Here are twelve of our favorite and most inspiring ideas for a loved one's ashes.
- Beautiful Display Cremation Urns
- Burial in a Cemetery
- Columbarium Niche
- Dividing the Ashes
- Scattering the Ashes
- Ocean Scattering
- Cremation Ashes Art
- Memorial Plaque Cremation Urn
- Turn Cremation Ashes Into Glass
- Get a Tattoo with Cremation Ashes
- Cremation Jewelry
- Grow a Tree From Ashes
Let's take a look at each of these creative and meaningful memorial ideas.
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12 Inspiring Ideas for Loved One's Ashes
1. Beautiful Display Cremation Urns
Many cremation urns for ashes are genuine works of art. Here are some of the most beautiful:
- Memorial Plaque Urns - Custom wall decor personalized in memory of your loved one, and it discreetly doubles as a cremation urn to hold their ashes.
- Hand-Blown Glass Urns - Colorful blown glass art vessels with sublime craftsmanship, like the one shown above
- Wood Turned Urns - A single piece of wood (found from fallen trees, so no tree was cut down for these urns) hollowed out and turned on a lathe to highlight the natural beauty of the wood
- 3-Dimensional Inlay Art Urns - Wooden urns with incredible layered inlay art scenes made from various cuts of wood in their natural colors, assembled to give each theme a realistic 3D effect. Scenes include lighthouses overlooking the ocean, deer in the forest, a fisherman reeling in a catch, and many more
Begin your search for the perfect urn with one of those categories, or start with our best-selling urns.
2. Burial in a Cemetery
The contemporary trend of cremation meets the traditional disposition method of cemetery burial.
When cremated, you can choose to be buried in a cemetery plot. Often these are smaller sections that help conserve land while still providing the whole headstone-in-a-cemetery effect.
You can sometimes be buried with a loved one by having the urn placed inside the casket, or - if the cemetery allows - by being buried in the same plot.
Many of the cremation plots are designed so that the first person is buried deeper, leaving plenty of space for a second urn to go above. Their urn vault will be covered by a layer of sand or stone. When the plot is opened for the second person, the cemetery crew will stop at the sand or stone (before reaching the first person's remains, leaving them undisturbed).
3. Columbarium Niche
A columbarium is a wall or structure with spaces - niches - specifically designed to hold cremation urns. Available at many cemeteries, churches, and funeral homes, these niches create a legacy space for your loved one's remains that is different burial with a headstone, yet still has a similar feel.
The niches can be enclosed in marble in an outdoor wall, like those shown above, or they can be inside a building. Interior niches may sometimes have glass covers so that you can see the cremation urn and other display items such as a photo, flowers, name plate, and more.
Learn more about columbarium niches here.
4. Dividing the Ashes
I still remember when I first heard about dividing ashes. It sounded so strange... then again, death itself so often seems foreign to us and it's not always easy to know what to do.
So you may be surprised to hear that many families divide the ashes.
There are many reasons why this might be done. Here are a few:
- The person who died wanted their ashes divided
- Each family member would like to have the remains, or a portion of the remains
- The remains will be buried or scattered, but you would like to keep some of the ashes at home
- Family members disagree on what to do with the ashes
- Placing some of the ashes into cremation jewelry
Dividing the ashes allow you (and/or others in the family) to do a wide range of memorial ideas. Read more here.
5. Scattering the Ashes
Scattering is one method of final disposition that just keeps increasing in popularity. Families appreciate the inherent creativity and individuality that is expressed when ashes are scattered.
You can divide up the remains and scatter in many different locations. The locations themselves can vary, from scenic mountaintops to your backyard; from meaningful locations (where he proposed) to ordinary ones (by his back patio chair).
Learn more about scattering ashes here.
6. Ocean Scattering
Another popular way to scatter the ashes is to do so in the ocean. The ocean currents will help spread your loved one's ashes all over the world.
This is an appealing idea because it has a sense of new experiences, exploration, discovery, and eternity.
Learn more here.
7. Cremation Ashes Art
Did you know that you can make art from ashes? Absolutely.
Below we mention two ways this can be done, by mixing the remains into glass art or into tattoo ink for a memorial tattoo. Here are a few more:
- Paintings - mix the ashes into paint
- Sculptures - mix the ashes into the sculpture medium
- Jewelry - the ashes are made as part of the pendant, rather than simply placed into a chamber
- Garden stones - mix the ashes into concrete; here's how
For further inspiration, here are 15 memorial ideas made from cremated remains.
8. Memorial Plaque Cremation Urn
Our original Pacific Crest Memorial Plaque Urns collection is a unique entry in our list of inspiring ideas for your loved one's ashes.
Your memorial is handcrafted and personalized to order in our Oregon shop, custom made for you. It will hang on the wall, and it looks every bit like the beautiful memorial plaque it is.
But it's more than that, too.
Behind the front panel there is space for your loved one's remains. It holds an above-average capacity of 237 cubic inches of remains, but does so without drawing attention to the fact that it is a cremation urn.
Personalization is included, so this is the perfect solution for when you're looking for something different to with your loved one's ashes.
9. Turn Cremation Ashes Into Glass
Glass art is beautiful, as it captures light in new and unexpected ways. And it can be meaningful too, especially as a memorial that incorporates your loved one's remains.
There are many artists that will use the ashes in the glass-blowing or sculpting process. These art pieces can be pendants for jewelry, sculptured glass shapes (like a hummingbird or a flower), stained glass windows, and more.
10. Get a Tattoo with Cremation Ashes
The "tattoo with ashes" idea is an up-and-coming trend for those who want to go beyond the typical memorial tattoo.
Your tattoo artist will take a small amount of the remains and mix them into the tattoo ink. So not only will you have a permanent memorial of body art, you'll actually have something of your loved one "with" you at all times.
This is an especially popular idea for pet memorial tattoos.
11. Cremation Jewelry
Cremation jewelry is an inspiring idea for your loved one's remains because it gives you a way to keep them close.
Options for cremation jewelry include necklaces, rings, and bracelets, each which has a pendant or charm with a tiny compartment that holds a small amount of ashes. You order the jewelry, open the mini compartment, put a small pinch of remains inside, then close it back up (instructions and tools are included).
The cross pendant, shown above, has a screw that removes to open the hollow interior. It also has a lava bead which you can use to diffuse essential oils, adding a soothing touch to your memorial. (See all diffuser memorial jewelry here.)
There are also jewelry pieces that are actually made with the ashes incorporated into the jewelry. For these unique memorials, you would send us a small amount of the ashes by certified mail. Our jewelers will then make a gorgeous pendant with your loved one's remains mixed in. See options here.
12. Grow a Tree From Ashes
This is a very popular trend, for many reasons. But first, let's look at how it works.
To grow a tree from your loved one's ashes, you'll need a special urn that help neutralize the pH naturally found in cremated remains.
Our memorial tree urns do just that, which allows a living tree to grow and thrive. The urns also include a tree seed and a special mixture that helps nourish the young tree as it grows.
If you now have a good idea of what you want to do with your loved one's ashes, great! We're glad to have helped. You can begin shopping for the perfect urn or memorial here.
If you want to continue learning about final disposition options, here are some popular and helpful articles: