8 Things You Need to Know About Cremation Urns

If you’re like most people, chances are this is the first you’ve thought about what exactly, if anything, you need to know about cremation urns.

What is a cremation urn anyways? Are there any requirements for buying or using one? How do you use one? Is there anything you should be aware of?

I remember my first week working for Urns Northwest… I barely knew what cremation was, let alone any answers to questions a customer may have about the urns on our website. The memory of having absolutely no clue sticks with me!

In the 10+ years since that first week, I’ve picked up quite a bit from quality training, handling the products, talking with others in the funeral industry, researching, and interacting with customer inquiries. I’ve written many articles on this website as it’s grown into one of the top resources on funerals, urns, and final arrangements.

So here’s a bit of what I’ve learned – eight things you need to know about cremation urns.

1. A cremation urn is simply a container

What is an urn? An urn is just a container – box, vessel, capsule, etc. – which holds the remains (also called “ashes”) after cremation.

If you’re not the sentimental type, you can use a bag or a coffee can. You can make your own from wood, ceramic, or even paper mache. You can also commission an artist to make a custom urn from wood, ceramic, or just about any other type of material.

Our most popular urns are decorative wood boxes with woodcut art scenes of butterflies, lighthouses, country lanes, and other heartwarming themes. Collections of hand-made ceramic urns and blown glass art memorials are close behind. We have cultured granite and marble urns, urns made from metal, paper, sand, and even cornstarch.

There are urns which use the ashes to help grow a memorial tree, urns shaped like turtles, and creative urns that don’t look like urns at all. Just about any shape, style, or design you can think of has been made into an urn.

2. You don’t have to buy a cremation urn from the funeral home

You can build your own, buy your own, buy from the funeral home, or use the “temporary urn” in which the remains will come from the crematorium.

There are no regulations as to what constitutes an urn, and the only laws that exist regarding cremation urns are to ensure that funeral homes do not require or unduly press you into purchasing from them. (You can read the actual laws here.)

Since families can often easily pull up cremation urns online via their smartphones, funeral homes have generally become more competitive in their pricing, more exclusive in their product selection, or both.

Funeral homes used to have a (sometimes unfair) reputation for ripping off their customers, but the accessibility of information via the internet has leveled the playing field and helped remove some of the stigma.

So if you find that the funeral home offers an urn that is perfect for you and the family at a good price, go for it. Just be aware that you are free to choose any urn from any provider.

Related: Funeral Costs: Here’s what to expect

3. You can (usually) rent an urn for the funeral service

This is a great way to get the exact urn you want without having to pay big $$ for expensive overnight rush shipping.

Most funeral homes have a selection of nice cremation urns which you can “rent” for use during the memorial service. For a small rental fee, you can avoid the stress and headache of trying to order an urn online, arrange expedited shipping, pay the extra costs, and make sure that someone is around to sign for the package.

At Urns Northwest, most of our finest cremation urns take several days up to a week to produce and personalize for you.

If your memorial service date is approaching, take advantage of our offer of free ground shipping and rent an urn locally. This will save you stress and money while allowing you to receive the exact urn you and your family truly want for your loved one.

4. Cremation urns made in the USA are much, much better

Generally speaking, of course. There are exceptions; while we at Urns Northwest specialize in American-made urns, we also offer a few very high-quality urns made elsewhere and imported into the States. These are all premium quality imports from genuine artisans.

On the flip side, here in the USA there are getting to be more knock-off vendors who are attempting to jump into online urn sales. So you might find a few items which are “made in America” but have lower-than-expected quality. Those are the exceptions, however.

By and large, when you see companies or websites that have been around for a while, are well-reviewed, and offer return policies which stand behind their American-made products, the memorial you receive will be of a much higher quality than the bargain-basement import items you’ll find at major name-brand retailer websites.

Check the website’s About Us page or the individual product pages to make sure that you’re getting an urn made in the USA.

5. Capacity (not exterior measurements) is what matters for urn size

One question we often receive from our customers is about what size urn to get. Often, the customer is thinking about the outside measurements of the urn, when what they are really wanting to know is the capacity.

Since many urns have decorative accents or edges, exterior dimensions (which are listed in the product details) are not the best way to figure out if the urn is the right size to hold the ashes.

