Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tombstone signs

With the upcoming anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, life advocates are planning marches, vigils, and rallies across the country. I first saw these tombstone signs in a picture of an Operation Rescue rally in Wichita back in the 1980s. They're a powerful reminder that women are still sometimes paying the ultimate price for the belief that they and their unborn children are mortal enemies.

The signs are easy to make, and now the foam board, that used to cost more than $3 a sheet at office supply stores, is available for $1 a sheet at Dollar Tree. I made a set of 40 for March for Life in DC.

Start by printing out the names, ages, dates of death, and so forth. I find that twice the width of a landscape-oriented letter-sized page is about the width of the sign. I also believe you get a nicer result if you vary the fonts among the signs. You can go to the Cemetery of Choice to choose women by age or date of death. If you want to choose women by location, you can do a search for a city or state.

When it's time to cut the signs, you'll need something large and rounded to guide you in cutting the tops. As you can see, I used a Christmas tree stand. A trash can lid, saucer sled, or tray will do as well. Use a razor knife. I would just score the foamboard sometimes. Other times I'd stack the foam board, use a bit more force, and just slice them through. Both ways work just fine -- just be careful that you don't damage your floor.

If you don't cut through the whole way on the first stroke, use the razor knife to cut through the rest of the way to get a nice rounded top. Scissors don't work well; they tend to mash the board and not give you a nice clean cut.

Cut the words for the front from the page where you've printed them. I've found that the double width of a landscape-oriented letter-sized sheet is just the right width. I can't see any real advantage in using legal sized paper, because it's not wide enough for the sign if you use a single sheet, and it's two wide if you go twice the width. Ledger sized paper would probably work well.

Spray adhesive works best. It allows you to reposition the words if you need to. It's inexpensive and available in the craft department of Wal-Mart, though if you prefer you can also get it at craft stores. Just be careful when you spray -- it tends to land on other things around the signs you're working on. Put old newspapers down if you don't want a thin sticky layer of glue on the floor.

With the spray adhesive, you have plenty of time to place the words on the sign. You can move them if you need to. I find that the razor knife works well for lifting the edges for repositioning. Just be warned -- your hands will get pretty gunky with a mix of glue and printer ink.

Print out each woman's story and put it on the back. You can also add copies of relevant documents that I link to, such as medical board disciplinary documents or news clippings. I put pictures on the front when I can get them, with additional pictures on the back when a woman's story has more than one photograph with it.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

these are great christina! i will be looking for them at the march!
love,
a

Mary E. said...

Great idea!