Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Handmade Halloween: Horrifying Headstones

Clever epitaphs make homemade tombstones unique. I borrowed ideas from celebrity stones: "in" was Jack Lemmon's epitaph, "That's all folks" was Mel Blanc's, and "Nevermore" was part of Edgar Allen Poe's.

It's no secret that Halloween is my favorite holiday. Perhaps it was my past life as an art student in the '80s (yes, I was goth for a brief period of my life), but I really get into the costumes and I decorate the whole house, inside and out. I tend not to be too over the top in my outdoor decor, opting for a more subtle, haunted house look. This neighborhood has always been a big draw for trick or treaters, but now that several episodes of Grimm have been filmed here, I felt I needed to step up my game. I headed to Home Depot for supplies.

Horrifying Headstones

  • 1 Styrofoam Insulation Sheet (1/2" x 2' x 8')
  • 1 can Stone Textured Spray Paint
  • Sharp knife or saw
  • Assorted Acrylic Paints and brushes

Cut tombstone shapes from stryofoam board using a knife or thin bladed saw. Do this outside, as it gets pretty messy. First, I plotted out the general size of the tombstones and marked with pen on the plastic my initial shapes. I cut out the rectangles first and then cut out the domed top.

Peel off foil and plastic protective skins from the styrofoam. Using a sandpaper block, sand down the rough edges. Wear a mask, because styrofoam dust gets everywhere. Dull any "sharp" corners and edges. Remember, these tombstones have been sitting out in your front yard for ages and are weathered and worn.

Next, line up tombstones on a tarp and evenly apply stone textured spray paint. If you spray each stone individually like I did, you may run out of paint (I ran out of paint), so try and do them all at once and get a light, even coating, then go back and add more "texture." The paint will need to dry overnight if left outside in a garage in the Pacific Northwest. It may dry faster in a drier environment.

Once dry, the fun begins! I applied black and green splotches to the sides of the stones to look like moss and mildew, using a piece of sponge and acrylic paint. After researching epitaphs online, I sketched the designs using chalk, then I painted the final art using latex acrylic paint.

One sheet of styrofoam will make four assorted sized tombstones. Dowel rods can be inserted into the bottom of the stones as supports to prop them up in the yard. Happy Halloween!


  1. This is a great halloween artwork. I will definitely try this with my kids. They will definitely enjoy this. Thanks for sharing this.