Urn capacity is measured in cubic inches, and most standard adult urns are about 200 cubic inches, which will hold the remains of an individual weighing roughly 200 lbs.

For more information on figuring out how many cubic inches you need, click here.

You may be looking for the inside measurements in order to insert the entire “temporary urn” that you received from the funeral home.

Since our urns are designed to hold the same capacity as one of those temporary urns, they generally won’t fit inside a standard cremation urn. However, we do have an urn designed to hold most temporary urns… just be sure to check the interior dimensions listed on the product page to ensure that the temporary plastic or cardboard urn will fit.

6. Exterior measurements generally only matter for placement

The exterior measurements can be important depending on where the urn is going. If an urn is going to be placed into a columbarium niche, then you will definitely want to make sure that the outside dimensions of memorial urn will fit into the opening.

Or perhaps you would like an urn that fits onto a mantle or shelf, or some other specific location. In these cases, and also just for the sake of having an idea of the physical size of the item you are going to receive, it is helpful to know the exterior dimensions.

The important thing to remember is this: Unless you have a particular placement in mind for displaying the urn, you do not need to worry about the exterior dimensions of the memorial. The capacity of the urn is the determining factor for sizing.

Related: How Many Urns Can Be Buried in One Plot?

7. Purchasing a cremation urn pre-need is a smart thing to do

There are many advantages to buying an urn before you actually need it. If the urn is for yourself, you can pick out exactly the one you want. At the same time, you’ll help your family to avoid the stress of an extra decision to make. This checks off a big item on their to-do list for arranging the funeral.

Purchasing the urn in advance allows the family member who will be passing soon to participate in the selection process if they so choose. It also keeps you from having one more thing to take care of in the days after they depart this world.

Even if you or your loved ones are not planning on dying anytime soon, it is still a good idea to get the cremation urn now. You can store the urn in the box in which it comes (our urns are always shipped in well-protected packaging). Or, if you’re going with a designer ceramic or wood art urn, you can add the piece to your home décor.

You’ll also save some cash when ordering the urn in advance. Instead of paying the ever-increasing rush shipping costs to get an urn quickly after a death in the family, you can go with the free delivery option. This saves you from plenty of headaches, stress, additional choices, and excessive shipping charges.

Benefits of buying an urn ahead of time:

  • Peace of mind knowing your resting place has been finalized
  • You get the exact urn you want
  • You can choose the inscription or personalization you want
  • No need to pay expedited shipping fees
  • No chance of delay-causing shipping mishaps
  • You save your loved ones from additional stress

8. The funeral home will transfer the remains for you

Despite the unfortunate stigma sometimes associated with morticians, most are really quite nice. Part of their job is to take care of the remains for you. And since the law requires the funeral home to use any container you choose, they will transfer the remains into the cremation urn of your choice.

But sometimes, if you decide to order an urn online and it shows up a few weeks after everything is done, the funeral home or crematorium will give you the remains in an inexpensive cardboard or plastic box, known as a temporary urn.

If you’re uncomfortable transferring the ashes into the permanent urn yourself, you can bring both the temporary and permanent urns to the funeral director and they or their staff will usually complete the transfer in a few minutes without a problem.

Common Questions About Cremation Urns

Here’s everything else you might want or need to know about urns.

What is a cremation urn?

A cremation urn is any container that holds cremated remains. From a coffee can to an urn disguised as a shelf, from a DIY cremation urn to a traditional cultured marble urn, anything you choose to use to hold the “ashes” is by default a cremation urn.

How do you do the urn inscription when buying pre-need?

The real question behind this is how do you engrave dates when the person is still living? We have an entire article devoted to that here, but for now, here are the main points.

No Inscription

  • Get the urn now, just don’t engrave it
  • Have a nameplate engraved at a trophy shop when you need it

With Inscription

  • Note that matching the size/font of engraved partial dates (eg, “1946 – ____”) is very difficult and not recommended; many engravers won’t do it at all
  • We recommend engraving the person’s name and any sentiment desired, just skip the dates
  • You could also do a partial engraving into the surface of the urn, then later cover it up with a name plate

What are my consumer rights when buying an urn?

