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It usually starts with a sketch. Just something to get the idea down before I forget and fuss with myself for not getting the idea down.

This works for me because I keep a pen/pencil with me just about every day. I don't always have some paper, so a napkin has been used on more than one occasion.

So, here is the sketch I did when I had an idea for a tombstone for my display.



Now, I don't always follow exactly from my sketch when I build my props. I play around until I like how it's going. I started this a few days ago so here are a few progress pictures.


The base is made from recycled 2" styrofoam from another project I wasn't happy with and didn't want to throw away. The pink piece is 1" styrofoam I had left over along with 1/2" scraps for the barrel. I don't think I will try making another barrel with way again. Too much work and a lot of headaches.

It has the shape I was looking for but I changed my mind on the stone feature for the base. I like a stacked stone look but wasn't happy with it in my sketch.



Here it is coming together. The sides where carved and textured to look like stacked stone. I used more 2" styrofoam for the cross. Still not sure how the cross will be attached so for now, I just sit it on the barrel.

Here is a closeup of the texture. I drew out the stones with a marker, used a hot-knife for the mortor lines and a heat gun and a spray of water. This step MUST be done outside because the fumes are toxic!



Some wooden rope trim was added along with a plaque made of 1/2" styrofoam. I used the craft foam and cut out a ship along with his name. I wanted the raised lettering effect and this has done well for me in the past.

As you can tell, this is another change from the sketch. It happens so why fight it?

Here is a better shot of the plaque. I am leaning towards making this a copper petina sign. Something I haven't decided on yet so I'm just building and writting down my ideas.


It's a busy time for me so here is the completed tombstone.


It stands about 6 feet tall, 1 foot 7 inches wide and 1 foot 5 inches deep.

Here is a closeup of the plaque. It is 1/2 inch foamboard with craft foam cutouts.