The Haunted Mansion attraction begins with a walk through a graveyard full of tombstones and ends with a the doom buggy going the the Swinging Wake graveyard full of tombstones. The tombstones all have funny little puns and and many serve as reminders of the great imagineers who contributed to the ride. Imagineering legends like Marc Davis, Yale Gracey, Claude Coates, Rolly Crump, Xavier “X” Atencio, and more.
I knew I wanted build some tombstones for a while and place them around the house in the yard. I had some left over 2″ XPS foam from the coffin lid and ends. So I decided to put it to good use.
I went through my vast collection of reference photos and picked out some of the more iconic tombstones. I decided early on that I was not going to try to make exact replicas. I can be a perfectionist and knew that hand cutting the foam letter would drive me insane so I just decided to make a this a quick afternoon project. I drew out the more recognizable silhouettes and cut the foam with an extended razor blade (always be careful when using a knife).
I then roughly drew the more memorable images and major names and phrases in pencil. Then I went over the pencil with a sharpie, secretly hoping the ink would dissolve the foam to a good extent. It did not.
I then got out a very old wood burning tool and put in a junk bit as the foam would surely ruin it. WARNING! Melting foam gives off noxious fumes that can not be good for you. I wore my best respirator and had 4 fans blowing in a well ventilated area. It was probably overkill but better safe the sorry. The wood burner would actually begin to melt the foam before it even made contact.
When they were all said and done they turn out pretty good. Again I was just going for the general look of the stones as they will be in my yard at night and not very noticeable. The woodburner was not the perfect tool for the job as the slightest wiggle in your hand creates very noticeable variations.
When done I gave them a coat of medium light grey exterior latex paint. I then gave them a generous wash of dark brown/black and blotted it with a handful of paper towels to give it the spotty effect of old pitted concrete.
In the end they are not the best but I wanted to try to make a quick project with simple tools and materials. I am pleased with the end results and they look great in the yard.
Until next time…be on the lookout for more of our Haunted Mansion builds. We will have over 70 pieces life sized pieces in our Haunted Mansion this year.
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Until next time…
The Imagine Ears features the DIY projects, adventures, and thoughts of a father and daughter who use a shared love of all things Disney to create memories together through encouraging her interests in architecture, design, Imagineering, while exploring history and science.