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8,400 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is my version of the weeping angel tombstone that I combined with DaveintheGrave's peeping tombstone. For directions on how to make Dave's Peeping mechanism, please go to the following awesome, terrific, easy-to-follow thread: http://www.halloweenforum.com/halloween-prop-building-group/74930-project-1-instructor-thread.html

You can also make this just a simple Weeping Angel Tombstone if you don't want to bother making a mechanism.

For more pictures and details on how I make all of my tombstones, please refer to my tutorial --- Ancient-looking Tombstones --- found here: Halloween Forum - Terra's Album: Tutorial: Ancient Tombstones

After a few days of posting this, I won't be able to edit so please check my albums for the latest updates to this tutorial: Halloween Forum - Terra's Album: Tutorial: Weeping Angel Tombstone

To see this Weeping Angel Tombstone in action check out the YouTube video:


Materials needed:

3/4 sheet (4' x 8') of 1 1/2" thick pink or blue foam
2 - 28" lengths of 1/2" PVC pipe
29 1/2" x 16" cut of plywood
Peeping mechanism from Dave's tutorial
Lightweight skull
Skeleton hands
Model Magic
16 gauge wire
Drywall anchor screw
Small gauge wire
Barbie with a flowing dress
Set of feather wings
Small feather boa
Monster mud
Foamboard adhesive
Wood putty
Gray Drylok
Small amount of dark gray, white, brown and yellow exterior latex paint
Small amount of raw sienna acrylic paint
Can of cheap spray paint
Small amount of moss
Bottle or two of wine heh.


Jig saw
Stanley Surform Shaver
Dremel with multi-purpose cutting kit
Dremel grinder stone
Safety goggles
Safety mask
Paint brushes
Wire cutter
Hot glue gun
Flexible curve ruler

In the first picture, I made a graph showing how you can lay out and cut your Styrofoam pieces. Each square on the graph represents 4 inches. Make the following cuts with your jig saw:

2 sets of 36" x 18" (stone)
2 sets of 13" x 27" (base)

Inside the base cuts you will cut an insert in the center that is 18" x 3".

Dry fit everything together. If you are using the peeping mechanism, cut the base of the mechanism to fit onto the back of the tombstone. Then trace that pattern out on the top base layer and cut out. Dry fit again to see if it all snugs up together.

The Barbie will need to be mutilated to lay properly onto the face of the tombstone. Because she is turning towards the viewer, she needs to be cut in half at the waist and put back together. To make her flatter, one leg will have to be removed and her upper arms shortened. Horrifying, I know, but it must be done for the greater good.

Picture 1: Remove her right leg and cut her in half at the waist. Tie a pipe cleaner or small gauge wire around the stub of the now missing leg and snake through her waist.

Picture 2: Punch two small holes in her back to allow an anchor for the pipe cleaner. Thread through the holes and back down through the waist and tie off to the leg stub. Do it tightly but allow enough freedom for her to twist at the waist.

Picture 3: You will find that if you bend Barbie's arms to have her weep you run into two problems: One, the arms don't bend and Two, her arms look too long (they stick way out). So, more mutilation is needed. Cut off her arms at the elbow. Shorten her upper arms but cut them at an angle. Dry fit the arms and sand or cut away at the two seams so they look more natural when they will be joined together again. Also, cut a line through her hands at her wrists to allow them to bend more so she can cup her face into her hands better.

Picture 4: Glue the arms back together using the hot glue gun. Also glue her hands to her face. I ran into trouble here though, the glue didn't stick well to the plastic on her face. Perhaps try Super Glue for that.

I dry-fitted my Barbie wearing the dress I found for her (it was on an angel tree topper) with her feather wings (off of the same angel tree topper) and the feather boa. You can see on the paper below that this is the pose and tombstone face layout I was going after. I was also determining how much room I had for the epitaph. Looking at it, I realized that her dress needed to be shortened dramatically.

Using the dry-fit as a guide, I determined where I wanted to mark the wing shape on the tombstone edges at the top. Use the flexible curve ruler to mimic the other side. Draw a line to cut later with the jig saw. Draw the same line on the second layer of stone but don't have it dip down in the center like on the first layer. Because I had a peeper mechanism behind her, I could only cut the dip down part of wing-shape on the first layer of the stone. The back had to stay intact so you didn't see the peeper when he was traveling around the back of the tombstone.

Epitaph: 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.

Notice that "Mercy" is reversed-carved. I Dremeled the background instead of the letters themselves.

Note: My epitaph is a copy of the real Mercy Brown epitaph. She is the last known American vampire. Muh hah ha haaaa......

Finally, using your jig saw, cut off the wing shapes off the layers of the tombstone that you had marked off earlier.

If you haven't yet, begin drinking your wine.

Before monster-mudding, you must put the PVC pipes inside the two layers of the stone and glue together. Determine where you would like the channels for your 1/2 inch PVC pipes to be 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. Be sure the PVC pipe sticks out 1/2 inch from the bottom of the tombstone. Weight the top while curing overnight.

Dry-fit the stone with the base and plywood bottom. Mark where the two PVC pipes touch the plywood base. Cut out circles of wood in the plywood base so the rebar will be able to go through and into the PVC when you are placing the stones outside in your yard.

While the stone is still dry-fitted to the base, use your Surform Carver to shape the edges and rough up the stone so it looks like it's been weathered and old. Add some cracks and crevices. Fill in the seams you don't like with wood putty.

