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How to wrap a body in a burial shroud for natural burial

How to Shroud A Body

How do I wrap a body in a burial shroud to bury in the ground?

Shrouds & Natural Burial

Many families have discovered new (yet old!) ways to honor their loved ones in how the body is buried. In making the decision of whether to bury or cremate, many factors are taken into consideration. One of the final disposition options that is becoming more widespread in recent years is shrouding.

Shrouding is simple, eco-friendly, and relatively affordable. Some faiths require it, some people simply prefer the aesthetics of it, some families are looking for a budget-friendly option, and of course many people have healthy concerns about the environemental impact of burial. For these reasons and many more, the idea of a natural burial with a body wrapped in a simple shroud is appealing to many families.

Depending on the cemetery and your personal preferences, a shrouded body can be placed directly into the ground or perhaps buried in a simple pine coffin or a biodegradable willow casket. These “natural burial” options are often less expensive than many traditional choices. Shrouds also forgo the use of metal, chemical finishes, or other non-biodegradable products.

Shrouds in particular contribute towards sustainable burial practices. Used to provide a sense of dignity and honor to the decedent, the shroud covers and protects the body while shielding it from public view during transportation and the burial process.

Families often use a burial shroud when conducting a funeral at home. This means that a lot of people are wondering, how do I wrap a body in a burial shroud? Let’s take a look at how to wrap a body in a burial shroud for natural burial using our Natural Bamboo Full-Body Burial Shroud.

Read on!

How to Shroud a Body for Natural Burial

Shroud Options

There are several ways to get a burial shroud. Your local cemetery or funeral home may have or offer them. If you are a member of a faith group that practices shrouding, you can sometimes obtain a shroud by asking your local clergy member for resources. You can make one yourself if you’re the DIY type.

Shrouded bodies can be buried or cremated in just the shroud, in a natural burial trundle or carrier, or in a biodegradable casket.

However, the most direct and probably the most affordable will be to order a shroud online and have it delivered to your door. Here are the top options for burial shrouds:

1. Natural Burial Shroud in Bamboo from Urns Northwest

How to shroud a body for burial

Available here

This full-body burial shroud is made from sustainably produced bamboo. This makes it suitable for eco-friendly ground burial or cremation. This is our flagship shroud. It’s beautifully woven for elegance and crafted with sturdy durability for your peace of mind. No dyes or treatments have been added, ensuring that the bamboo cloth is completely natural.

Tested to hold up to 350 lbs.

Price ranges from about $299-499 depending on the options you choose (size, handles for carrying). If you choose no handles, you’ll need something sturdy to use for transporting the body, such as a casket or carrier. You could conceivably get a stretcher like this one, but those have their downsides. Stretchers, however, are not very attractive, so we generally recommend one of these willow carriers for use in transporting the body. The carriers can be buried or cremated along with the shroud, or can be kept by the funeral home for re-use.

The premium burial shroud with handles can actually help you keep the costs down. With this option, you won’t need a separate carrying device such as a casket or carrier. The shroud with handles has a pouch sewn into the back so that you can slip a solid wooden board inside for support. Simply cut a 1/2″ board cut to size: 22″ wide and cut to length depending on how tall the person was.

2. Natural Burial Shroud in Cotton from Northwoods Casket

Natural Burial Shrouds from Northwoods Casket Company

Available here

This contemporary burial shroud is made from organic cotton, and includes handles, tie straps for closure, and wooden slats (which are optional) to insert along the back for support. These features make transport and handling of the shrouded body a little easier in the contemporary natural burial cemetery.

Suitable for an adult who weighed up to 220 lbs.

Priced at about $479, this is a beautiful and eco-friendly option for a natural full body burial.

If the individual is going to be cremated, or if you would like a more dignified way to carry the body, the shroud can come in a set which includes a handcrafted pine trundle. Together, the shroud and pine carrier set can be used for viewing and transportation of the body prior to cremation. The entire setup can be cremated, buried, or placed into a vault. The set runs about $979 and is completely eco-friendly.

How to wrap a body in a burial shroud

The instructions below are for shroud #1, above, the Natural Burial Shroud in Bamboo from Urns Northwest. Each shroud will come with full directions for use, but you can preview and download the information below. It’s always a good idea to know what you’re getting into ahead of time!

Shroud with handles:

  1. Unfold the shroud onto a clean dressing table. Make sure that the surroundings are clean, as the shroud may drape to the floor.
  2. Flip the shoud over so that the pouch is facing up and the handles are facing the floor. If you are placing the shroud into a casket or onto a carrier, skip ahead to Step #4.
  3. If using a board, insert the tapered end into the pouch first and slide board into desired location.
  4. Place the body onto the shroud. If using a board, center the body on the board. In order to correctly support the body weight, position the board between the back of the ankle and the top of the neck.
  5. Fold shroud over feet in order to wrap the feet.
  6. Cover the body, starting on one side and diagonally folding corner from foot to the opposite shoulder, and then from shoulder to the opposite foot.
  7. Repeat Step #6 for the opposite side of the body.
  8. Fold the end down over the head.
  9. Fold the sides inward over the body.
  10. Gently yet securely fasten the ties into a bow.
  11. Decorate the shroud, if you wish.
  12. To move the shroud, lift by the handles. DO NOT DRAG. Dragging can cause the fabric to tear.
  13. To transport the shrouded body in a vehicle, we recommend that you use a casket, willow carrier, gurney, or stretcher.

You can download or print these instructions from a PDF which includes basic illustrations: Instructions for Shrouding a Body (Shroud with Handles)

Shroud with no handles:

  1. Unfold the shroud onto a clean dressing table. Make sure that the surroundings are clean, as the shroud may drape onto the floor.
  2. Flip burial shroud over so that the hemmed edges face upward, then place the body onto the shroud.
  3. Fold shroud over feet in order to wrap the feet.
  4. Cover the body by starting on one side and diagonally folding the corner from foot to the opposite shoulder. Then fold from shoulder to the opposite foot.
  5. Repeat Step 4 on the opposite side of the body.
  6. Fold the end down over the head.
  7. Fold the sides in and over the body.
  8. Slide ties beneath the shrouded body.
  9. Gently yet securely fasten the ties into a bow.
  10. Decorate the shroud, if you wish.
  11. Because the burial shroud is simply a wrap and does not have handles or support, you should use it inside a casket or willow carrier.

You can download or print these instructions from a PDF which includes basic illustrations: Instructions for Shrouding a Body (Shroud with No Handles)

Shop Shrouds & Natural Burial Caskets

Premium-quality burial shrouds and eco-friendly caskets are available at our retail site Urns Northwest. Keep in mind that shrouded bodies can be buried in the shroud only, in a natural burial carrier, or in an eco-friendly casket. Any of these options will also work for use in cremation.

Pin this post to your “Final Arrangements” or “Memorial” board:

How to use a burial shroud

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