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HOW TO MAKE A DIY HALLOWEEN TOMBSTONE

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Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone

Time Required: 3 Days

Materials

• Large Piece of Cardboard (The front of our cardboard tombstone is 25″ tall, 21″ wide and 3″ deep)
• Craft Knife
• Small Putty Knife
• 2 Metal Stakes – cut 6 inches taller than the full height of your tombstone project
• Small Foam Brush
• 3M Multipurpose Adhesive

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Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone
DIY Halloween Tombstone

Step 1: Measure Flattened Cardboard to Preferred Width, Height and Depth

Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone - Template

Our tombstone is 25″ tall, 21″ wide and 3″ deep

Using a craft knife, cut your cardboard to desired specs. Make joints in the cardboard by scoring the topmost layer, leaving the rest of the cardboard intact. Bend cardboard away from the score line to create a clean joint.

Cut additional pieces of cardboard for supports. Score and bend the support pieces for clean joints.

Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone - Supports
Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone - Supports

Step 2: Tape Interior Supports

Tape interior supports to the inside of your cardboard tombstone to maintain the shape of your box and support the weight of the concrete overlay. Once interior supports are in place, tape your concrete tombstone closed.

Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone
Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone - Taped

Step 3: Design Your Accents

Design and draw accents onto spare pieces of cardboard.

Using a craft knife, carefully cut out the cardboard accents and attach to your tombstone with 3M Multipurpose Adhesive.

Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone
Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone - Pre-Seal

Step 4: Seal the Cardboard to Prep for Concrete Overlay Application

Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone

Seal the entire project (front, back and sides) using  Solvent-Based Acrylic Satin Finish Sealer.

*Note: Allow project to dry for at least 24 hours before proceeding.

Step 5: Mix and Apply Concrete Overlay to Tombstone

Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone

Mix Concrete Overlay and apply to cardboard tombstone using a small putty knife.

*Note: Allow Concrete Overlay to dry for at least 6 hours before applying any colorant such as Deco Gel Acid Stain or Concrete Dye.

Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone
Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone

Step 6: Use Colorant to Define Your Tombstone

Direct Colors Deco Gel

Define your concrete tombstone with a colorant such as Deco Gel Stain and Acetone-based Concrete Dye.

We used Shifting Sand Deco Gel Stain and Concrete Dye in Charcoal and Ash Brown.

*Note: When using Deco Gel Concrete Acid Stain, be sure to follow all directions regarding application, activation times and neutralization. Full application instructions can be found here.

DIY Gel Acid Stain Halloween Tombstone
Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone
Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone
Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone

Step 7: Seal Again to Protect the Color

Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone

Seal your project again using Acrylic Satin Finish Sealer to protect the color.

*Note: Allow project to dry for at least 24 hours before proceeding.

Step 8: Make X Cuts on the Bottom of the Tombstone to Attach Metal Stakes

We made cuts near each bottom corner of the tombstone so our stakes would support the project.

Step 9: Make Two Metal Stakes

Cut 2 metal stakes roughly 6 inches taller than the height of the tombstone. You can use re-bar, metal conduits, etc. as stakes. We used metal electrical conduits for our stakes (they just happened to be on hand at the time)

Step 10: Find a Spot to Display Your Faux Tombstone

Measure the location of the X cuts on the bottom of your project, make a mark in your yard where your stakes should be set, then drive the metal stakes into the ground using a pretty solid hammer

Carefully match up your X cuts on the bottom of your tombstone with the location of the grounded stakes.

Gently apply pressure so the stakes are completely inserted into the tombstone and the tombstone touches the ground

Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone - Location

Step 11: Add a Little Decor and Enjoy!

Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone - Final
Direct Colors DIY Halloween Tombstone

Happy Halloween!