching opposite side on the circle and do the same thing. Keep doing that until the entire outside perimeter is carved to give it a fancy border like star points on a compass.

Carve Epitaph: Carve out epitaph using the Engraver tool if you wish. It allows much thinner fonts and is fast work.



Shape Edge of Stones: Use the 4" blade on the Industrial Knife to carve the edge of the feathers so the tombstone has a nice 'feathered' look to it.

Sand Edge: Use the sanding pad on the Dremel Multi-Max to sand smooth the edge of the stone and the very edge of the outside feathers.



Carve Rocky Base: Use different sized shapeable blades for the Industrial Knife to carve out notches like you are giving the look of chipped stone. You can first use a smaller shapeable blade to give you a good overall chipped look then use a larger one to help make it look more random and natural. Carve away a deeper 'bowl' to hold the bird bones that you will add later.



Cut in Cracks: Never been happy with the cracks on my old stones. Spent some time examining actual cracks in cement and realized that they are very thin instead of large like I've been making them before. First draw out a shaky line with a Sharpie. Cut over that line with an eXacto knife ever so slightly angled. Make a matching cut on the other side and chip out with the point of the knife. Don't worry about random bits bunching up in the crack - makes it look more realistic.

Acetone & Scratch: New technique here to have the acetone step make more authentic-looking erosion spots. After the acetone step, scratch the areas with a thin wire brush or wire pottery tool. If it's a spot erosion area then scratch only the bottom half like it has eroded from dripping rain over the years. Scratch the entire surface of surface abrasions.



Monster Mud Bones: Wow, was this step a dilemma. What would one use for the bones of dead birds that met their demise by the curse of the stone? Well, bird bones right - you can get them anywhere. Ah... no. Darn, now I was stuck... until a fellow haunter gave me an AHA! idea. Why not use chicken bones? A raven is a large bird... actually similar in size to a chicken. So, hubby had roasted chicken that night and the next day boiled the heck out of the bones. Next step is to bleach the bones for an hour to sanitize them and let dry overnight.

Place random collections of bones around the base of the tombstone and pile them up in the well you created. You are telling the story that birds die near this stone if they venture by. It has happened so many times that their bones petrify and become part of the stone. Monster mud them in place and monster mud a duck feather to help drive home the point.



Paint Epitaph & Cracks: Use thinned black paint instead of the usual dark gray to help the smaller font be easily readable. Also dab in a few very small pin points in some of the faults on the stone to help make the holes look even deeper.

First set of Tea-staining: Another big change to the way of doing tombstones: This will be the first of four (yep... FOUR) rounds of tea-staining. This batch will be two rounds of tea-staining that uses black paint (instead of the usual dark gray). We will do some other steps including dry-brushing and then do the tea-staining again but using a brown-based tea-stain. These multiple and colorful tea-stains make the aging technique advanced and more interesting to the eye. The color variations gives it an ancient, beautiful look.

While you are tea-staining, concentrate the staining on certain parts to make the stone more variated. This raven stone demanded that the wings be muuuuch darker than the rest of the stone so the tea-staining was focused there.



Detail Shading: While the first set of tea-staining is drying, you want to take advantage that you will be able to muddle in a darker color so an obvious demarcation line wouldn't show. This is a watercolor effect and it is very helpful in shading. Make a darker mix of watered down black paint. Use a medium brush and dab into areas that need more definition like the feathers that are underneath other feathers and the feather outlines. Outline the mm'd bones, faults in the stone, the bird star design and the carved bird itself (especially the background). You may have to repeat this step several times until you get the color deep enough to stand out from the rest of the tea-staining. This step is critical to help sell the idea that those are feathers in the wings. It also adds much drama.

Paint Raw Sienna: Nothing different here except for the fact that this step is being done before the dry-brushing step. Also - didn't dull the color down. It's straight out of the can with no gray or white added. Because this is done before the dry-brushing step, you can go a little more bold here so it will peek through after the dry brushing. Pick your spots with this.

