The Grave Stone
One of the most basic things to have in a yard display is the grave yard almost every yard display has one. mine is no diffrent.
- Sheets of Styrofoam - i like the white stuff but you can use ether the pink or blue stuff
- Glue gun
- Glue sticks
- Wood glue (white glue will probably work)
- Latex gloves
- calking (just get the cheep stuff)
- exacto knife
- bricks or something to use as weights
- Monster Mud with cealing spackle
- carveing tool(i used a special clay tool that had a sharp end on one side and a scoop on the other its available as part of a set at michales and with the 40% off coupon it costs about $12 for the set a good investment in my opinion)
- latex paint (grey)
- textured stone paint
First Start by makeing a basic pattern of your grave stone out of paper. ether news print or what ever you have around. tape this pattern to your sheat of foam and trace it. pull up the patern and trace a second one next to the first.then useing a square measure over about 7 inches from the bottom of the curve and draw a line then draw a second and third line as shown in the picture to the left the full length of the grave stone.
Next Cut the pieces out with your xacto knife. go over the line once with a sawing motion then a second time just draging the knife along. then just pop the pieces from the styrofoam sheat. keep the sheat nearby your going to need it later for the other sides.
Now we start glueing. take the 2 side pieces and spread liquid glue over them. try to use the flatest side. once you have the glue on it get your gluegun and quickly run a strip accross on top of the other glue and stick it to the grave stone before it drys. the glue from the glue gun will hold the foam temporary while the liquid glue hardends to make a solid bond. do the same on the opisit side.
for the bottom you need to measure the space between the 2 sides then go to your sheet of foam measure off a piece of foam to fit in between cut it out. then use the glueing procedure discussed above but this time put glue on all 3 sides faceing the foam.
Now for the top this requires some creativity and is one of the hardest parts. Start by getting scrap pieces of foam and cutting them to the same height as the sides. Then cut off the end at an angle so that it fits along the circular part of the stone. Then cut off the excess that hangs over the edge of the bottom. Glue the piece on using the same procedure as the other sides and continue on until you have the entire top filled in.
When you have the top filled in put glue along the entire top of the stone. Like this picture. There is no need to use your glue gun at this point so you can get rid of it for now.
when the glue is placed on the edges place the top piece of foam on top try and line it up as best as possible but it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Put some weights on the edges of the grave stone like in this picture to assist in compressing the stone so it dries properly. I used bricks but you can use just about anything. Just don't put them in the center as this could cause the foam to bend inwards.
Now that it’s dry it should look something like this picture. Its time to get out your Xacto knife and chop off the excess to give it nice smooth edges. Take you knife and push it at least 2 inches out line it up with one of the inside edges and with a sawing motion cut off the excess.
When your done cutting off the excess your stone should look something like this... you might have a few rough edges but mostly a smooth looking stone with cracks along the edges.
Now its time to fill in the cracks at the joints. Take your calking gun and squirt out a bunch over the crack using a gloved finger push the calk into the crack and push the excess along until you run out. Repeat this procedure until you have all the cracks filled in.
Next its time to hide the filler. Dip a paint brush into your monster mud and start painting it over the sides of the stone. If you want you can paint over the entire stone but personally I think that’s over kill especially with the effects I will be explaining below.
When the monster mud has dried go to your word processor and type out the text you would like to have on your tombstone. To get the most use out of the paper I suggest setting your printing to landscape mode. You also should make sure you set the text size to at least 175 pts otherwise your text won't be large enough to carve out or to read. once you have printed out the text cut out the words leaving approximately 1/2 an inch above and below the letters if the words are split on multiple lines cut them with as little white space between them and tape them back together. Align the words in a way that you like you may want to print off several different versions using both different fonts and sizes until you find one that both looks good and fits.
Using the carving tool I described in the materials section at the beginning begin to carve out the letters. using the sharp end begin to saw out the letters, cutting about 1/4 inch deep, following the edges of the font. Once you have sawed out all the letters flip the tool around to the scoop side and start to use it to pull out the foam balls.
NOTE: you must use latex paint for this most other paints will destroy the foam.
Once you have finished carving out the letters its time to paint. take a large paint brush and paint over the entire stone once you have most of the stone covered take a small paint brush and using the spill over in the letters to paint the inside of the letters on the front. To add an extra aged look while the paint is wet put it in direct sunlight for about 5-10 minutes. DO NOT leave the stone in direct sunlight to dry as it will have the same effect as using a non latex based paint. Once the paint has dried and cured for a few days you can "texture" the stone a bit. Take a can of spray paint and from a distance put a very light dusting of paint over the stone. Alternatively if you are in hurry or you are worried about damaging your work with spray paint you can mix tempura paints with water and put them in a spray bottle and use the same method. I recommend different sprays with all of these colors. White, Black, Grey (different shade then the stone), Green, and Brown.