Cemetery entry columns that I built for my home haunt. This was one of my first projects during the COVID lockdown. I kept myself busy by building new props and teaching myself new skills.
A quick Halloween project. What cemetery display is complete without a coffin? I built this over the course of a day after realizing that I hadn't made anything new for my display that year. I used 6' pressure treated 1x6 fence boards from Home Depot.
One of the first props that I learned to make was a tombstone. The majority of the ones in my yard display are handmade by me using pink insulation foam board from Home Depot. I print out an epitaph, tack it to the board, and use a Dremil tool to route out the letters and symbols by hand. I create a channel between the layers of foam for some 3/4" PVC pipe to hide in the center so that the stone can be slide over rebar stakes that have been pounded into the ground. This makes the tombstone appear to stand on its own.
A cemetery needs bodies! Over the years, I have built a number of static figures to stand (or lay) in the cemetery display. I like to use latex prop heads from Closed Casket Studios for many of my props. I foam-fill the heads so that they can easily be placed onto the PVC body frames. In these photos, I show some of the different figures I have made using various techniques.
Cemetery fencing that I built using 1x3 pine boards, PVC pipe, and plastic finial toppers that I found on eBay.
These were a lot of fun. And messy! The main structure was wood, and I used chickenwire mesh to bulk out the body. I then used scrap fabric that I had and soaked it in a mixture called Monster Mud (a mixture of joint compound and exterior latex paint). Once the form had dried, I coated it with several layers of Drylok to protect it from water, followed by a layer of concrete. I then sprayed them black, and dry-brushed on grey paint to create a stone look. I further detailed them by dry-brushing with white acrylic paint.
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David Calamari | Theater Artist