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Homemade Headstones
Updated 7/11/01
Information for these pages supplied by Bob & Pauline Pruett.
For more information, contact Bob & Pauline Pruett -

Free Military Markers:
If any of your ancestors served in the military the government will make up a marker for you.  It will be delivered to you and it's your responsibility to place it in the cemetery. There are several markers to choose from and the spouse can be on it also.

Do it yourself markers. . .

Being fellow amateur genealogist, I'm certain most, if not all, of you have discovered at least one old, neglected family cemetery where one or more of your ancestors were laid to rest. Unfortunately, the stones used to mark the graves have eroded to where they can't be read or in most cases there is no stone. You want to let others know what you've found but cannot afford to purchase expensive markers.
Well we've got a project for you. . . .

Bob and Pauline Pruett put together the following "recipe" for making markers. They have made about 80 markers over the past year or so and have adjusted the "recipe" accordingly. These markers were made for the Wimmer Cemetery.

If you should have questions and or want more details concerning the making of marker, please e-mail me (Linda Akers) or Bob and Pauline Pruett.

Materials needed:
6ea 1x4 board -- cut to 12 inches long
6ea 1x4 board -- cut to 24 inches long
24ea 1 1/2 inch wood screws
3 bags of QuickCrete mortar mix
1 quart lime
enough water to mix
black enamel paint and art brush
heavy plastic wrap
*home-made tools for marking -- Ours are made from a wire coat hanger.
One is L shaped and one is O shaped.

This will yield 3 markers 11 inches by 22 inches.

Construct the forms:
You should have enough 1x4s cut to make 3 frames. Using 2 wood screws at each corner, connect the 12 inch 1x4 to the 24 inch 1x4 with the wood screws; making a rectangle box, with no bottom.

Mixing Mortar:
Mix your mortar and water adding the lime slowly. The lime will cause the marker to be white instead of gray and there will be no need to paint the stone once it dries.

Pouring Mix and Making Inscriptions:
Spread the plastic wrap (keeps mortar from sticking to surface) on a flat, level spot and set the frames on top. Pour mortar to within one inch of frame top. You'll need to keep an eye on the drying process, so you can write your information in before the mortar sets. This would also be a good time to put any decorations, such as rhinestones, charms, etc. . . into the mortar. Also, if you had a small photo you could place it between to pieces of glass or Plexiglas and seal the edges with silicone. This can be pushed down into the mortar as well.

Painting the Inscription
Before the mortar is completely dry, use the black enamel paint to go of the name and dates. This will make them stand out more.

Removing the Forms:
Let the markers completely dry and then unscrew one sides and take the frame off. Smooth sides and edges with fine file or tool of your choice, as needed. Let set for 24 hours before moving. Will turn white as it dries.

Moving the Markers:
After the markers have completely dried, they are now ready to be taken to the cemetery. If you have several, you will need to place blankets around them so that they don't hit together and chip.

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