With Memorial Day almost upon us, I decided this year to try my hand at crafting a DIY personalized gravestone topper for my Mom. Crafting was a part of life for her. Not only because she loved to create, but because we were poor folk and most times we couldn’t afford much. So when we needed something, she took to making it instead. To honor her, and to make the topper a little more to her taste, I made this DIY personalized gravestone topper with things she would love.
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A Little About My Mom
For anyone who does not know me, I lost my mother in 1985 when I was barely 9 years old. She actually passed on merely 16 days after my birthday (her’s was the day before mine). She was a beautiful human being, who was kind, loving, and giving. As a home economics teacher and farmer’s daughter, she contributed a lot to the kind of person I have become.
Mom was actually sick long before my sister and I were born… even before she even met my dad. Having children took years off her life expectancy, but even knowing that he was giving up time with her, my dad agreed because he would have given her anything she wanted.
I miss my mom every day. And I wish I would have had longer with her so that I could have learned even more from her. Every year I do my best to keep the few memories I have of her alive.
Cost vs. Quality
In this age of consumerism, I have noticed that most of the things that I want to buy are not really with the price I want to pay. Look at the quality of the Memorial Day decorations at your local store. They are cheap plastic flowers that by no means look real. Last year, I ordered silk flower toppers for the family, but the cost was over $200 for only 3 flower arrangements. The quality of the arrangements and flowers is amazing, but the price just seemed a bit much for the application of the adornments.
a more personal gravestone decoration for Mom.
I saved the arrangement from last year to dismantle. If you didn’t get the opportunity to do so last year, don’t fret. You can purchase gravestone saddles here to start making your own DIY personalized gravestone toppers now. Or just plan to make one next year from your pre-made, purchased topper this year.
Gather Your Supplies
Obviously, as mentioned above, you are going to need the saddle part to get started on your DIY personalized gravestone topper. It is your base. If you need to replace the green craft foam block, you may do so. After creating this year’s DIY personalized gravestone topper, I know next year I’m going to have to purchase a new block of foam to make it sturdy enough for outdoor use next year.
I bought 7 bunches of silk flowers from Hobby Lobby when they were having a half-off sale. I spent less than $20 on the flowers that I used on this project. Then, I purchased the burlap ribbon using their weekly 40% off coupon.
As inspiration struck, I purchased 3 solar lights on sale for $1 each to light it up at night.
My total invested in this project is less than $30. Considering last year I spent upwards of $60 for just one, I’m already saving 50%!!
Get to Work On Your DIY Personalized Gravestone topper
Because good quality flowers have wire in the stems, you are going to want to make sure that you have your wire cutters on hand to get started.
Lay out all of your flowers. Working on one bunch at a time, separate the individual flowers from the bunch, cut into about 5″ lengths. I pushed any greenery on the stems above my cut line before making my cut, so that I could add the greenery to the arrangement with the flowers instead of having to fill in later.
After cutting all of the flowers into separate, shorter lengths, I began working to install the solar lights. Because they come on stakes, with tubular extensions, I had to dismantle them a bit. I removed all of the labels first. Then I took out the plastic stake and set them aside for another use. I removed the actual “lightbulb” portion from the tube. All I had remaining was the clear plastic globe and the solar charging top. Using the plastic bottom, I pressed it into the foam to create an indent. After creating the template in the foam, I ran a bead of hot glue around the indent and pressed the plastic solar light bottom back into the foam to secure.
Repeat with each solar light.
Add The Flowers
Once the solar lights were positioned and secured, I started adding in the cut flowers. Start in the middle to gain height to your arrangement. Try to avoid covering the solar chargers completely. You want enough sunlight to be able to hit them in order to recharge each day. Fill in as you like with your cut flowers. Some may be too long (mine were). Cut down in increments until you reach your desired length. Once you are sure you like the length, remove from foam, add a touch of hot glue, and replace to secure.
Continue this process until your entire foam block is covered with flowers.
Adapting to Personal Preference
You may add more flowers around the vertical outside part of the foam block. I chose to cover it with burlap ribbon instead. Starting on a corner, I added a dab of hot glue to the foam and attached the end of the ribbon. Working in about 2″ lengths, I gathered and glued around the perimeter to cover all of the craft foam and make a cute, country wreath look.
My Completed DIY Personalized Gravestone Topper
Choose your flowers and decorative elements based on your loved one’s preferences. Mom loved all flowers, so choosing for her is pretty easy. You knew and loved the person you are decorating for, and to honor them, choose what they would love. It gives a personal element to the stone, reminding other’s who visit over Memorial Day of the person they are remembering.
I do believe, next year, I’m going to try to find daisies for my next DIY Personalized Gravestone Topper for her.