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Cost
$ $ $ $ $
Difficulty
• • • • •
Time
3h00

A super easy tombstone that makes a prop or lawn decoration that's... to die for.
I served as production designer and prop master for a friend's short film this summer about a feud between rappers (titled Young Flaccid Gon Die, coming out 2015), and the script called for a tombstone for a music video within the film. Another friend had made a tombstone for his short film (titled Definition), so I asked how he pulled it off, gave the process a few tweaks, and got to work on some foam slabs that were being thrown out. It was probably the most fun prop to create for the whole production and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. The final film I'll post when it's edited, but here is Definition: https://vimeo.com/98240519

Posted by MaybeAViking Published See MaybeAViking's 12 projects »
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  • Step 1

    You'll start by cutting your foam blocks to the desired tombstone shape. Don't feel limited to the shape I used. If your foam slabs are big enough, you can cut any crazy shape you like, even something elaborate like a cross. I suggest taping the blocks on top of each other and cutting them with a jigsaw so they come out even.

  • How to make a Halloween decoration. Fake Styrofoam Custom Tombstone Prop (With Saucy Language) - Step 2
    Step 2

    Once that's done, you'll glue them together like cake layers, and start cutting out the lettering. I'm too clumsy to do it free-hand, so I printed out the letters on a sheet of paper in my desired size and font, and used push pins to hold them down while I cut into the foam, carefully tracing the letters. When you pull the paper off, dig the styrofoam out of the larger letters with your knife, and for the smaller ones, just crush the styrofoam down into a little trench. Then cut a long strip of oak tag (my oak tag page was too small, so I had to cut strips along the diagonal and paste them together) for the breadth of the tombstone and pin that along the side. Because the oak tag is so stiff, there's no way to glue it to the sides of the styrofoam block, so it gets secured with strips of masking tape torn little so they won't wrinkle along the curves of the tombstone.

  • How to make a Halloween decoration. Fake Styrofoam Custom Tombstone Prop (With Saucy Language) - Step 3
    Step 3

    Next, mix some dark gray paint with water to thin it out, and fill in the trenches. It doesn't really matter if the paint goes over the edge, as it will be painted over with thicker paint. Pull out any remaining debris before you fill the letters. You'll want to make sure every white part is filled in, so examine it from every angle as you're filling in, so no white shows through. Once that's dry, mix about a half cup of light gray paint and paint the whole tombstone with a broad brush, being careful not to get any in the trenches. I gave it a little "blush" with darker gray paint near the lettering.

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Comments

Devious_Insightful_Pixie
Devious_Insightful_Pixie · South Sioux City, Nebraska, US · 2 projects
Nice. I've been doing this for years. Eventually switched to plywood since it tends to last much longer. Also people do enjoy have a play on words instead of sauciness if you display them in your yard on Halloween.
MaybeAViking
MaybeAViking · 16 projects
Oh, naturally. I wouldn't put this in my yard, it was a music video prop.
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Rachel's Craft Channel
Rachel's Craft Channel · Morris, Minnesota, US · 276 projects
This is glorious.
MaybeAViking
MaybeAViking · 16 projects
Thankya! Happy
Reply