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Where can I get Styrofoam? I have a Lowes and walmart in my town, anything else is a 35+ mile trip for me. How are you anchoring these stones (wind and weather?)? Something tells me you have to be able to sculpt to make these and I an NO sculpture but I'm crazy jealous of everyone's stones. Thanks!!!

Thus far I've been using sheets of plywood and yeah...I guess I have a few "ok" stones but I'm my own worst critic and want something more....
 

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Kitchen/Green Witch
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You can probably get the foam board insulation sheets in the insulation/siding dept of Lowes...that's where it's at at Menards and Home Depot. (They have it online, so your store might have some in stock.) Get the pink, green or blue sheets if it's available, it's easier to cut/carve/sand than the white stuff. I use at least a 1 1/2 inch to 2 inch thickness (thicker than that is better yet, if you can find it), make my stone, then we CAREFULLY drill a large hole maybe one fourth or one third of the way up through the bottom of it and twist in a small, narrow tube of PVC pipe. After the pipe is in place, you can paint and finish the stone (use a latex gray outdoor primer or Drylock paint first as a base coat...spray paint will eat the foam. I put on several layers of the gray latex primer, then a very careful, light coat of stone look spray paint -very lightly- or it can still eat through the base coat. (you don't have to use the stone spray paint...it's just my preference.) Once complete, you can stick rebar poles in the ground where you want your stones, then just slip your stones over it. This makes them wind proof and easy to set up and take down.
 

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Kitchen/Green Witch
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(Oh, and as for sculpting, we don't get too crazy with ours...but after we cut and sand the main stone, we add detail with craft knives and the Dremel tool. After the cutting and details are done, and its base painted and textured, I add light washes of color to age the stones with regular acrylic paints...and fill in the words and such with a darker color to make them pop.) If you want to see my stones, they are in my Albums on my profile page. if you want to see pics of the pvc in the bottom, let me know and I'll go snap some real quick.
 

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Kitchen/Green Witch
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Welcome! :D You can also go over to the props or tutorials pages and find threads about stones...everyone has a little different way of how they make theirs...similar, but slightly different techniques.
 

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Kitchen/Green Witch
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Here is a pic of the bottoms of a couple of my stones...you can see how I drilled out and permanently inserted a small length of pvc to easily slide over the rebar.

20140727_170234 (500x295).jpg
 

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Insert Witty Comment Here
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There is nothing wrong with plywood tombstones. I've sandwiched scrap 2x4s between sheets of plywood and it works great...more durable than foam too.

As for anchoring, the pvc/rebar is a fan favorite around here. You can do it with plywood and even store-bought foam tombstones by gluing the PVC on the back. Use two pieces of rebar and pvc to keep them from spinning around. Unless you have your tombstones out for a couple of weeks, details are overrated. They make cool picture to show off on the forum (that's why you don't see pics of mine) but ToTs won't see the effort on their way to the candy bowl.
 

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I am a huge fan of dumpster diving. House construction sites are a goldmine for materials. Anything IN the dumpster is fair game. Often a corner is cut off of a sheet of wood and the rest of the sheet is thrown in the dumpster. Do you know how many tombstones I can make with that? I've also found good size chunks of foam insulation. You just have to get a little creative with the shape of your stones sometimes.

My wood stones are just a single layer. They have a 2x2 strip mounted on each side along the bottom edge. There is a hole drilled in one end of each of the 2x2 strips that I put ground stakes in and push (or pound) into the ground. We get some wicked weather around Halloween here so, even though the foam stones look amazing, the wood stones hold up a lot better. I repaint mine every couple of years which is fun cause I can change the epitaphs.
 

