I have been wanting to try to make some tombstones for a while, but it was always on the back burner. After watching JasonB5449's tutorial as well as a few others on youtube, I figured I'd give it a shot.
I always kind of thought these would be easy, but there's no doubt it can be ultra easy or an absolute PIA.
I started with the 4x8 sheet of pink insulation foam from Home Depot. It wouldn't fit in the van so had HD rip 2' off to make it 4x6.
I went the route of printing letters and shapes on paper and then just tracing the paper with a ballpoint. I then went back over the lines in ink to make them easier to see. I picked up the router attachment for the dremel to route out the various lines.
The hardest part is coming up with shapes and what to put on them. I turned the kids loose on epitaphs while I randomly searched online for image ideas.
I tried cutting the shapes out of the foam with a scroll saw, hack saw, hand saw, just about any saw, but the results were kind of lousy IMO. So I picked up a cheap foam cutter from Michaels. It makes the cutting process much easier, but you just have to take your time so as to not break the wand.
I didn't know the foam came scored so you'll have these seams in it. I had tried filling the seams with wood glue on one of the smaller stones I'd made, and it turned out decent. But with this feeling of being out of time and so many other things to do, I didn't fill the seams on the other stones. Big mistake as you can see in the large stone where the seams are visible. It's not something that will be that visible in the night with fog going, but it still bugs me so this is something I'll address after the season.
I saw different methods for propping the stones up, and the easiest and cleanest way I found was to take some 3/4" x 6" EMT, heat it up with a heat gun, and then insert into the bottom of the stone. I then pulled the EMT out and it used needle nose pliers to pull out the core foam left in the middle from the inserted pipe. You'll then have a nice hollowed out area where you can glue the EMT into the bottom of the stone. This will then sit on some 1/2" EMT pounded into the ground.
Lastly, I got really lucky and found some gray deck paint in the oops section at H.D. This stuff is really thick (the can says 4x thicker than paint). I had to thin it out by 50% to brush on. But the best part is that it's so thick you can go back after the first coat and then just dab all over the stone to give it texture. I'm imagining the effect is similar to putting sand into the paint because the resulting effect is very gritty. The deck paint also gave the stones some rigidity, and I'd imagine make them more durable to the weather.
The last part was to do a quick hit with an old airbrush.
I only made 4 stones, but collectively it took a few hours from start to finish.