This post has been a looooooong time coming.
Two years to be exact – that’s when our sweet Milo passed away and we buried him in our backyard.
Last month we lost our little Phoebe and she too was buried in the backyard.
But we didn’t have anything to mark their graves. We knew where they were and we’d visit occasionally, but there was no plaque or even stone to mark their resting places.
Hubby may have buried Phoebe a tad shallowly because he’s had to re-cover her grave a couple of times now because of digging. We see portions of the box she was buried in scattered nearby and the corner of the towel she was wrapped in has broken the surface…
I’m going to say the tuft of fur laying on the grass is from a dead mole or something because I can’t bear the though that some animal might have gotten further than the towel.
It was certainly time to make a pet grave marker to both commemorate our fur babies and to also keep whatever is left underground – underground.
A cake pan would have made this project much easier, but I didn’t want a cake-pan-looking pet grave marker, so I used some scrap wood to create a slightly different shape.
The boards were screwed to a scrap piece of wood to keep a nice, tight fit and then I lined the bottom of the pet grave marker with tin foil to keep leaks to a minimum.
I mixed up some concrete per the package instructions and carefully poured the mixture into my molds.
I let the concrete set up for a few hours and then I pressed some cardboard letters I picked up at Michael’s into the semi-solid cement.
I know, I should have spaced the letters better before tapping them in but because I started with the “P” and used a hammer to lightly press them into place, it was too late to reposition them after the fact.
These are simple cardboard letters about 1/4″ thick – the reason for choosing these is because cardboard softens as it gets wet and I wanted to be able to remove the letters once my DIY pet grave marker was dry.
As it turned out, they peeled out perfectly with almost no effort!
Let me go back a step (before peeling the letters out, or after, it doesn’t matter) – I unscrewed the screws holding the frame together and lightly tapped the wood to break it free of the concrete.
When I pulled the stone out it looked like this:
Pretty rough around the edges and with tin foil bits here and there.
I used a 150 grit sandpaper and my random orbit sander and gave the top and sides a go-over for a cleaner finish.
I wanted the letters to stand out a bit more, so I painted inside the embossed area with some Arborcoat stain.
What I could have done at this point was attach a small photo or something, but since I didn’t think of it until this moment, I missed out.
I wanted the gravestones to last and the lettering NOT to fill in with dirt and grass, so I used a bit of leftover epoxy to cover it over and protect it.
(I wrote the dates on the stones with a Sharpie before applying the epoxy – I didn’t want people to think we were killing off cats left-right-and-centre)
The epoxy darkened the concrete, which is unfortunate because I liked how the colours stood out against the paler cement, but at least the paint won’t come off in time and the concrete won’t wear down.
I tucked the towel back underground, raked the soil (and tried not to notice the offending fur ball) and then placed the pet grave marker / memorial stone over Phoebe’s grave.
My “Main Man Milo” finally got his gravestone as well.
And Otis has already gone out to visit his old friends.
Rest in peace sweet babies.