According to the FTC’s Funeral Rule, you have the right to:

  • Buy only the funeral arrangements you want (including the cremation urn)
  • Get price information on the telephone
  • Get a written, itemized price list when you visit a funeral home
  • See a written casket price list before you see the actual caskets
  • See a written outer burial container price list
  • Receive a written statement after you decide what you want, and before you pay
  • Get an explanation in the written statement from the funeral home that describes any legal cemetery or crematory requirement
  • Use an “alternative container” (a cardboard casket) instead of a casket for cremation
  • Provide the funeral home with a casket or urn you buy elsewhere
  • Make funeral arrangements without embalming

Most funeral homes will gladly comply with all of these and more. Learn how to choose a good funeral home here.

Is there a regulation as to how large or small a urn can be?

No, there is no regulation about the size of an urn. An urn is simply any container that holds cremated ashes. The key, generally speaking, is to figure out the volume of the cremated remains and then get an urn to fit.

As long as the remains fit into the urn, there are no regulations or requirements concerning how large or small the urn should be.

How much ashes will there be after cremation?

The rule of thumb used in the industry is that there will be approximately 1 cubic inch of cremated remains per 1 lbs of pre-cremation body weight.

Read our guides to learn more about the cremation process and cremated remains (ashes).

What urn sizes are available?

Cremation urn sizes are measured by volume in cubic inches. To figure out what size you need, simply take the weight of the individual and convert it at a 1:1 ratio to cubic inches.

So, for example:

  • A 175 pound man will require an urn with a capacity of roughly 175 cubic inches
  • A 12 lbs pet will require an urn with a capacity of 12 cubic inches
  • Two people whose combined weight equals 360 pounds will require a “companion urn” of roughly 360 cubic inches

With that sizing rule of thumb in mind, here are some of the most common urn sizes available:

  • Standard Adult Cremation Urn – 200 cubic inches
  • Companion Urn – 400 cubic inches
  • Keepsake – Designed to hold a very small amount of remains, typically between 1 and perhaps 50 cubic inches
  • Small/Child/Pet – Smaller urns in the range of 10 to 100 cubic inches
  • Cremation Jewelry – Holds a small pinch of remains in a locket or pendant

Where can I keep the urn?

Cremation urns can be buried, placed into a columbarium niche, or kept at home.

If you’re bringing the urn home, here are some ideas for storage or display:

  • Mantle or shelf
  • End table
  • Bedside table
  • Bedroom vanity
  • In your walk-in closet
  • Storage closet, drawer, or cupboard
  • Garage, basement, or attic
  • Near where you spend most of your time:
    • Coffee table near your favorite reading chair
    • End table in the TV room
    • On the desk in your home office
    • On a shelf in the sewing/craft room

Continue reading here for even more urn display ideas.

How do you use a cremation urn for scattering ashes?

Here are the different ways you can scatter ashes from the urn. For more information on scattering, see our guide here.

Scattering Urns for Pouring

The ‘typical’ and most common way ashes are scattered is by pouring them out.

Whether from a helicopter, on a mountaintop, or at sea from a boat, the idea is the same: use a container that helps you easily transport the ashes to the scattering location, and provides ease of use when pouring out the remains.

Here are some scattering urns designed for this. Of course, you can use any urn you like, but ceramic urns can break, wood urns need the screws holding in the base removed, etc.

Scattering Urns for Water

Water scattering is a popular choice, but some families are worried about things like the wind blowing or the ashes being spilled.

That is why we offer a selection of urns that biodegrade upon contact with water. This makes scattering at sea very simple. All you need to do is fill the biodegradable urn beforehand, take it with you out to sea, then drop or gently set it in the ocean and the water will take care of the rest.

These urns are engineered to float for a few minutes, then slowly descend to biodegrade over time on the ocean floor. As the eco-friendly urn wears away, the ashes will be dispersed by the ocean’s natural currents.

Scattering Urns for Burial

A third option relating to scattering ashes is via ground burial. When cremation urns are buried at a cemetery, the urn is ensconced in a burial vault which protects the urn and keeps nature from interfering with the remains.

However, some families like the idea of returning to the earth: “earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” The idea is that, when committed to the earth, the person’s remains will not be kept away from nature but actually return to it.

So there are biodegradable, eco-friendly urns for this type of burial. These urns biodegrade when buried due to contact with the environment, and ever so slowly, over time, the remains are “scattered” into the ground.

How do you fly with a cremation urn?

