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It's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
574 Posts
I have always worried about when I start making them that if they did get blown around, since they are foam they will get damaged. Could that stucco material be painted on the outside before they are painted prevent that?
Mine are all painted with Monster Mud, or more recently just Original DryLock. I think the Stucko could work, I think you would still need the Drylock or exterior paint to Seal it. The Plywood core gives them sufficient weight to not blow away. And the rods are a fairly snug fit in the tubes, so while not a problem to remove, It would take alot of wind to lift them up. I actually have problems with my bigger props falling over, not my tombstones.

18 Posts
Hey all. Hoping I can help someone else on the forum. Sorry in advance for the long post...

Not sure about everywhere else, but Chicago has at least one day of fierce wind (50+ MPH) every October, if not more. So, every October after setting up the graveyard I always have at least one day of anxiety worrying about styrofoam tombstones getting demolished as the wind rocks them back and on their rebar/PVC mounts.

I’ve been doing the rebar/PVC pipe thing for about 14 years even before it became popular on this board, and years of swaying back and forth on the rebar has weakened the bases of some of my favorite styrofoam stones. The wind just tears them apart. Inevitably the bases on 2 to 3 stones get obliterated during each storm and it’s either repairs or replacement with backups. I’ve seen a few other more secure methods that can better withstand winds, but they usually use braces that can be seen on the back. I want the stones to look as real from behind as they do from the front because I don’t want to ruin the illusion when walking from the front door.

The last couple years I’ve been thinking about the better mouse trap and finally dove in last year and tried my best idea to date on a couple of my splintered tombstones. It takes a while to fix each one, but it has worked great! I converted three of my tombstones to my new “windproof” version, and they’ve already been put to the test in 50+ MPH winds. Not only did they not get destroyed, but they didn’t sway, or even budge. Not even a little. They stood as solid as real tombstones. Another good thing about this new mount design is that they make the stones more difficult to take by anyone who would want to. They aren’t going to be completely theft proof, but they’re screwed tightly to the rebar, so someone would need a drill and understand my design to take one.

With all that said, the design basically is to cut a wood board in the shape of each stone, mount the PVC to the wood, cut channels into the back of the stone to accommodate the PVC, and then mount the stone to the wood. After it’s mounted, I refinish the edges and back to blend it, and then mount on rebar. I also included screws through the back of the wood and once the stone is placed over the rebar, I tighten the screws until they’re firmly contacting the rebar. That it is the minor anti-theft advantage that keeps the stones secured to the rebar.

Below are a few “during” and “after” pics. If you want more info let me know. I have several more “during” pics too, but won’t bore you all with those unless someone wants a better idea of the design. Hope my design helps some of you who are wind-vulnerable...

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I got some detailed images here. You can see the layers on the edge, including where the foam is separating from the plywood because the adhesive is getting old or did not reach the edges. (Thumb included for scale:p )
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Here you can see where I re-sealed the front foam to plywood with either Gorilla glue or spray foam. I may go back and trim it down for this year.
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This one had a large amount of foam seep out the top, but was left in tact and painted up to look like moss or vine growth on top of tombstone.
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The 2" foam base was added late in the process. It really adds just that little extra. It gets beat up so needs re-painted every year.

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Up close of the bottom. you can see the PVC tube runs down to the bottom of the base. It extends 24+ inches up into the tombstone and is both Glued and Screwed to the plywood frame

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I used the exact same spacing all all the posts and tubes, so they are fully interchangeable in the yard. I have a 2X4 with holes drilled to match that I use as a jig to hammer in the support poles. Dropping them down over the rods can be a bit hit or miss from above, hence the extra hole or two in the foam :censored:

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Hi all. I am new here. My husband and I own an architectural store in Kansas. We build our own sets. Ultimately we get around 6000 kids for Halloween. On weekends we get more. On grave stones I will make a recommendation if your interested. It started with someone bringing a real gravestone to us at the store. Apparently they bought a house and someone had stolen it and left it behind. The new owners did not want it and it did not have a name. So we took it off their hands. Same things kept happening. I was surprised at the stole. Gravestones. We return those with names. But basically if you were to put a notification on your locale trade or swap sight I bet you might get some real ones.
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