- ¼ inch plywood
- fine grit sandpaper
- safety goggles
- jig saw
- paint brush
- exterior latex paint – dark gray
- small can exterior latex light gray paint
- small can exterior black paint
- newspapers or some type of drop cloth.
- large paint brush
- small paint brush
- big sponge
- 3” x ¾” corner brackets (76mm x 19mm) – 1 bag (4 brackets) for each headstone you create
- 10-24×1 Flat Phillips Machine bolts – 4 of each for each headstone
- 10-24 Nylon Insert Lock Nuts – 4 of each for each headstone
- ¾” drill bit
- adjustable wrench or pliers
- Thin tent stakes – got ours from Wal-Mart
- Rubber Mallet
Trace out the headstone designs on the plywood. Don’t worry about them being perfect these are old headstones. Also, be sure to make them different sizes and make some rounded and some more square-ish. Put on the safety goggles and use the jigsaw to cut them out (if you’re not familiar with a jigsaw either get someone who’s familiar with it to show you or check out some videos on how to do it safely). Once you get them cut out use the sandpaper to sand down the rough edges. With a damp rag (not wet) wipe down the wood to remove dust and debris.
Time to paint! Use paint stirrers to make sure the paint is mixed consistently. Layout a couple of layers of newspaper to help protect your work area. Use your large brush paint one side of the headstones and the edges. When the first side is dry flip the headstones over and paint the opposite sides. Again let it dry (be sure to rinse out your brush and lay it out to dry between coats).
Once the base coat is dry it is time to get out the lighter gray. You’ll need some more newspapers. Take your sponge and very lightly dip one side of the sponge into the paint and blot it on the newspapers to remove the excess paint then lightly press it onto one side of the headstones – be sure to move your wrist around and go over the edges to give the design an uneven and natural appearance. Keep repeating until you have the desired effect on the headstones. Let the first side dry then flip it over and repeat on the opposite side – don’t forget the edges. Let the second side dry. Again between sides be sure to rinse out the sponge and let it dry.
Now it’s time to be creative with your words of your epitaphs. If you need ideas try to think your favorite Halloween movies or look online for some idea. Again don’t worry about perfection – uneven is good and spooky at Halloween time. Using your pencil gently write the epitaph – this is to make sure that it fits evenly on the headstone before it’s permanent with the black paint. Don’t forget to paint some cracks on the headstone to give it more character. Paint over your penciled epitaphs. Now you have your own personal and unique headstones.
Line the brackets up with the bottom of the headstone (imagine that the bottom of headstone is divided into quarters; you want the brackets at ¼ and ¾ marks). Mark the holes and drill the holes. Put the brackets backup and secure them with the nuts and bolts. Use the wrench or plier to hold the nut while using the Philips screwdriver. Pick the spots in the yard for your headstones. You want the larger ones in the back and smaller ones up front. Use the rubber mallet to drive the stakes through the corner brackets to secure the headstones.
Congratulations you now have your own personal graveyard!