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· Registered
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just thought I'd share what we've been working on! My fiancée is an English professor and I'm a full-time grad student so we generally only have so much time to work on things during the year while we're exhausted, but we've got a pretty respectable start! Most of the tombstones are from last year, but we're currently carving and dryloc-ing some big, 40 inch tall ones this time around. The urn is an actual antique we found at a flea market a few weeks ago, and I've started playing around with lighting, and am fairly pleased with the result.

Also, does anyone have a working obelisk tutorial link or PDF download? I've searched the forums high and low for weeks and the only tutorials I can find have long since lost their pictures, or the links can't be accessed via the wayback machine web archive, and it's driving me nuts! I have a math disability that makes me see numbers backwards and upside down and in the wrong order and makes things very difficult, and my fiancée is terrible at math, so if I can find some actual dimensions we would both be super appreciative. Or, if you have an equation for the geometry of it, I can always send it to my dad-the-engineer for adjustments and make him do it, lol. Any help is appreciated! ;)


· Typical Ghoul Next Door
8,988 Posts
Those are just lovely stones and they look incredibly realistic! You've definitely got the gift! :D

My dollar store foam obelisk is also floating around out on the interwebs but I unfortunately didn't measure or write down details, I just fussed around in my garage with the foam board until it fit together, so my stone is basically just winged and any mis-measured areas were covered up with joint compound and paint (which is my method for most of my props - I'm not super accurate on my builds as I'm the one that works with cheapy materials like cardboard and scraps).

The only/best obelisk tutorial disappeared a while back but there was a discussion recently (this year!) and one of the HF members does have a PDF saved.


I've PMed the member - slanks -who was smart enough to start saving PDFs of site tutorials thank goodness! As soon as they get it over to me, I'll post it and a download link on here (and that thread I've linked) so folks can find it going forward.

· Registered
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you! We're both big history nerds and love the older stones and have so much fun making them. Here's a couple more that are in the works!

I wanted to work on lichens this year but it just wasn't in the cards - much better to have a few more stones up to hide floodlights behind and fill out the yard more. There's always next year I guess!

And thank you so much, FrankiesGirl - I did see your post and loved the result, and I haven't totally discounted just winging it, but considering we're also getting married in a week and a half at our house and are frantically cleaning between making tombstones and writing or grading essays, I'd rather spend less time troubleshooting if I can get my hands on something a bit more concrete. I really appreciate you messaging slanks, though - I thought about it, actually, but wasn't sure about the etiquette of it and didn't want to piss anyone off...

· Registered
719 Posts
Well it depends on how big of an obelisk you intend to build. We wanted to use one slab of 1" foam, to for the four sides, to make an 8 foot obelisk. So, we just used a chalk snapline and sliced it lengthwise three times, then used scraps for the rest.

So. First things first, you need it to be tapered from bottom to top.
Second things second, you need to support it in some way, for standing upright when you're done.
Third things third, you need to do it as lightweight as possible for safety reasons.

If you make a tapered cut in a rectangle, you can make two sides of the obelisk. But if you split a rectangle into two smaller rectangles, you can taper both of them, cut them, and get four sides of the obelisk! I'm sure you're asking, "But, Bryan, is it really that easy?" YES!! It is JUST that easy!

Here's a sketch to show how you wanna cut things:
Green Black Text Screenshot Line

To get an idea of how I put this together, I made another sketch. I overlapped one side, in one direction. That makes the bottom and the top into perfect squares. So I started by stabbing toothpicks. This kept the sides aligned, as I glued and then sqeezed/taped things together. It makes a bit of symmetry which helps things down the road. You'll see. Also, I know gluing along the sides doesn't seem very sturdy on its own. Once again, you'll see.
Black Light Line Screenshot Games

Now, I know the efficient use of the foam, and the very simple cuts, creates slightly awkward cuts for the top and bottom. They don't end up sitting square to the ground. I could argue the merits of calculating the correct angles to trim each of the short ends before gluing things up, for the sake of geometrical precision and design perfection. Let me assure you. Just getting your long razor knife and trimming it level will be easy enough.
Black Green Light Text Lighting

