Of all the holidays, Halloween has always been my favorite! I love to dress up the house in preparation for trick-or-treaters. This year I thought it would be fun to try making some new tombstones to add to my store-bought collection.
You can use the tombstone-shaped Smoothfoam for this project or shape them yourself from plain sheets.
One 12″x12″x5/8″ Scrapbook Page Mount
Wood-burning tool with hot knife tip and tapered point tip
Acrylic paints: gray, black, dark brown
Foam brushes, small flat paint brush
Heat-proof work surface (I used a thick cork board)
3″ lengths of bamboo skewers
IMPORTANT: Always work outside or in a well-ventilated area when heat-carving Smoothfoam, and be mindful of where you set the heated tips.
2. Attach your hot knife tip to your wood-burning tool and begin to carve away the outer shape of your tombstone. You can also carve away at the edges so it will look like chiseled stone. The hot knife cuts through the Smoothfoam like butter!
3. This Smoothfoam sheet was easy to trim as it was thin. The other shapes were thicker so to remove unwanted smoothfoam without damaging the design, I scored the pieces that needed to be removed first. Then I snapped them off and cleaned up any rough edges with the hot knife.
4. Unplug the wood burning tool and let it cool completely before changing the knife tip to the tapered point, then begin carving out your design. Start at the top and work your way down. It’s a fairly quick process and any carving mistakes only add to the charm of the tombstone.
5. When you have finished carving up your stones, it’s time to paint. Plan to use the same palette for all the colors, as the mixing really adds to the overall effect. Paint the front, sides and back gray paint. Don’t worry if the front is not dry before moving onto step #6.
6. Starting from the top, fill in the carved-out designs with black paint using your small flat paint brush. Its OK to be messy when trying to get paint into all the grooves, designs and letters. As you finish each part, use the baby wipe to clean up excess paint by wiping ‘downwards’. This will smear some of the black paint for a distressed look. Next, add some brown to the surface by dragging a baby wipe with paint from top to bottom to make the tombstone look like it’s weeping rust and graveyard dirt. Apply as much brown as desired. Too much? Just wipe it off before paint has dried.
7. Wait for tombstones to dry, then gently sand the edges if you want to distress further. Gently push the bamboo skewers into the bottom of the tombstones, about a quarter of the way in, then press into the ground in your yard. The skewers help keep the tombstones from toppling in the wind. Add some fog and special lighting. Now you are ready to welcome all on Halloween night!