You will need (and most likely want!) to take the urn as a carry-on item. The main condition is that you will need to make sure the urn can be scanned during the security screening, as the TSA will not open a cremation urn.

More information here.

More questions?

Check out our complete resource on cremation here. Also, here are answers to 25 weird questions people always wonder about regarding cremation.

Lastly, you can shop for cremation urns at our retail store and sister site, Urns Northwest. Our customer service team is always ready to answer any questions you have about urns and how to use them.

This article was originally published in 2014. We have revised and expanded it to keep up to date with the changing times.

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86 thoughts on “8 Things You Need to Know About Cremation Urns”

  1. You answered every question I had about urns….now I can make my own with out worry. Thank you so much..

  2. Hi Deeann,

    Great question! Most metal urns are a little rougher-looking on the inside, because they are not finished.


  3. Hi Phyllis,

    It’s different for each situation. One suggestion might be to get a different plastic bag, set it inside the urn, then pour from the original into the new one.

    I hope this helps!

    Thank you,

  4. I plan to be cremated when my time comes. I want an urn shaped like a cat. Kind of like the ancient Egyptians would use. Do you sell something like that or know where I can find one?

  5. My wife passed away a little while ago, we have a wish that when my time comes, my ashes are to be mixed with hers. Are there urns big enough to accommodate all the ashes of 2 people?

  6. Hi Tony,

    Yes, there are urns large enough to hold the ashes of two people. They’re called “https://urnsnw.com/companion-urns/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Companion Urns” and you can see our collection at the link.

    Thank you,

  7. How long can I keep the ashes in the plastic container the funeral home put them in? Will something happen to them?

  8. You should be able to keep them in the temporary urn as long as you like. The urn may not be too durable or attractive but should fill the need until you find what you want to use for a more permanent memorial.

  9. My mom wants to have her creamated ashes put in a urn then buried in the grave with my brother who passed years ago. Will I need to put the urn inside of another container such as a vault?

  10. Yes! You can definitely paint the inside of an urn if you like. Most urns have an inside that is unfinished and similar in color to the exterior.

  11. I didn’t realize that sizing the exterior measurements of an urn could be misleading. I guess it makes sense that the capacity could vary quite a bit from the dimensions if the shape is a little different. My grandmother has asked that she be cremated when she passes, so we have been looking into finding the right urn for her. I will have to keep this in mind so I make sure to get the right size.

  12. Thanks for the question, Lisa! If the temporary urn is plastic, it will take a long, long time to deteriorate. If it’s cardboard, then yes, it will decompose somewhat quickly.

  13. Do wooden urns deteriorate in the sea? I plan to buy a beautiful cherry wood urn for my grandfather’s burial in the sea but I’m concerned that it will float to the top.

  14. Hi Nia,

    Yes, wooden urns will deteriorate in the ocean. It will take longer than a paper-based biodegradable urn, but it will definitely biodegrade. Add some weights if you’re concerned about it floating, or drill holes in the wooden urn and use a biodegradable plastic bag to hold the remains.

  15. Sometimes, but generally no. This is because the cremated remains (or “ashes”) come from the crematorium in a plastic bag inside of a plastic/cardboard box. If you keep the remains inside the plastic bag, you do not need to seal the urn.

    Wood and metal urns typically have a removeable bottom panel, which opens with screws. No need for sealant when using the plastic bag. Some stone and metal urns have threaded stoppers, which usually include a gasket. Ceramic and glass urns have lids, and the remains are often poured inside. For these, sealant is optional, usually a silicone based sealant. I hope this helps!

  16. Are the temporary urns safe for shipping? I need to send cremains via usps and they ask the container be “sift-proof”.

  17. Someone else asked about having an urn buried and if that would require putting it another container such as a vault. You told her it probably would but to check with the cemetery. What exactly is involved in this vault container ?

  18. Hi Nancy,

    Yes, the temporary urns are typically safe for shipping. Take it in to USPS and they will have the appropriate label for shipping cremated remains.

    Thank you!

  19. Do you sell or could you recommend a fireproof urn I can’t find any information
    Angela Griffith

  20. Hi Angela,

    Thanks for asking! Unfortunately very few things are fireproof; your best options for a heat-resistant urn would be:
    1) Metal
    2) Ceramic
    Fire will damage just about any cremation urn, but I would choose one of those two materials as best suited to withstand fire damage.

