How to Make Tomb Props

Written by larry simmons
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How to Make Tomb Props
Use foam panels as the basis for your stonelike tomb props. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Whether you're filming a scene, setting a stage or just decorating for Halloween, when outfitting a tomb you'll need to provide props to add realism. From plaques, to tombstones to urns, tombs tend to use a great deal of stone in their construction. And for the purposes of making props, this stone is reproducible with a few foam panel sheets of the sort used in home insulation. Foam is easily shaped to the form you need. Once shaped, you can then paint the foam, creating a stone-like prop that fits in well with a tomblike decor.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Foam panel sheets
  • Water-based foam adhesive
  • Marker
  • Hotwire foam cutter
  • Hobby knife
  • Wood rasp
  • Sandpaper
  • Grey latex spray paint
  • Dark grey latex paint
  • Paintbrush

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  1. 1

    Sketch out the prop design onto a piece of paper from as many angles as possible. Include as much detail as you can in the sketch, including prop colour, and then label all prop dimensions for use when cutting the prop from the foam.

  2. 2

    Create the foam block for the prop by combining multiple foam sheets into a single block shape. Glue sheets of foam together to create a block of the needed thickness according to your sketched dimensions. Brush water-based foam adhesive onto a sheet of foam, then press a second sheet of foam onto the one containing the glue, using enough force to force the two together without creating an impression from your hands in the foam surface.

  3. 3

    Allow the glue to dry for the length of time suggested by the manufacturer. Use sheets large enough to fit the other dimension of your prop, or glue together multiple blocks of foam to create a single piece large enough to create the prop.

  4. 4

    Use a marker to outline the general shape of the prop onto the foam block, following your sketches. Mark the block from as many angles as possible to help in carving the foam to final prop shape.

  5. 5

    Carve the block along the sketched lines using a hot wire foam cutter. Turn on the cutter and allow it to heat up for about 30 seconds. Place the wire onto the foam at one of your cutting lines and then pull the wire through the foam, allowing the heat to part the foam as it goes. Cut the foam as closely to the final shape as you can with the wire. Keep in mind however that a hot wire cutter will not allow for detail work. Use the cutter for rough shaping of the foam only.

  6. 6

    Add detail to your prop by cutting the foam with a hobby knife and a wood rasp. Cut away large areas of foam first, and then work in progressively smaller details. Switch to fine-grit sandpaper for the smallest details, grinding away a bit of foam at a time with the paper until you have the final shape of the prop. Complete the shaping process by sanding the prop with 400-grit sandpaper to remove any roughness.

  7. 7

    Spray paint the prop using grey latex spray paint to simulate the colour of stone. Allow the paint to dry, then go over the prop with a dark grey paint wash. Dilute a dark grey latex paint with water using one part paint to 10 parts water ratio. Brush this thinned paint over the grey to create a random darkening of the grey paint for greater stone looking detail. Allow the wash to dry completely before displaying the prop.

Tips and warnings

  • Cut the foam in a well-ventilated area because the fumes created are toxic.

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