How to Make Halloween Tombstones From Upcycled Styrofoam
Upgrade your outdoor Halloween decor and create a creepy graveyard scene with this easy-to-make Styrofoam tombstone complete with custom epitaphs.
To make our Halloween graveyard we used leftover packaging foam. If you don’t have any foam, ask around at stores, especially those that sell home goods and glassware. To stand the tombstones up in our yard, we glued pool noodles to the back of each tombstone and then inserted rebar through the noodles and into the ground.
1. Lay Out Tombstone Design
Start with recycled foam from packages. Rigid foam and the squishy kind will both work for this project. Determine how to lay out the wooden appliques and the epitaph. We placed the appliques on the top corners of the foam and then placed the letters underneath. Feel free to steal one of our funny epitaphs. Glue everything in place and allow them to dry.
2. Create the Base
Find an additional piece of foam to create a base for the tombstone and help it stand up. Cut the foam using a foam cutter. Make sure to leave a gap in the back pieces of foam to hold the pool noodles. (Tip: You can use an electric knife or a large bread knife to cut the foam instead, but it will be messy, so do it over a large trash can to contain the foam pieces.) Glue all the foam into place and allow it to dry.
3. Cut and Attach Pool Noodles
Cut an 8” section from a pool noodle. Cut the pool noodle in half lengthwise. Glue each half to the back of the tombstone in the gap you made on the back. Make sure the noodles sit side-by-side with the opening facing inward. The rebar will be inserted into the semicircles of the pool noodles to support the tombstone upright.
4. Paint the Base Color
Paint the front, back and sides with black chalk paint. (Tip: You can use spray paint on any foam that’s squishy to the touch, but spray paint will melt rigid foam.). Allow it to completely dry.
5. Paint Stone Accent Color
Use a sea sponge to apply charcoal-gray paint over the black paint in an uneven pattern. Paint the letters and the appliques with more gray paint so they pop. Apply a coat of polycrylic protective finish to protect the acrylic paint, but make sure to use a brush-on finish because a spray-on finish may cause the foam to melt or dissolve.
6. Install Tombstones With Rebar
Insert rebar into the ground and slide the noodles over the top to stand the tombstones. Add creepy accessories and a graveyard scene.