|I admit it, after Eric showed me on his iPhone I went through the whole multi-hour iOS7 upgrade with my iPhone so I could use the "noir" setting on the camera for taking pics of our bone yard.|
I made these tombstones in 1999 or 2000 or so. That was before the internet was so vast and deep and wonderful and before I had very much experience with making. So they're just painted and I was no longer satisfied with them.
|Five 20+ year old headstones and one 2-year old dog.|
Of course, I wouldn't just waste them, so I decided to recon them using the techniques I'd read about online and seen on TV back when I had TV.
|The millipede impression on the upper left is from a plastic millipede that was pinned to the original; these were stored in the attic at one point and got warm enough in summer for the hard plastic millipede to impress the foam.|
They're made of rigid foam insulation from a home center and just painted with craft paint. To take them to the next level, I used Photoshop to make various epitaphs, then transferred those to the foam by pressing firmly with a ballpoint pen to make an impression.
|The stencil cutter with a wooden handle and the wood burner with the plastic handle.|
Then I traced the indentations so I could better see them for the next step, which was "carving with fire." That's the dramatic way of saying that I used a wood burning tool and a stencil cutter to "carve" the foam. All the tutorials I read used the wood burning tool, but it was too wide for me to control for the text, so I dug up my stencil cutter which is essentially the same thing only lower watts (so presumably colder) and with a much finer point. Like every tutorial I read, I did this with excellent ventilation, because burning foam is bad. I did it outside with a fan. I truly feel a little guilty for doing this project which contributed to nasty airborne pollutants.
|The burned epitaph over the original painted one. The faux cracks cover the millipede impression.|
I also used the wood burner to rough up the edges. After the burning, I used stuff from my stash and a few dollar store finds to add dimensional details. They're attached with a foam-safe construction adhesive.
After that it was a good coat of primer and then a few layers of glazes (Van Dyke Hue, a light grey comprised of titanium white and carbon black, and carbon black for the drips).
|I had a high-hide primer that I colored with universal tint, lamp black.|
I asked around HalloweenForum.com for suggestions about securing them to the ground. I got several good ideas, but considering that these were already cut and no-two-alike and that they were only 1.5" thick, I decided to go with the easiest method.
|The stack as viewed from the bottom.|
I used a foam-safe construction adhesive to attach some PVC conduit that we had left over from when we had wifi internet installed. I cut it into 1' lengths, made troughs in the back of the "stones" at uniform distances, and then attached them.
|With every headstone's PVC spaced the same distance, this jig made it easy to install them all pretty quickly. No need to make the rebar fit a specific 'stone.|
|My plans include varying the sizes of the new head stones to make it look more realistic-ish.|
I have plans for expanding and improving our Bone Yard in the next few years including more headstones, a temporary fence, etc. WOO!