What is a Temporary Urn?

What is a temporary urn container?

A temporary urn or temporary urn container is a cardboard or plastic box that holds the ashes after cremation is complete.

In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about temporary urns.

Temporary Urn Containers

Once the cremation process is complete, the cremated remains (also commonly called "ashes") will be put into a plastic bag which is then placed into a sturdy plastic or cardboard box. This container is called a temporary urn.

How Big is a Temporary Urn?

There are a few basic sizes and types of temporary urns. Typically, it will hold about 200 inches of cremated remains. This is the standard size for an adult human.

Most often, the temporary urn will be approximately 8.5" wide by 6.5" tall and 4.5" deep. There are a few other sizes (6.5" x 6.5" x 5" is one we've seen) but by far the most common is the 8.5" x 6.5" x 4.5" one.

Temporary urns for non-adult or for pet remains will vary.

Read more about what size urn you need, or use our urn size calculator to quickly figure out the appropriate size urn you'll need.

Can I Put the Temporary Urn Into the Permanent Urn?

Generally, no.

While we do offer an urn designed to hold the standard 8.5" x 6.5" x 4.5" temporary urn (the Marquis, available here), we don't recommend going this route unless you absolutely must.

This is because,

  1. Most urns are not designed to hold a temporary urn, so your options will be extremely limited
  2. The inside of most urns is about equal to the inside of the temporary urn, so there is not enough room inside most urns
  3. To build an urn large enough to hold the temporary urn, it must be much larger than is truly necessary
  4. It incurs additional costs and is more bulky than it needs to be

Instead, it is much easier to simply take the plastic bag of remains from inside the temporary urn and transfer it into the permanent urn.

If you're not comfortable doing this, take the urn and the temporary urn to the funeral director and they'll be happy to assist you.

Can I Use the Temporary Urn as a Permanent Urn?

Yes, of course!

It's only called a "temporary urn" because most people prefer a nice, attractive, well-made urn to the simple cardboard or plastic box.

(Well, that and it's also kind of a sales tactic; when you hear "temporary urn" that implies that you need to buy a permanent urn, right?)

But you don't have to buy a different, "permanent" urn if you don't want to. Many families simply keep the original container at home or bury it at the cemetery - no need for one more expense.

Of course, others choose to purchase an attractive urn for ashes as a way to honor and celebrate the life of their loved one.

That's what we do; we have thousands of options for beautiful "permanent" urns that are well-crafted, beautiful, and can generally be personalized. If you do want to go with the best urn for your loved one, start here!