    Thanks again!

  21. Hello,
    My husband was cremated last year and I have his remains in a wooden container as the funeral director told me I could not fly with it if it was in a metal container.
    Now I want to take my husband’s remains back to be buried with my daughter who passed years ago. I was wondering if I need a cement container or something else to put the wooden box in and if so, where would I get it.
    Thank you for your help.

  22. Hi Mary,

    The product you are talking about is called a vault, specifically a cremation urn vault. We offer an affordable selection of urn vaults here.

    In general terms, you don’t need a vault to bury your urn; however, many cemeteries require it to maintain the integrity of the landscape. In other words, a vault helps make it so that that ground doesn’t cave in as the urn deteriorates over time. If the cemetery requires it, or if you want to protect and preserve the ground as much as possible, then you will probably want an urn vault. If you don’t mind a bit of ground sinking over time and if the cemetery allows it, then you do not need one.

    You can read more information about vaults and how/when to use them here.

    I hope this helps!

  23. I am planning my service now and have one question: We have my son’s urn , we have spread his
    ash’s and the urn is empty I would like to use his urn for more ash’s for my memorial service is
    that allowed? Please answer by email.

  24. Hi Kathy,

    I’ll reply via email but post it here so others can see as well. Yes, you can use the urn in any way you like. Many people prefer an urn to be used only for one person, but the idea of using the same urn for close family members definitely has an appeal.

  25. Hi Mary,

    No, the container does not have to be airtight. It is ideal to place (or keep, since the remains come like this) the remains in a plastic bag which will ensure that they do not spill out of the container. Hope this helps!

  26. My husband’s ashes are in a box within a box. The outer box holds memorabilia like his ring, picture, cross, etc. It will be going in a vault at the cemetery. Should I bury both boxes, or could I keep the outer box with the memories in it? It is a beautiful polished wood box, but I don’t mind burying it if that is the right thing to do.

  27. Hi Christena,

    Sounds like you have a beautiful memorial planned. It’s ultimately up to you, but since the remains are already contained within a box you may prefer keeping the outer box as a memory chest. But again, it is up to you!

  28. My Mom’s urn was returned to us by the crematorium completely sealed. No silicone seal, no plug, twist-off lid. Nothing! Is this normal?

  29. Hi Robert,

    Yes, the crematorium or funeral home will typically seal the urn. How to open it will depend on what type of urn it is – wood, metal, ceramic, etc. Since there are so many types of urns with different designs and opening styles, the best way to find an answer is to contact the crematorium and ask them. Hope this helps!

  30. My Dad died 4 years ago and Mom died many years ago, so it was up to my sister and I to figure things out. I did discover that Costco, Sam’s, Walmart all sell caskets and urns. We bought Dad’s urn online at Costco. We did not pay an arm an leg. It was so much more reasonable and is gorgeous. Has solid wood with an inlay of praying hands on the side and on the top is an inlay of a cross. We were very pleased. The laws are funny about mailing to some states. I had to recieve it here in Colorado, then ship it to my sister in Minnesota. That is where they live and where he was buried.
    Thank you for your helpful information. We have used this funeral home a few times, yet he still wanted to charge us way too much for an urn and we are glad we did not go through him. We had a “celebration of life” for Dad at his elder living apartment party room. It was nice.

  31. I found a beautiful all pewter urn at a reasonable price, right dimensions, and size. My question is, it says it is for pets! It looks similar to the human urns, but is considerably cheaper. Is this wrong to even consider for my miscarried grandbaby? Is there any differences I should know about?

  32. Hi Lisa,

    There is absolutely no difference between a “pet” urn and a child/human urn. Many times the exact same product is listed twice, once as a pet urn and a second time as a keepsake urn, a small urn, or a child urn. Physically, urns are simply containers of various sizes for the ashes. Pet urns are actually ideal for use as a small-sized human urn because they are typically less expensive (though be careful, because sometimes the cheaper products are made from cheaper materials or less quality construction).

    So to sum up, as long as the “pet” urn doesn’t have, say, a paw print on it, you can totally use it as an urn for human ashes. It’s just the marketing name. So I say, if you’ve found the perfect pewter urn, go for it! Glad you found something affordable that you like for your beloved grandbaby.

