The proverb “A picture is worth a thousand words” applies when a loved one passes away. Photos remind us of our past experiences with them, some of which may have been long forgotten if not for the pictures.
Putting their photo on a loved one’s headstone is becoming more and more common as a way to personalize it beyond the inscription.
The presence of a loved one’s physical likeness in their final resting place can make the survivors feel a little closer to them as they are immediately reminded of their physical characteristics.
Many people have said that seeing the loved one again when visiting the memorial is more comforting than attempting to emotionally connect with just a text on the stone.
If you are looking to put a picture on the headstone of a loved one, there are several ways you can go about it, as outlined in this article.
1. Ceramic photos
One of the best options for displaying a photo on a grave marker is to have it digitally converted and then used to create ceramic photos that can be affixed to the memorial.
To make ceramic photographs, a unique toner is applied to an Italian porcelain tile, which is subsequently burnt at 1600 degrees Fahrenheit in a kiln. They are entirely weatherproof and won’t fade in the sun thanks to this procedure.
When the photo tile is done, it can be fastened to the stone with a bead of caulk and adhesive. This will not only keep the photo firmly attached to the gravestone for many decades to come, but it will also allow you to replace it easily should it ever fall off or break.
How to create a ceramic tile
First, you have to choose the ceramic disk’s form and size. It’s essential to know the headstone’s size and the locations of any engravings that have been done. You will also need to decide whether you want a portrait or a landscape format.
It’s essential to use a photo that is clear and doesn’t have any flaws. If the picture has any defects, you’ll need to have it restored before using it for the procedure.
Once you have the photo, upload it to a platform that offers ceramic photo printing services. You’ll be sent the first output within a day or two, so you can make any modifications you want, and you should receive the finished product within a few days to weeks after the changes.
Installing ceramic pictures
Once you receive the ceramic picture, it’s time to install it on the gravestone. To do this, you’ll need strong adhesive, a pencil, measuring tape, scissors, cardboard, soap, alcohol, caulk, a rag, and a level.
Here’s how to install it on the gravestone:
- Choose the location on the headstone where the photo will be attached and use a pencil to mark it out.
- Clean the surface by rubbing alcohol on it. This removes any contaminants and prepares the surface for the glue. If you like, you can clean the entire grave, giving you a flat surface on which to operate.
- Peel off the paper backing if the printing company has already applied glue to the ceramic picture.
- Apply double-sided glue to the back side of the ceramic disc if it doesn’t come with one.
- Place the ceramic photo on the marked-out surface and hold it firmly in place for up to five minutes. until it’s completely dry.
- To add even more shine, caulk the space between the picture’s edges and the headstone with a premium silicone product. It will look like a more expert installation and prevent moisture from harming the adhesive.
A ceramic headstone photo costs between $100 and $350, depending on your chosen style and size.
2. Bronze Plaques
Bronze memorial plaques are a more subdued option if you have less interest in having an actual photograph placed on your loved one’s tombstone. A bronze memorial plaque can be personalized with an etched image of your loved one’s visage.
Since bronze is so resilient, you can be confident that the plaque will be able to endure the elements. However, to keep the plaque affixed to the headstone, you’ll need a powerful, long-lasting adhesive.
How to go about it
First, you need to have the deceased loved one’s photo etched into the bronze. There are lots of companies that can do this. Just ask for recommendations at your local store.
If you’re just starting out, you can also request that a bronze memorial plaque be included in a new headstone design.
Once you have the bronze plaque, you can then install it on the gravestone. To do that, you’ll need construction-grade adhesive, sandpaper, alcohol, a rag, and a pencil.
Steps to installing a bronze plaque
- Mark out the area where the plaque will be mounted with your pencil.
- Clean the headstone area where the plaque will be mounted with alcohol before mounting it.
- Sand the plaque’s back with sandpaper to make the surface more uneven so it can hold the glue.