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Reaper Queen
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I always glue a piece of pvc pipe to the back of my tombstones, and use rebar to hold it it, I used to use liquid nails, and that worked ok, but lately I have been using gorilla glue, seems to work good, I also agree that the pink or blue construction foam is the best,
 

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Kitchen/Green Witch
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We have tons of wind (sometimes quite strong) and rain in October here where I live...pretty much daily these past few years...my stones are up for over a month through this weather and hold up wonderfully using the thick foam, pvc inserts and rebar. (Those poor little dollar tree foam signs didn't stand a chance in my yard, lol.) I have seen people around here do some with wood, as well...but held in the ground in a similar way. There are many great ways to do gravestones...just do what you can with what you have! :D
 

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Halloween Nut
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IowaGuy, you have to get yourself a Dremel if you don't already have one. Practice carving epitaphs on scrap styrofoam, and you'll be a wiz in no time. I say this from experience. My first attempt was a mess. I bough a router guide attachment, and an engraving bit, and everything is smooth sailing from now on. Good Luck!
 

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If you use the 1/2" or 3/4" foam sheeting from Lowes, the back piece you cut a slot for the PVC pipe to put over rebar. Use foam sheeting glue or Glidden Gripper to glue the 2 pieces together, hold down for about 24-48 hours. I will also drill holes in the pvc to add screws to wedge the rebar tight to the PVC helping with wind & possible grab & run theft. Terra has some excellent tutorial along with some other great tutorials. I had never made stones until last year & it was fun once you got comfortable with it.

http://www.halloweenforum.com/tutorials-and-step-by-step/88906-building-halloween-tombstones.html
http://www.halloweenforum.com/tutorials-and-step-by-step/61542-batflys-tombstone-turtorial.html
http://www.halloweenforum.com/tutor...ing-depth-dimension-foam-tombstones-easy.html
 

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At the risk of offending any of the amazing stone builders here, I would say if you want to learn how to make great tombstones start with the queen of the art Terra. Here is a youtube link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyfmBL5JuH0 I am sure this is also in the tutorial section.
 
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IowaGuy, you have to get yourself a Dremel if you don't already have one. Practice carving epitaphs on scrap styrofoam, and you'll be a wiz in no time. I say this from experience. My first attempt was a mess. I bough a router guide attachment, and an engraving bit, and everything is smooth sailing from now on. Good Luck!
I just use an X-acto knife. I print out the epitaph (size it properly - don't be afraid to go over 1 page!) and tape it on the foam. I carefully cut on the lines and then gouge out the pieces (still using the X-acto knife). It takes a while but you can get some fine detail this way.
 

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I always glue a piece of pvc pipe to the back of my tombstones, and use rebar to hold it it, I used to use liquid nails, and that worked ok, but lately I have been using gorilla glue, seems to work good, I also agree that the pink or blue construction foam is the best,
Doesn't the gorilla glue eat into it?
 

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Where can I get Styrofoam? I have a Lowes and walmart in my town, anything else is a 35+ mile trip for me. How are you anchoring these stones (wind and weather?)? Something tells me you have to be able to sculpt to make these and I an NO sculpture but I'm crazy jealous of everyone's stones. Thanks!!!

Thus far I've been using sheets of plywood and yeah...I guess I have a few "ok" stones but I'm my own worst critic and want something more....
Tombstones are probably the most asked about prop. Here are a few recent discussions about them:

Garden of Stones
Tombstone height?
Another Tombstone/Gravestones post
Adornments for Gravestones
Looking for movie/TV/pop culture tombstone ideas