Now, let's get the Barbie onto the tombstone: I needed to dig out an area around her hips so she laid relatively flat against the tombstone. At the top of the gouge I inserted a drywall anchor with the screw already screwed into it pretty much all the way in. I took it back out and put some foamboard adhesive in the hole and put the anchor back in. Allow to cure a few hours or overnight.

Dip the feather boa into the monster mud, lightly pull off extra mud and put into place on the tombstone. Use a stick to pull out details of the feathers and add directionality. Now, dip the wings in the mud and lightly shed off some of the mud too and place on the stone. I hand-formed some of the monster-mud underneath her wings in a feather pattern to make the wings look larger and fills the void better. Then, I coated Barbie in the mud. I attached some small gauge wire around her waist and attached her to the drywall anchor screw to better hold her onto the stone. Arrange her hair and dress. Let dry overnight. More wine!

Using your hot glue gun, secure any areas that you are not certain will handle the vertical gravity pulls. I put a little bit at the top of the boa and all around Barbie's outline.

Now assemble the entire tombstone. Put foamboard adhesive on the plywood base and stack the bottom foam base on it. Then place adhesive to the top of that and stack on the top foam base. Put adhesive on the inside sides of the base and insert the stone. Use some more adhesive to 'caulk' the edges around the stone and around the base where it meets the plywood. Weight the base down and allow to dry overnight.

I discovered a neat trick my Dremel can do. If I use the grinder attachment set at low speed, it smoothly carves impressions out of the foam. I wanted a chipped stone look and this did it great. But wear your safety mask and glasses. It makes a super, super fine dust!

Take your tombstone outside and hit it hard with spray paint. The paint eats away at the foam to give it an authentic aged and weathered look. Use more spray where there are crevices and cracks. Also use a lot of spray on any horizontal surfaces (the top of the stone and the bases). Don't be shy with the paint, I used nearly an entire can!

Picture 1: Coat the entire tombstone with gray Drylok paint. Be heavy with the paint on the monster-mudded items and light on the epitaph (you will probably have to scoop some out of the epitaph). Drylok has sand in it so have your last brushstroke be vertical. Do two coats on the stone/base and three coats on monster-mudded items. Finish with detail painting effects that I explain in my Ancient-looking Tombstone Tutorial found here: Halloween Forum - Terra's Album: Tutorial: Ancient Tombstones Put extra tea-staining under the wings. It is an important effect and emphasis.

Picture 2: Make your skeleton skull scary by cutting out areas of the foam. Add fangs, extra teeth and horns by cutting out a piece of 16 gauge wire and forming some model magic around it to form a horn or a tooth. Press into the foam and let dry overnight. Paint the entire skull with yellow tones and brown highlights. The yellow tones help make the demon stand out against the gray angel and makes it a bit more scary and surprising.

Picture 3: For the plastic skeleton hands I had, they needed to be bent into a grip. So I cut out one side of the knuckles on all the fingers.

Picture 4: I then inserted a 16 gauge wire into the palm and up into each finger. I left two of the wires long so I could use them to push the hands into the tombstone. Now I could bend the hands the way I wanted them to.

Get your moss and glue gun and place some moss in places that makes sense to you on the tombstone.

Stick your skeleton hands onto the sides of the tombstone using the wires in them you left sticking out. Put your peeper mechanism in the slot you made in the back and turn that puppy on and check it out. Then, go have some of your wine, you'll need it. You are done, baby!


594 Posts
Looks just fabulous, Terra... the realism is just spectacular. Would have never thought to use a Barbie.

I don't know that I am crazy about the fact that Jaybo is now going to pull out all my tombstones from last year and have me try to make them even TRY to come close to one of yours, but I guess we're up for the challenge! ;)

Great job!!!

591 Posts
Before you chop up your barbie make sure it it's one of those rare 1000.00 ones! From student to teacher! I was running the wire Idea though my head to make the hands and see that's how you do it do you have a better close up of the wire in the hand?why reinvent the wheel when it's already works.

8,400 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you everyone. :) :) :) I really had a great time making this one. Now I know why my brother had so much fun ripping apart my Barbie's. ;)

Before you chop up your Barbie make sure it it's one of those rare 1000.00 ones! From student to teacher! I was running the wire Idea though my head to make the hands and see that's how you do it do you have a better close up of the wire in the hand?why reinvent the wheel when it's already works.
LOL! Yeah, it is actually a little hard to find cheap Barbie's now-adays. Here's a bigger picture of the wires in the hands for you:


Amazing, Terra!!! You've given me another project after 'Beloved'!!
I went to Lowe's and got a router attachment for my Dremel yesterday. YAY!! (jumping up & down!!!)
Thank you for posting your 'how-to's"!

Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
6,359 Posts
Oh, man! I gotta start building! Using the barbie is brilliant! I love it!

Reading through all of these threads is giving me soooo many ideas. I need to get to work!


Terra, you're a genius!

2,632 Posts
Wow Terra !
I do the same thing with my skelly hands, except I fill the finger joints with silicon caulking to make them fully posable.
You are the master :)

Thank you everyone. :) :) :) I really had a great time making this one. Now I know why my brother had so much fun ripping apart my Barbie's. ;)

LOL! Yeah, it is actually a little hard to find cheap Barbie's now-adays. Here's a bigger picture of the wires in the hands for you:


8,400 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks again everyone. :eek::)

I've developed a sense of seeing everyday things re-purposed into imaginative, creative and cheap new creations. For example....

My BBQ grill:

My chandelier over the kitchen table:

And this I'm particularly proud of...My hot dog cooker:

heh. I'm just joking........;)

Seriously though, that hot dog cooker is a pretty good idea. Who knew what fun it would be to Google "******* inventions"

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