A Halloween tombstone can add a ton of personality to your Halloween decor. I decorated my cubicle at the office with the one I did for this project, but you could carve any ghoulish message you like and turn your front yard into a veritable graveyard for the big night 🙂
To make your own Halloween tombstone, all you need is a 2″ thick 4×8 sheet of foam board, a jigsaw, marker, wood burning tool and some faux stone spray paint (I used Krylon Make It Stone!).
Cut the foam to your desired tombstone shape using the jigsaw. Use a marker to transfer the letters onto the face of the foam with a marker. Pop on a pointed tip and heat up the wood burning tool. Once hot, start tracing around each letter. Do this work outdoors or in a well ventilated area (I did mine in the garage and laid it flat on top of the blue bin).
Once the outline is done, burn inside the rest of the letters to get depth (you can use a wider tip for the interior of the letters so it goes faster).
When you’re done carving, your Halloween tombstone will look like this:
Don’t worry about any marker still showing; it will get covered by the paint.
If you want the lettering to be more pronounced, dab in a darker colour (I didn’t do that step). Then spray the entire piece with the texture paint (I used a light grey). By the way, make sure the paint you choose is compatible with styrofoam; some paints will literally melt it!
If using this indoors, add a mound of dirt and a dead flower (I used dried moss and a faux flower at the base).
Since this was for the office and I was poking fun at the fact that our company was closing down our cafeteria, I decorated accordingly. I added an abandoned tray, a curdled cup of coffee, albino rat and trail of spiders:
Here it is all pulled together. More about the model employee with the ball and chain is below:)
A ‘Model’ Employee
I made the ’employee’ that sits in the cubicle from scratch. Unfortunately I didn’t take step-by step photos, but I attached the few that I do have so you get the gist of how I made her. I used:
- Chicken wire,
- Pool noodles,
- A pair of cotton gloves,
- Old clothing, and the piece de resistance;
- Ball and chain (from the dollar store)
First, I put some plastic over a dress form to prevent snagging while I while molded the torso out of chicken wire to the shape of the form. The plastic also helped make it easier to remove. I left the opening in the back and removed the torso. I twisted the seam of the chicken wire closed using a pair of needle nosed pliers. To keep the wire from showing through, I put a bodysuit over the torso to smooth it out.
I used pool noodles for the arms and legs, which were cut at the knees and elbows, then strung together. This allowed her to bend so she could sit and hold the baby. Pantyhose over the pool noodles held the stuffing in place, which gave her adequate padding.
I added a hair mannequin head which cradled right into the neck. I fashioned a ‘turtle neck’ of sorts out of a piece of scrap black knit fabric to hide the seam between the neck and head. For the hands, I stuffed a pair of cotton gloves, which I dyed a natural skin tone. I then clothed her and put some shoes on – a high laced ankle boot is best because you can tighten it to the pool noodle.
As you can see below, I assembled it all on my living room floor. The room looked like a crime scene while I was working on her – lol!
The final test was to prop her into a chair to make sure she would stay upright. Success!
As I found out while transporting her, it’s not a good idea to leave her slumped in the back seat of the car while you run an errand (and an even worse idea to stuff her into the trunk); passersby may mistake her for a real person 🙂
Once she was at the office, I clothed her in a company golf shirt. In addition to sporting a ball and chain around her ankle, I also poked fun at ‘bring your kids to work day’ by putting a ‘baby’ in her arms (you’ll notice I left some diapers on the desk too).
But it’s not just any baby; on closer inspection, you can see that I replaced the dolls head with a skeleton skull head that lights up.
Just the right amount of ‘creepy’.
For more one-of-a-kind tombstone ideas, this tutorial from DIY Network also has some great information on how to carve one and give it a realistic faux-finish with regular paint.
If you’re making the tombstone for outdoors, add three dowels in the bottom and then press them into a styrofoam base so the tombstone stands on it’s own – like this project from Lowes (click through to get details on how to fabricate a base):
In Oh My Goth (Part 1), I carved a realistic pumpkin in the likeness of my boss – a different employer but still one with a sense of humour. For that one, I poked fun at the boss’s addiction to smoking and put a lit cigarette in the pumpkin’s mouth when I presented it to him at the office Halloween party (you can check it out here).
Let me know in the comments if your employer lets you decorate your ‘home away from home’ for Halloween and what you’ve done; we’d love to hear about it!
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