  33. I’m looking for an urn that is made from a motorcycle engine cylinder. I did find one I liked online, but the company that had them has quit carrying them. I used to see quite a few different kinds of them but now I can’t find any. Advice/Suggestions?

  34. I’ve been looking for a double urn that both my ashes and my husbands ashes can go in together but one internal compartment ,do you know where I could get one made

  35. Hello, im unsure if I want to be burried or cremated. I feel like if im put in ground I will be forgotten over the years. People will get to busy to stop and visit me. So cremation will probably be the way I go. Im a huge fan of the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team. Do you have any College urns? Thank you.

  36. Hi Jen,
    No, we don’t have any Kentucky Wildcats or other college-themed urns. You’d need to contact them to ask permission to reproduce their logo, since it is under copyright. Thanks for your comment!

  37. What great information! In reading some of the Q and A you are very informative Thank you so much!

  38. are loved ones allowed to view the transfer of ashes from temporary urn to permanent urn?

    also i’ve run into a problem with the furneral home, i asked the ashes to be place into 2 separate urns, one for burial and the other for keepsake at home, but all the ashes were placed into the burial urn.
    Can you suggest how to proceed with correcting this error?

  39. Hi Jeff,

    Yes, you should be allowed to view the transfer of ashes if you want. Just ask the funeral director. You can also transfer the remains into the urn yourself.

    If all of the remains have been placed into one urn, it’s fairly simple to transfer a portion into another urn. Get a plastic bag to hold the remains you are putting into the new urn. Then open the first urn and carefully pour or scoop some of the remains into the new plastic bag, which you can then place into the second urn. We have an article and several videos discussing how to open and fill urns here: https://urnsnw.com/how-to-open-an-urn/

  40. thanks for replying, i did watch the video, unfortunately the ashes were placed in a bronze urn with a snap lock lid. the urn would be too damaged to repair/reuse for burial.
    unlike other cremations i viewed, i was allowed to watch the transfer of the ashes, so i thought it was odd this funeral home did not, but found out after the fact, its their policy.

  41. I am a retire truck driver and would like a thermos bottle for my ashes. Is there any law that will prevent this. Thank you for any help in doing this . Gene Stone Sr., 40 years over the road .Gene

  42. Hi Gene,

    No, there is no law against using a thermos bottle. You can use any container you like. If the thermos is going to go into a niche or be buried at a cemetery, you might need to clear it with them. But if the remains will be kept at home, a thermos is perfectly fine.

  43. Great Questions and Answer section. I have learned quite a lot. Thank you.
    I saw a few questions and answers about the type of “urn” including a thermos. Then is it safe to assume that any vessel will do? I have an old favorite froggy cookie jar with an air tight seal around the top. Everyone knows that I love my frog collection and knows me to be a bit silly and whimsical. So this would not be a shock or surprise to them. Will this frog cookie jar be acceptable?

  44. Hi Dawn,
    Yes, absolutely! You can definitely use your froggy cookie jar. Even if it seals pretty well, I’d still recommend using a plastic bag to secure the remains inside whatever vessel you use. But with that extra step of precaution (sealing the remains in a plastic bag – a ziploc would do fine) you should be able to use just about any vessel or container you like!

  45. I’ve had my mom’s ashes in the box for almost 4 years. Finally ready to spread some and keep some. I have a beautiful butterfly vase she gave to me years ago I would like to put some in; however, it has no top. Is that appropriate?

  46. Hi Brenda,

    Yes, you can absolutely use the vase she gave you! I’d suggest that you place the remains into a plastic bag first to secure the remains, especially since it doesn’t have a top/lid. Hope this helps. Thanks!

  47. my husband passed 5 years ago, he was cremated, we chose to spread his ashes. when I pass can they use his cremation box for my ashes too and simply date my passing as well on his wooden box?

  48. Hi Brenda,

    Great question! Yes, you can definitely have your family use the same urn! I think that’s a brilliant idea, a way to “upcycle” the urn. It will save you the cost of purchasing a second urn, plus it has tremendous meaning – you and your husband get to share one more special thing, even after passing. Then your family can use it as a keepsake box if they wish. Thanks for your comment!

