In keeping with my mission to Halloween-ify our house this year, I decided to take the party outdoors this weekend. With gorgeous weather (finally!) as the backdrop for our project, we got to work on making some gravestones for the front yard.
We started with an old piece of plywood. I bought it before I knew that standard plywood was secretly out to kill me by off-gassing, and once I figured that out, this plywood’s only pastime was taking up space in the garage.
It just so happened to be the perfect size for 3 headstones – score! Tony cut the plywood into 3 equal pieces: 24 inches high by 16 inches wide. Then I went to town with a permanent marker, sketching out the design for the headstones.
After that, cutting the designs out was a family effort – Livi sat on the wood while Tony got to work with his jigsaw, and I snapped photos.
After sanding the edges down, we had 3 ready-to-paint gravestones. We gave the backs of the gravestones a quick coat of black paint, and then hauled them inside for the next step.
To get an etched look for our letters, I had a plan. We started by painting some leftover white paint across the middle of the front of each tombstone (Livi insisted on wielding the paint brush – who am I to refuse an offer for help??).
Then we pulled out a few old cans of black spray paint, covering the front of the wood with a basic coat of black. Without letting the black paint dry, we applied some Krylon “Make It Stone” spray paint in Obsidian. Then I peeled off the sticker letters, leaving inset white writing. The stickers had peeled up slightly on some edges during painting, which gave the letters an aged look – unexpected bonus! After this step, I headed inside to give myself a quick chemical burn with some acetone – my fingers were CAKED in black spray paint.
To stand the gravestones in the yard, Tony cut an old fence post into 3 stakes. For the first try, we attached the gravestone to the stake and attempted to hammer it into the ground. Unfortunately, after 3 months of drought, the ground was pretty much like concrete, and the gravestone promptly fell right off the stake. Our next approach was to hammer the stake in first, and then attach the gravestone afterwards, hammering through the stake with a finishing nail.
Grand total for this project: $17.97
- Black spray paint: Owned. $0
- “Make It Stone” Spray paint: $9.99 at Michael’s. Too bad I didn’t have a 40% off coupon!
- Sticker letters: $7.98 for two packs.
- Plywood: Owned. $0
- White paint: Owned. $0