Paint Moss Green: I've long hated the old green color I was using - looked fake. So, tried a mossy, lime green color and loved the look. This is a mix of cadmium yellow, chromium oxide green and burnt umber (a brown). Again, pick your spots with this.



Drybrush: This was a bit of a mistake that you may want to replicate or not. The last stone that I did was the Blackbeard stone and loved using straight white on it. Well, did it with this one and didn't like it. It was toooo white - probably because I used a heavy hand on it. So, went back over it using the old way of using the slightly grayed white. In the end - it looked fantastic but scared the hell out of me. You may want to play it safe and stick with the grayer version of the white paint. You can see the big difference compared to the Captain Daniel stone. Also, didn't dry-brush as much on the wings to help keep the dark of the wings intact.

Tea-stain Two More Times: Add some burnt umber (brown) and raw sienna to the black tea-stain wash and tea-stain the stone again. Now add some more raw sienna to the remaining mix along with some more water and tea-stain again. These two new colors adds variation to the pollution lines, makes it more realistic and more interesting to the eye. The stone now is starting to look alive as compared to just being the monotone gray.

Detail Shade Again: While the last round of tea-staining is drying, make another dark wash using black for the detail shading areas you had done before. Concentrate on areas that got lightened too much during the dry-brushing stage. Especially keep darkening the wings and the feathers under the overlapping feathers. Let all this dry.

Tea-stain One Final Time: Make a final tea-staining wash using the black with burnt umber and raw sienna. Let dry.



Final Detail Color: Bring out the depth of color more by lightly going over the previous color accenting steps of the moss green and raw sienna. You can also see the subtle tea-staining colors better in this close-up picture.



White Lichen: Like the old crack style, I didn't like the white lichen I was using. So, tried a new style and liked the look a lot. Sea sponge some white on a couple of spots on the stone. Go over that with a cream color (white, black, raw sienna). Go over that with a darker cream (more black was added). Add some dark gray and finally finish with very dark green (chromium oxide green and black). To me, it looks more like real white lichen.



Finish with Moss: Glue in some moss and you are done! This picture also helps to show the magic that the detail shading can give you. It adds to the drama of the wings.




Thanks so much for checking out this new tutorial!
 

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Hauntless
Joined
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8,309 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)

Cut in Cracks: Never been happy with the cracks on my old stones. Spent some time examining actual cracks in cement and realized that they are very thin instead of large like I've been making them before. First draw out a shaky line with a Sharpie. Cut over that line with an eXacto knife ever so slightly angled. Make a matching cut on the other side and chip out with the point of the knife. Don't worry about random bits bunching up in the crack - makes it look more realistic.

Acetone & Scratch: New technique here to have the acetone step make more authentic-looking erosion spots. After the acetone step, scratch the areas with a thin wire brush or wire pottery tool. If it's a spot erosion area then scratch only the bottom half like it has eroded from dripping rain over the years. Scratch the entire surface of surface abrasions.







Monster Mud Bones: Wow, was this step a dilemma. What would one use for the bones of dead birds that met their demise by the curse of the stone? Well, bird bones right - you can get them anywhere. Ah... no. Darn, now I was stuck... until a fellow haunter gave me an AHA! idea. Why not use chicken bones? A raven is a large bird... actually similar in size to a chicken. So, hubby had roasted chicken that night and the next day boiled the heck out of the bones. Next step is to bleach the bones for an hour to sanitize them and let dry overnight.

Place random collections of bones around the base of the tombstone and pile them up in the well you created. You are telling the story that birds die near this stone if they venture by. It has happened so many times that their bones petrify and become part of the stone. Monster mud them in place and monster mud a duck feather to help drive home the point.







Paint Epitaph & Cracks: Use thinned black paint instead of the usual dark gray to help the smaller font be easily readable. Also dab in a few very small pin points in some of the faults on the stone to help make the holes look even deeper.

First set of Tea-staining: Another big change to the way of doing tombstones: This will be the first of four (yep... FOUR) rounds of tea-staining. This batch will be two rounds of tea-staining that uses black paint (instead of the usual dark gray). We will do some other steps including dry-brushing and then do the tea-staining again but using a brown-based tea-stain. These multiple and colorful tea-stains make the aging technique advanced and more interesting to the eye. The color variations gives it an ancient, beautiful look.

