Items Needed:


2" Pink or Blue 4' x 8' Sheet of Foam

(Thinner, cheaper versions will not stand up outside as well and don't hold up in strong Iowa winds outside when attached to posts in the ground!    Don't skimp on materials at this point and your tombstones will last a long time!!)

Gallon of Gray Paint

Wood Burning Tool

Overhead Projector

 Apple Barrel Paint (for lettering and painting on front of stones)

Black and Dark Grey Spray Paint


Take a roller or paint brush and paint the front and back of your 4' x 8' sheets of heavy duty foam.    Let both sides dry.     Choose a shape that is commonly seen on graveyard tombstones (check you local graveyard for ideas).      Draw that shape out on the 4' x 8' sheet of plywood and take a hand saw or jig-saw and carefully cut out your shape. (One sheet of foam should net two - three average sized tombstones.)       Pick an epitaph or something catchy or scary to write on your tombstone.     I use the computer to choose a unique font (letter style) and then I print up the saying and a picture or graphic on transparency sheets.     I then use an overhead projector to project the lettering and graphic onto the grey tombstone.     With a black Sharpie marker, I carefully trace around the lettering projected and then I paint in the letters.      If I want something fancier, I use a wood burner to actually burn into the foam and carefully etch out the letters.     Then I go back in and paint inside the letters.     To age the grey tombstones I later go back after all the lettering has dried and take a darker grey spray paint and/or black spray paint and spray around the edges of the stone to get a marbled look.

  To get more detailed instruction on how to make different varieties of  tombstones click on any of the links below:



Here are other links to spooky, funny, or any other type of epitaph you can think of for your tombstone!  

  The best way we have found to attach your stones into the ground to withstand the seriously strong Iowa Fall winds is to do the following:    Take two 1/2 inch metal pipes per tombstone and hammer each one at least 5-6 inches into the ground approximately 6" apart from one another.      Place your tombstone in front of the pipes protruding from the ground ..... take a 1/2 inch metal clamp and attach the tombstones to the pipes with screws.

    You might not think the foam will hold the screws but it will hold up remarkably well if you've used the heavy duty 2" foam.     A big wind may still rip the stones off, but you can just re-attach them in a different spot and they will hold for at least a month.      This has been the best way we've found to secure the stones so far.


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Last updated: 05/13/2010.

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