- Apply the glue to the plaque’s back and then place it on the marked surface. Press It hard against the surface for up to 15 minutes or more before letting go.
- Wipe away any glue that may have touched other parts of the gravestone before it dries.
A bronze plaque with an etched portrait costs between $80 and $350, depending on your chosen style and size.
3. Photo memorial wreath
Displaying a photo memorial wreath on your loved one’s gravestone is possible if you’re looking for something a little more transient (especially during the holiday). A wooden picture frame can be included in a wreath’s design, and a picture of your loved one can be placed inside the frame. Place the custom wreath at the grave of your loved one over the holidays.
It will undoubtedly be a kind gesture on their part to make you and your family feel as though your loved one is present with you during such a joyous time of year. It is essential to confirm the cemetery’s rules on decorating because some cemeteries have limitations on what you are allowed to do.
How to go about it
You’ll need wooden photo frames that have been laser-cut, Christmas tree ornaments, festive fabric, a wooden wreath, pictures of your loved ones, waterproof solid adhesive, and waterproof lacquer.
- Place the deceased’s images in the wooden frames.
- Apply weatherproof lacquer to the photo and frame to shield them from the elements.
- Apply the same procedure to snowflakes and other ornaments with a winter theme.
- Place the lacquered ornaments between the photographs and glue them around the wreath.
- Add a substantial bow made of the same fabric wrapped to complete the wreath.
This transient ornament can be a beautiful introduction to the realm of headstone images. You can get all the essential supplies for considerably less than $100.
4. Electronic Grave marker
Although it may sound like science fiction, this is much closer to becoming true. Digital headstones are increasingly being used in the funeral business. These are digital screens, as opposed to traditional headstones. They present interactive exhibits about the deceased’s life and can include testimonials from their loved ones, images, videos, and music.
This results in a highly individualized headstone construction process. However, there is a reason why they haven’t yet become broadly accepted. Technology is constantly changing. People might not want to invest in a system that could become quickly outdated. As a result, we cannot assign a specific cost to this choice just yet.
5. Tombstone Image
We previously discussed ceramic photographs that could be affixed to a gravestone that was already in place. However, many businesses also incorporate this feature when making a new headstone by embedding the ceramic photo disc directly into the gravestone. This results in a more durable long-term choice.
When the images are affixed to the gravestone, they will be more secure. New headstones cost between $1,000 and $3,000.
If you have a grave deed that permits the headstone to be replaced, you can order a new one for an existing headstone.
6. Etched gravestone
Ceramic printed images of the deceased can be incredibly accurate. But after time, those pictures could start to appear outdated. As a result, some people choose to have a tombstone etched with a loved one’s image.
Metal and bronze surfaces are ideally suited for etching. You can acquire a very accurate depiction of the deceased carved into a bronze plaque or marble slab as add-on for a new headstone.
You can choose to have the image etched using a laser or by hand. Hand etching is a rare and challenging art that gives a memorial extraordinary character and uniqueness. A skilled hand engraver can take a landscape photograph or several photos and produce a unique image. For instance, your family members’ individual images could be combined into one coherent memorial portrait by a skilled hand etcher. Hand etching needs an astonishing level of precision and requires originality that a machine cannot duplicate.
Families who wish to duplicate an image on stone can use laser etching. This technique allows for the etching of portraits on the memorial at a reduced cost, yet it does not provide the same artistic distinctions as hand etching.
The cost of laser etching will be lower than that of hand etching. Hand etching is more expensive as it takes more time and work. However, it offers you a wider range of compensatory possibilities. That being said, it’s a lovely art form that will create a wholly original portrait of your loved one.
An etched photo can raise the ultimate cost of your headstone by $600 to $2,000, depending on its size and composition.
In conclusion, there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to including your loved one’s image or likeness on their headstone. Whether you choose to incorporate a real photograph or a more abstract etching, it will give life to their gravestone and make it easier for you to sense their presence when you visit them.