What Do You Want On Your Tombstone?

No, this does not have anything to do with Tombstone Pizza, rather it has all to do about Halloween Tombstones!  We make handmade wood tombstones from pressed wood for Halloween (not sure if you knew this) and we sell them on our eBay store.  We got this idea last year as we were frustrated with our own styrofoam tombstones falling down in our yard every year from the wind, so we set out to design some tombstones for ourselves, and when they turned out better than what we originally thought, we decided to add them to our eBay inventory and they have gone over well. 

We have a lot of designs to choose from, so take your pick!  Here’s what we do for you:  We hand cut your wood tombstone from pressed wood, then sand it smooth, then we cut a wood base for you, and also include the screws for the base and the two 7″ spikes to pound into the ground.  What do you do?  When you receive your wood tombstone, you paint & finish it the way you want or add some creative tombstone epitaphs with stencils, then make sure you add a clear coat when you’re all done to help seal the wood from the outside elements. 

Here are some of the designs we have for sale on our eBay store, and keep checking back, as we will be adding more designs before Halloween. 

Listed below are some of the tombstones that we have finished / painted for our front yard, just to give you an idea of how you can paint or stain your own tombstones.  Be creative, as the more creative you are, the better your tombstone will turn out. 

We know that it is just June now, but with Halloween about 127 days away, planning for the witching hour takes time.  Even if you are planning on purchasing some new Halloween props this year, our advice to you is to SHOP EARLY as all of the places that sell Halloween props & decorations always sell out early and they don’t restock their inventory either!  Once it’s gone, it’s gone!  So, shop early to get the cool stuff you want, or you will only be left with the items that no one else wants.   Here is the link to our eBay store, and where you can purchase a tombstone for yourself!

Boo!

DIY: How to Stencil On Tombstones

Halloween is coming (only 272 days away) and you want to give yourself enough time to prepare for the witching hour.  Last year, we decided that we had enough of our styrofoam tombstones falling down & getting blown away from the strong winds, so we decided to cutout tombstones from pressed wood – and they turned out great!  We got lots of compliments from our neighbors on our handmade tombstones as they were shocked at how great they looked! 

I wanted to share with you on how easy (but time consuming) it is to stencil letters onto tombstones.  First of all, your letters don’t have to be perfect or in a straight line, make them the way you want them, but most of all, have fun & experiment. 

The first step:  Open up a blank document (in Word, Publisher etc.) and type out what you want on your tombstone.  Experiment in different fonts & sizes.  Once you get what font and size you want, printout your letters onto cardstock.  

Step Two:  Now, cutout your letters with either scissors or a sharp knife.  Make sure you make a clean cut around your letters.

Step Three: Paint your tombstone.  For the one shown, we painted ours in white glossy paint.  Let paint dry.

Step Four:  Layout your letters / words onto your tombstone so you can see how they look and get the proper spacing between letters & edges of the tombstone. 

Step Five:  Now, trace your letters with a black Sharpie Marker on your tombstone.  When we did a black tombstone, we used a gray Sharpie Marker when tracing so we could see the edge lines clearly. 

Step Six:  Paint your letters!  Use a very small paint brush to paint your letters as this makes it easier to get good edge lines.  Let paint dry.

Step Seven:  Your tombstone is almost complete – in order to protect your paint both on the tombstone itself and the letters you just painted, we always do a nice thin layer of clear coat over the entire tombstone to seal it from the weather.  You don’t have to do a clear coat, but expect your wood to buckle and split over the years. 

That’s it!  As you can see it is time consuming, but the final outcome you get is amazing!  We have also painted our wood tombstones with gray primer first, then used Krylon Make It Stone and sprayed a thin layer of that over the entire tombstone, then we sealed it with a clear finish.  The most important part of all of this, is to have fun & experiment.  The more creative you are, the better your tombstone turns out!

As you can see, we tried to add a sense of humor to our tombstone and used the saying “High gas prices killed me“.  When we put this out in the yard on Halloween, we’ll place our little red gas can in front of it to complete the look!  Last year, we even made a black tombstone with the word “Economy” on it and had red paint dripping down from the letters.  All of our neighbors and parents of the trick or treaters just loved that tombstone & laughed at our humor!

