Quick and Dirty Tombstones

I whipped off 9 tombstones in 1 hour that night. I used a template from Cryptopropoligy. I had a ton of paperwork to do at school so that year these were be 2 inches thick, attached with stakes on the back and epitaphs carved and painted black…

Two 2′ x 4′ sheets of pink extruded polystyrene.
1 40cm piece of 7 strand copper mains wire.
Razor Blade Box Cutter
Hotwire or Home-made Hotwire
Stone Colored Gray Paint

I basically just followed the template from Cryptopropoligy but had to draw my own. I found a box cutter worked the best for straight lines and the hotwire for the curves. I know I’m short a few brain cells now.

The first sheet is cut… just need to finish sand the edges and paint.

Finally finished the cutting. Would not have been possible without a hotwire. I ended up getting 16 stones out of two sheets instead of the 18 I wanted… but I did get 3 stones between 4 and 5 feet tall… You can see them in the rear of the photo.

Home Depot had a can of Porch and Floor latex enamel. It was a mis-tint and was beige. After 3 ounces of added black tint it came to a stony gray colour. It retails for $37 per gallon and I got it for $9!

I also picked up a can of fluorescent spray paint to spray on the epitaphs which will react under blacklight.

So the paint covered great! It’s a very cement looking gray colour… Since it was beige paint that was tinted gray it’s a really different shade of gray that you wouldn’t get anywhere I don’t think.

In the photo on the right you can see the test engraving I did with an exacto-knife which was a real pain.
On the left you can see the sample engraving I did with a soldering iron… a lot faster and more square but you need a VERY steady hand.




I broke down a bought a Dremel. The 400XPR to be exact… I also picked up the plunge router. It’s supposed to make a lot of dust so I found a great place to use it… The shower!

The results are night and day compared toother engraving methods!

My wife didn’t like this one… she thought it was too morbid. That means it’s PERFECT! The soother was a neat addition. God bless my Dremel!







Once this set was carved I painfully brushed black paint into all the letters and cracks. Then laid them down to dry.

After rolling with a short haired roller I am pretty happy with how they turned out.


To attach then I hammered 2 foot wooden 2x2s into the ground and then glued a piece to the back of each tombstone… I will paint the backs black and then just fasten to tombstone to the stake with a screw of “zip-tie”

Here you can see the “zip-tie” going through the hole and around the stake. It is VERY secure as the bottom of the stone keeps it from tipping to the side and the friction of the wood on the wood keeps it stable.

Here is my stones in order of completion…



Radio Shack
Home Depot
Canadian Tire



The good folks over at the Devils Workshop created a PDF version of these plans recently which you can download and printout.  I will leave the original drawings up here only as I feel the graphing lines make it easer to translate to full size sheets of foam.  You can check out the PDF version over at their blog!