Based on my experience:
1. Use extruded polystyrene foam, the color doesn't matter. I’ve tried using polystyrene
foam (white beaded foam) but it just crumbles when trying to paint or apply finishes.
2. 2" thickness seems to be the most realistic, this is the standard thickness I use. If it's
thinner or thicker it begins to look awkward.
3. Use 1/2" for stepped edges or recess. This thickness provides a good depth for
shadow lines
4. Try to minimize embellishments as they can be a distraction
5. I personally don't use epitaphs because I want my tombstones to be a backdrop not
the main focus
6. Don't be so precise cutting out your pattern, distortion is good
7. Distress your edges. I always found tombstones with sharp edges to be annoying.
Distress the edges and carve cracks and missing pieces (chunks). Also distress the
face of the tombstones (indentations, cracks).
8. Texture is your friend - you can add texture using a variety of methods, sand + paint,
Drylok, monster mud. Some texture is better than none.
9. Size matters - use a variety of sizes, place smaller stones in front and larger around
the edges and in the back.
10. Color Variation - I personally only use one color stone but some like to use various
colors (grays, browns, greens). I use one color (light gray) but have a variation in
darkness which is achieved by my weathering technique.
11. Insert PVC supports into the base so you can display over rebar (staked n the
ground) or on dowels (attached to boards and displayed on hard surfaces).
12. Do you have the right angle - Cemeteries with all the tombstones straight up look
boring. Cut your bases so that your stones are displayed at various angles
 

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Doesn't the gorilla glue eat into it?
I use the green construction foam from Lowes or the pink foam from HD for tombstones and sandwich two pieces together with two channels for pvc and then slip that over wooden dowels. I've never had an issue with regular gorilla glue eating anything. I have even used it for piecing together large Styrofoam blocks without issue.
 

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The Haunting Girl
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At the risk of offending any of the amazing stone builders here, I would say if you want to learn how to make great tombstones start with the queen of the art Terra. Here is a youtube link.
I am sure this is also in the tutorial section.
I second this one! I also use the Terra building method for my stones! I've been cheating for most of my stones by just using store bought ones and backing them with a thicker piece of foam with a pipe sandwiched between the two (and repainting them of course). I did remove a lot of the R.I.P.s by sanding them down (or carefully slicing them off) or filling them in and carving in new names and fun epitaphs. I use Glidden Gripper for gluing foam together which was also suggested by Terra in a later video. I use Gorilla glue for securing the pipe because it expands so even if I don't cut my channels perfectly, the PVC will stay nice and secured.

As for where I get all my foam... Well, I actually used to work for Lowe's! All of mine is the white beaded stuff and it was free as I would trash dive during my shifts. Also, many of my co-workers knew I collected foam including the guys in assembly so they would save and bring me pieces all the time. They would get nice sized thick sheets from all the items customers wanted assembled (the fireplaces in the Fall are great for this!). If you make some friends at the store I'm sure you get a good amount for free. It's a little messy, but I splurged on a Hot Wire Foam Factory tool set and later a very nice scroll table so the mess is minimal compared to using a Dremel or knife.

You can totally stick with plywood if you like it and it works for you. The great thing about Halloween and haunting is the freedom to do it the way you want. There is no 'one true way' to do any of this. You don't have to be a great sculptor or artist to make things. Like I said, I've actually been using store bought tombstones and modifying them. The main point is that you enjoy what you do and have a fun Halloween!
 

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Where can I get Styrofoam? I have a Lowes and walmart in my town, anything else is a 35+ mile trip for me. How are you anchoring these stones (wind and weather?)? Something tells me you have to be able to sculpt to make these and I an NO sculpture but I'm crazy jealous of everyone's stones. Thanks!!!

Thus far I've been using sheets of plywood and yeah...I guess I have a few "ok" stones but I'm my own worst critic and want something more....
If you have a Menards, they sell the Corning pink extruded polystyrene ( closed cell) (Google search who sells foam insulation in your area. I guess some warmer climate areas don't get the pink or blue foam sheets.) which I find easier to work with. I only use expanded ( white ) foam for the middle layer to save costs.
In that middle layer I glue in at least 1 length of PVC pipe vertically, so I can anchor the stone with a lengthy of rebar set half into the ground and half into my stone. FYI, Davis grave yard is wonderful for answering questions.
I use loctite's PL premium adhesive and mist of water to glue layers together. Tooth picks or tape to hold it in place until the adhesive sets. I also apply some sort of weight if possible.
 
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