How to Decorate Handmade Tombstones with Stencils

It all starts from somewhere.  An idea pops into your head, you think about it, you ponder awhile, then you try to turn your idea into reality.  That is why my Mommy did.  For years, they have been complaining about how their styrofoam tombstones keep falling down in the yard, breaking apart from the strong winds in the Fall and blowing down the street into a neighbors yard.  So, back in July, Mommy started on her trek to figure out how to create some tombstones for their yard that would not fall over and could withstand strong winds.  Daddy purchased a few sheets of pressed wood, and that got Mommy well on her way.

Staining a Tombstone

Next, was to figure out a few designs of tombstones that would look great.  So, Mommy sat down and started to draw out some designs on a little piece of paper, then she turned those little sketches into larger drawings onto pieces of thick cardboard.  She then cut the designs out with an exacto knife and traced them onto the pressed wood.  Now came the fun part – cutting them out!  She started out using a jigsaw that Daddy had and that worked great, until she almost burned up the motor on it from the massive amounts of abuse and use on this poor little hand saw.  She eventually had to purchase another jigsaw which she got at a steal at Sears Hardware that had more power.  This new jigsaw was the answer to all of her dreams as it cut through the pressed wood like it was butter!  Then, Mommy had to figure out how to make the tombstones stand up in the yard.  She cut small bases of wood for each tombstone, then drilled 4 holes in the bases.  Two of the holes were for the 7″ spikes to pound them into the ground (the tombstones would not blow away for sure now), and the other two holes were for the wood screws to attach the tombstone to the base. 

Mommy was off and running cutting out tombstone after tombstone, one design after another, until she realized that she has made over 15 wood tombstones!  Holy crap, she thought!  We’re going to have a yard filled with tombstones now!  Then, she had an idea to put some of the tombstones on eBay and their website to see if they would get any “bites”.  Well, they did in fact!  Daddy & Mommy sold 13 different tombstones in total and were happy that they could make someones Halloween special.  They sold the tombstones not painted so that you could decorate them yourself!  View them here!

After all of the tombstones were cut and sanded to perfection, we could now paint them.  Paint them?  Holy cow, what should we use?  We started off with gray primer and sealed the tombstones well, then used different Krylon spray paint on top of the primer.  Krylon offers some really neat spray paint that comes out actually looking like granite or hammered steel, and they even have one called Glowz that once sprayed onto a white tombstone it makes it glow in the dark. (as it charges up with daylight)

Now, with the tombstones painted comes the fun part – the stenciling!  Man, what do you put on a tombstone?  We thought this part would be easy, but trying to come up with what to write on our tombstones was more difficult that we thought.  Trying to come up with a good epitaph was not easy, not to mention that it had to “fit” on the tombstone too.  We are just glad that we started really early on this project as it has stretched out for months for us, but that is only because this was our first time trying to create our own Halloween props.  Next year, we will be ready with more ideas! 

 


Stenciling on your tombstones can be done in a few ways, as I am sure there are more ways to do this than what we used, but here are some of our ideas.  a) Purchase actual stencils (this is the quickest way to stencil) and trace onto tombstone – we used a stencil called “Girls are Weird” (We know, strange name for a stencil).  b) Printout your words in the font of your choice onto cardstock, then cut each letter out with an exacto knife (this takes a lot of time and patience, but once the letters are cut, the hard part is done), then just trace around your cardstock letters onto your tombstone.  c) Purchase already cut wood letters from a craft store (this is the easiest way to do it) and glue them onto the tombstone. Or, if you feel that you are creative and want to take on this task… d) Cut your own letters out of wood with your jigsaw.  (We cut RIP letters out of wood and this took a long time and was very tedious to do, but once they were done, they looked just as good as the store bought ones) 

So that’s it!  Creating Halloween props is fun, time consuming, and sometimes you can even learn a new swear word in the process, but the results are amazing!  What we have ended up with are Halloween tombstones that can withstand strong winds, will not fall down, will not break apart, and look awesome!   Just remember, it all starts with an idea, it’s up to you what to do with that idea!