  49. My husband recently passed away. I chose a brass memorial urn to keep him at home with me. Is it ok to put his ashes directly into the urn or does it need to be in a sealed bag? The urn is vase shape with a twist on top.

  50. Hi Kylee,

    Good question! Either way is fine for that type of urn. If you keep the ashes in a plastic bag, you won’t need to seal the lid to the urn, and if for some reason you ever needed to remove the remains, the entire bag should be able to come out. But you can also pour the remains directly into the urn. Hope this helps!

  51. After looking at many types of urns, my relative asked me to turn one from Maple Wood. He was delighted with the result.
    Maybe there are others who would prefer the natural effect of a wooden designed urn.

  52. HI, My Dad passed away in feb we had a cremation. I am now looking to make a biodegradable urn to set out into the sea. can you please give me any information on how i can make this a beautiful send off.
    Thank you

  53. Hi Sharon, if you’re looking to make your own biodegradable water burial urn, you might consider paper mache. Do a web search for DIY paper mache, and shape it into a container roughly the size of the urn you have now. Hope this helps!

  54. Hello, my son recently passed away and I am going to make a wooden urn for his ashes because I think it would be special and I need this closure. I’m deciding between cedar wood and red oak. Should urns be hardwood? I like how cedar smells but I know it’s a soft wood . I like to hear your thoughts. Thank you.

  55. We make a few urns in cedar designs and they are both beautiful and long lasting. Put a nice finish on it and you’ll be good. Cedar and red oak are both great materials, so you won’t go wrong with either choice. Hope this helps!

  56. I want to buy our burial urns now but don’t know how I would put the date of death on it later? My husband has cancer and wants no treatment so I kind of would like to know since I want to prepare.

  57. Hi,

    My father passed away recently and we cremated him. We wanted to make sure the urn will be protected so we got a plastic urn vault. Do plastic urn vaults need to be sealed before burying? If so, what kind of sealant should you use?

    Thank you,

  58. Hi Janet,

    No, the vaults don’t need to be sealed but they can be. Most of them are designed to keep water out, and most of the ones we sell at Urns Northwest come with a sealant included. Silicone (standard household caulk) is always a good option; you can also use a plastic cement, Gorilla Glue, and so on. Once the vault is in the ground it’s going to stay in place, and a little breathability won’t hurt it. A sealant would add a little to help with preservation of the urn inside, so many people choose that option, but either way the vault will function properly to keep the ground from depressing over time.

    Hope this helps!

  59. The cemetery my parents ashes are to buried at is requiring non crushable urns. Can you please advise me on how to find these on line. I have looked under non crushable urns but am unable to determine is they meet this criteria from the discriptions.

  60. I would like to bury some of my husband’s ashes in my yard next to a special tree. What would be the best type of container to use?

  61. How long can you keep ashes in the cardboard box they gave me at the funeral home the ashes are in a plastic bag

  62. Hi Cecilia,

    Great question! People wonder that very thing all the time. We’ve answered it more fully here, but basically you can keep the remains in the cardboard box as long as you like.

  63. My mom just passed away and since the medical school cannot take her body due to Covid, we are having her cremated. We will have celebration of life in a month from now. Is it better to go with funeral home or cremation place or does it matter?

  64. Hi Shauneen,

    Our condolences! That is so tough. As for the funeral home vs crematorium, it depends on what you’re looking for. The crematorium does the cremation, and that’s it. It helps keep your costs down and simplifies things, then you can do you own private memorial service at home or at church, etc. The funeral home can help you with a whole range of other things, including putting together a celebration of life service, but when you’re not doing a viewing and all that other stuff you may not want the extra expense. Hope this helps!

  65. Hi. I ordered an aluminum urn online. The coating and engraving is beautiful. However, the inside is painted black and smells awful. It may sound silly, but it seems disrespectful to put my loved one’s ashes in something that smells bad, so I’ve left them in the temporary urn for the moment. Is this normal and will the smell dissipate? Thank you.

  66. Hi Katie,

    The odor should dissipate over time, but to speed things up you can wash with soap and warm water, scrub with vinegar or lemon juice, and/or spritz some essential oils to cover the smell.

  67. Your information was very informative and has answered many of my questions!! Thank you 😊!! Now I have the task of deciding which one of these beautiful vessels I will pick from!! Ahhhhh!

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