While you are tea-staining, concentrate the staining on certain parts to make the stone more variated. This raven stone demanded that the wings be muuuuch darker then the rest of the stone so the tea-staining was focused there.





Detail Shading: While the first set of tea-staining is drying, you want to take advantage that you will be able to muddle in a darker color so an obvious demarcation line wouldn't show. This is a watercolor effect and it is very helpful in shading. Make a darker mix of watered down black paint. Use a medium brush and dab into areas that need more definition like the feathers that are underneath other feathers and the feather outlines. Outline the mm'd bones, faults in the stone, the bird star design and the carved bird itself (especially the background). You may have to repeat this step several times until you get the color deep enough to stand out from the rest of the tea-staining. This step is critical to help sell the idea that those are feathers in the wings. It also adds much drama.

Paint Raw Sienna: Nothing different here except for the fact that this step is being done before the dry-brushing step. Also - didn't dull the color down. It's straight out of the can with no gray or white added. Because this is done before the dry-brushing step, you can go a little more bold here so it will peek through after the dry brushing. Pick your spots with this.

Paint Moss Green: I've long hated the old green color I was using - looked fake. So, tried a mossy, lime green color and loved the look. This is a mix of cadmium yellow, chromium oxide green and burnt umber (a brown). Again, pick your spots with this.





Drybrush: This was a bit of a mistake that you may want to replicate or not. The last stone that I did was the Blackbeard stone and loved using straight white on it. Well, did it with this one and didn't like it. It was toooo white - probably because I used a heavy hand on it. So, went back over it using the old way of using the slightly grayed white. In the end - it looked fantastic but scared the hell out of me. You may want to play it safe and stick with the grayer version of the white paint. You can see the big difference compared to the Captain Daniel stone. Also, didn't dry-brush as much on the wings to help keep the dark of the wings intact.

Tea-stain Two More Times:
Add some burnt umber (brown) and raw sienna to the black tea-stain wash and tea-stain the stone again. Now add some more raw sienna to the remaining mix along with some more water and tea-stain again. These two new colors adds variation to the pollution lines, makes it more realistic and more interesting to the eye. The stone now is starting to look alive as compared to just being the monotone gray.

Detail Shade Again: While the last round of tea-staining is drying, make another dark wash using black for the detail shading areas you had done before. Concentrate on areas that got lightened too much during the dry-brushing stage. Especially keep darkening the wings and the feathers under the overlapping feathers. Let all this dry.

Tea-stain One Final Time: Make a final tea-staining wash using the black with burnt umber and raw sienna. Let dry.






Final Detail Color: Bring out the depth of color more by lightly going over the previous color accenting steps of the moss green and raw sienna. You can also see the subtle tea-staining colors better in this close-up picture.







White Lichen: Like the old crack style, I didn't like the white lichen I was using. So, tried a new style and liked the look a lot. Sea sponge some white on a couple of spots on the stone. Go over that with a cream color (white, black, raw sienna). Go over that with a darker cream (more black was added). Add some dark gray and finally finish with very dark green (chromium oxide green and black). To me, it looks more like real white lichen.







Finish with Moss: Glue in some moss and you are done! This picture also helps to show the magic that the detail shading can give you. It adds to the drama of the wings.





Clockwiseraven25.jpg



Thanks so much for checking out this new tutorial!
 

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A 1 man army of darkness
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Welcome to the wonderful world of Terra's Tombstones Daniel! :D Well, not just tombstones. Everything the lady put's hands on, turns out magnificently!


Astounding work, as per usual Terra! Really enjoying that engraver eh? Gorgeous, mind bogglingly gorgeous! :D
 

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Another amazing tombstone and tutorial Terra. Making me ready to jump in my new workshop and get some things started.
 

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Terra thanks also is your Drexel set the 200 series? Or the heavier contractor series. Sorry for all the question I'm a contractor by trade with a ton of tools but of course not what I need for tombstones lol so time to stock up the shop to better our props
 
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