These neat little graves are one of the easiest (and least expensive) props to make. The secret to making these little gems is called PRE-PLANNING. The cost is minimal , but you have to be in the haunting mindset out of seasons to procure these suckers. I got these boards at my local Dollar-Tree store. Its one of those junk stores where everything in the building is only a dollar. Anyway, these little kick boards make outstanding gravestones. While they may be smaller than I would have liked, the incredibly cheap price more than made up for the lack of stature.
Buy the kickboard. Listen, if ya' ain't gonna' buy the kickboard, than you might as well stop right here.
Here are some of the tools that I have found to come in pretty handy for gravestone construction. Some are tools that I had left over from college art classes in painting, ceramics, and printmaking. the dental tools were purchased at a home-suppy store for about $5.
Once you have your tools gathered, start carving away at your text. The foam carves easily, but is a little rough, depending on which tool you use. I found that the ceramic tools with the wire loops on the ends to be the best tool for my carvings.
This photo shows two headstones after my daughter carved the sayings in them. Notice that she drew the words out with a sharpie marker before carving. This can help you avoid any potential lettering mistakes.
In order to get a "stoney" texture before painting the foam boards, I pounded the crap out of them with a wire brush.. the steel bristles stuck into the foam and gave it an orange peel texture, as seen in this close-up.
Step 5 & 6.
The next step is to insert some sort of mounting device. Since we have high winds around halloween in Illinois, I chose to use a piece of 1/2" pvc pipe. My intentions are to drive a steel rod into the frozen ground and simply slip the pvc pipe over the rod. Since these are brand new props, I will have to update the page after halloween if the design needs revised.
The final step in the process is the paint. Unfortuanately, these foam boards really soak up the paint. I had to paint them with multiple coats of gray primer before the color of the boards quit showing through. Over-all, I think you can get about 2 gravestones out of a can of Wal-mart primer.