Your Step-by-Step Guide to How Monuments Are Made

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Alecia Milano
Posted by Alecia Milano on October 3, 2023

Crafting a memorial that honors the life and legacy of a loved one takes time—sometimes up to 12 months 

From choosing the ideal headstone design to adding personalized accents that reflect your loved one's essence, below we walk you through the journey of creating a lasting tribute. 

Whether you have a clear vision or are just beginning to explore headstone design possibilities, our specialists are here to share how monuments are made.  

1. Choose an Ideal Headstone Design 

Designing a memorial is a deeply personal and meaningful process. Some families know exactly what they want, while others need more guidance and time to weigh their options and thoughts. 

At Milano Monuments, we understand that this initial step in creating a headstone can be both emotionally significant and somewhat overwhelming. Whether you have an idea of what you want in a headstone or not, a memorial specialist can guide you through your options, like choosing a granite color, selecting a memorial shape, picking the perfect lettering style and exploring all other customizations you have in mind.  

Adams - Memorial Sketch - Golf ClubsAnselmo - Memorial Sketch - Produce-1Miller - Memorial Sketch - Projector

During this step, you will also choose any symbols or memorial quotes you’d like, and custom add-ons like pictures, statues or carvings. Our memorial specialists will be there to listen, understand your wishes and ensure that your design reflects your loved one.  

Tip: If you need help understanding what’s possible when it comes to headstone design, our tool will put together a headstone vision board unique to your preferences. Click here to try it out.    

2. Source Headstone Materials

Selecting the ideal granite for your headstone is a pivotal step in the memorial creation process. The availability of granite colors is as diverse as the world itself, with origins spanning from North America, Asia, India, Europe and beyond. 

MM_Granite Color Grid - 2023

At Milano Monuments, we strive to maintain a wide inventory of granite colors. Some of the more common hues are readily available in our stock, while others may need to be procured from regional quarries or even imported from overseas. The availability of specific colors can vary depending on our current inventory, so it's always a good idea to explore your options with our team. 


3. Send Headstone Design to Cutter and Blotter Machine

Once a design has been approved by your family and all materials are in house, the next step is the actual production of the monument. This can take six to 12 weeks for standard memorials, and up to three to six months for custom designs. 

Our skilled stoneworking team puts your design through a cutter and blotter machine which delicately cuts out a rubber stencil that will serve as the blueprint for the headstone's final design. 

Once the stencil is cut out, it is adhered to the stone and the production team ensures everything is lined up perfectly before removing the letters and designs with a stencil knife. 

4. Sandblast and Highlight the Headstone Lettering

The next phase of a headstone’s production is sandblasting. This is where a machine cuts the design into the actual granite. 

Once this step is completed, our stoneworking professionals step in to add the finishing touches that you have selected to honor your loved one's memory. 

You can opt for a natural finish, allowing the stone's inherent beauty to shine through. Alternatively, you may choose a highlight finish to make the design pop, or even a touch of gold. There's also the option of using black and white headstone paint to create a striking contrast, emphasizing the significance of the inscription. 

This step is where your vision truly comes to life, as we transform a blank canvas of stone into a personalized and enduring monument. 

5. Incorporate Custom Headstone Accents

Next, the production team incorporates any custom accents that were requested. These thoughtful touches can include hand-tooled letters, a diamond-hand-etched portrait, porcelain photos, bronze or aluminum accents, and hand carvings or statues.  

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This step is one of our favorites at Milano Monuments as it allows families to infuse the memorial with distinctive elements that reflect the personality and interests of their beloved family member. 


6. Transport and Install Headstone 

Depending on when your headstone is completed, the memorial provider will arrange to transport and install your loved one’s memorial, taking into consideration weather conditions and time of year. At the time of installation, the team will ensure everything is level and will install final touches, like vases to hold flowers.  

Lui Monument Being Set

In the winter months, providers may need to wait for warmer weather to place the headstone. In the interim, a temporary wooden cross can be custom-made to honor the memory of your loved one. Note: Delivery can take anywhere from two to four weeks. To check on the status of your headstone, fill out this form 

Wooden Crosses_All

Discover Your Favorite Headstone Elements 

Oftentimes once families fully understand the steps to creating a monument, they feel better about beginning the headstone design process. If that’s the case for you, we encourage you to use our headstone vision board tool to identify the elements you want to see in your loved one’s memorial.  

Topics: Memorialization

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