Next, you want to build some internal framing to keep the squares, square. This is convenient! Because that leads us to the SECOND THINGS SECOND! Quite nice how that works out. We're gonna carve two squares, of slightly different sizes, with holes in their centers. The holes will hold a section of pipe.
Black Green Text Line Light

This pipe will allow you to hammer a big section of rebar into your yard, and slide the obelisk over it, to keep it upright and steady-sturdy. The rebar will be the only heavy thing intended in this design, because THIRD THINGS THIRD, we want this lightweight and safe. So. Go find some rebar, and then a pipe big enough to slide over the rebar. We ended up using PVC pipe. You could use plumbing grade, or EMT electrical grade. Matters not. It all works in the end, because we're filling the damned thing with Great Stuff, to use as our main adhesive.
Line Pulpit Column Parallel

So you wanna take your pipe of whatever type, (Hah! That rhymed!) and glue the smaller brace square to one end of the pipe. I left about an extra inch sticking past the foam square. Then, I Great Stuff'd the pipe to the square on the long side, and used some Gorilla Glue on the 1" side. Overnight it was solid solid SOLID. Very nice. That meant I could push that brace and pipe up inside the obelisk as deep as it would go, which was about half way up. I then stood on a ladder, stood up the obelisk upside-down, and dripped a whole buncha Great Stuff inside. I made sure it completely covered that brace foam board, and all along the inside corners of the obelisk itself. Once it expanded and cured, this thing was damn near indestructible.

Once that cured enough, about an hour, I slid the larger brace foam board down the pipe, and tucked it inside the bottom of the obelisk, a little bit below flush. But before I slid it in, I added a large blob around the pipe. So once I slid the last brace down, the pipe was foam-anchored to the inside of the board. Once placed, I taped things up to keep it secure, then drilled holes about 2 inches in from each bottom corner. Then I stuck the Great Stuff in, and filled a bunch of foam to really glue the bottom brace to the bottom of the obelisk.

Next day, I sawed off the extra pipe sticking out the bottom, nice and flush. Easy work done.

I wanna describe how I did the pyramid point for the top, but I ended up doing it three times cuz I fought with my proportions. I can suggest this: Make a cardboard template of your triangles first. My first attempt, the top looked more like a bodkin point for an armor piercing arrow. Far too pointy. Then I made each triangle about half as tall as they were wide, which was about 11" wide and 5" to the center point. You can experiment with this to get what appeals to you. Four corners, taper the edges so the outside edges touch, blob together with Great Stuff, Great Stuff to the obelisk.

Here's my obelisk set up, with its plinth. It makes the final product 10 feet tall. And it is soooo worth it. Skeleton is the typical 5-foot plastic guy, for size reference. And the celtic cross is 7 feet tall.
Yard Property House Home Siding

Last recommendations:

Don't use white Styrofoam boards. Use the pink (Home Depot) or green (Lowe's) rigid insulation foam so your final product is stronger. I truly regret doing this with Styrofoam.
Go with 1" foam. You don't want sides that flex inward or outward.
If things seem too light, drill a hole, funnel some sand in the bottom, and it'll weigh it down.

Good luck!
You're gonna need it! MOOOAAAAHAHAHaHAhaaaaaaaa...........

· Typical Ghoul Next Door
8,988 Posts
And just to follow up Bryan 316's brilliant breakdown/graphics...

in case anyone comes along later searching for more obelisk builds - the amazingly smart HF member Slanks sent the build pdf and I'm putting it out there on my dropbox for anyone to go get (don't have to register, just click the "no thank you" and proceed to download if asked, but the pdf may just show up and be easily saved - dropbox should be easy to figure out I hope!).


I believe this obelisk is the work of David “Zombie-F” Lindblom, the founder of HauntForum.com (now our sister site since they also are owed by Halloween Forum's Vertical Scope). But if anyone knows differently, please let me know and I'll update to give proper credit.

Will also be putting this info/links into our tutorial section so it will become easily searchable as well.
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