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27 Things to Do With Cremated Remains

Unique and Interesting Ways to Store or Disperse Cremated Remains

Last Updated on February 25, 2020

Over the years we’ve come across a number of these lists on the web: unique and interesting ways to store or disperse cremated remains. How one person decides to have their remains handled may seem strange to another, but in the end, it is a personal thing. Here is a list of some of our favorite things to do with cremated remains.

1. Scattering

Scattering the ashes is often the first thing people tend to think of in regards of what to do with cremated remains. It is one of the most popular ways to say a final goodbye to a loved one.

We’ve written this post about choosing this option, and the things to be aware of when choosing a place to scatter remains.

2. Burial

Burial is another popular option for interring cremated remains. See here for guidance on how to bury an urn.

There are some advantages to choosing burial. For instance, urn burial sites are usually significantly cheaper than casket burial sites.

3. Columbarium

A columbarium is similar to a mausoleum, except that where a mausoleum is for casketed remains, a columbarium is for cremated remains. They are both sacred buildings used to house the remains of loved ones.

If you don’t have a stable place to house an urn, and want family and friends to have the freedom to view it, a columbarium might be a great choice.

4. At Home

We’ve discussed having the remains interred at a cemetery, but often times people will choose to have the remains buried at home. There are no added costs when burying the remains in your backyard, though there are some things to consider when you choose to bury ashes.

You can keep the remains at home in an heirloom cremation urn. Urns Northwest is a great resource for finding such premium-quality urns. If you’re new to this idea, you might want to read The 5 Minute Guide to Choosing a Cremation Urn.

5. Planted as a Tree

Whatever your motivation, the Memorial Tree Urn is a beautiful idea that combines burial and scattering with new life; thus, “living memorials.” The cremated ashes are placed into the urn, which is then “planted” in the ground to aid in the growth of a beautiful tree seed. Knowing that the remains of your loved one are being used to nourish the young sapling as it grows into a majestic oak, willow, cherry or one of the other 15+ trees that are available here, will bring you great peace.

6. Launched into Space

Have your ashes launched into space! Celestis offers several packages for journeying into the final frontier. From a trip into orbit and back to earth, to a more adventurous journey into deep space.

For the person who was never able to live that childhood dream of space travel, this could be just the ticket – even though a one way ticket 😉

7. In Fireworks

Angel Flights can turn your cremated remains into an amazing light show for all to see.

Their unique service includes 200 fireworks shells modified to hold and scatter the remains while lighting up the night sky.

8. In Helium Baloons

Eternal Ascent can have your remains placed inside a helium balloon that floats up into the atmosphere.

The balloon travels to a height of 5 miles where at the temperature of -40 below zero – it crystallizes and bursts, scattering the ashes to the four winds.

9. As a Coral Reef

Eternal Reef is helping rebuild coral reefs by creating cement structures that the coral can latch to and grow on.

The process involves inserting your remains into the cement mix before it is poured into the form which the coral grows on.

10. As an Hour Glass

Though the glass won’t be a reliable time piece, it will make for a beautiful mantle piece.

Just follow the simple directions to have your remains inserted into an hourglass.

11. As a Diamond

Heart-In-Diamond offers the service of having a lock of hair or some of the cremated remains of a loved one turned into a certified diamond.

They offer several different colors, carat sizes and gem cuts, which you can put on display or set into a piece of jewelry.

12. Mixed in Paint

Through Art in Ashes, an artist will mix ashes with paint to create a beautiful portrait.

I suppose you could have this done locally (though it may be difficult to find someone who will work with this unique medium), or maybe even do it yourself.

13. In a Teddy Bear

The Cami Bear can provide you with a more snuggly urn. These bears will hold a portion of your loved one’s remains, allowing for a sentimental memorial. Some people find it strange, others find it very comforting. A surprisingly popular option.

 14. As a Pencil

This company has the idea to put your remains into the lead of a set of pencils.

A set of 240 specially-filled pencils come in a case with a custom inscription on each pencil.

15. Hand Blown Glass

Have a unique piece of art created from your cremated remains. Artful Ashes will have your ashes put into the glass of a beautiful blown glass piece.

16.Put into a Vinyl Record

This plucky UK based shop will have your ashes pressed into a set of vinyl records.

You pick the artwork and the music, or you can have a spoken word recording to leave a final message to your loved ones, with that vintage popping and hissing of vinyl goodness.

17. Tattoo Ink

We came across a number of articles about this practice. Have a portion of the remains mixed with the tattoo ink before it is applied to your body. Reportedly there aren’t any health concerns.

But you may want to run it by your personal tattoo artist first. Here are some memorial tattoo ideas.

18. Stained Glass

There isn’t much that can compare to the enduring beauty of stained glass. This shop will have your ashes mixed into a stained glass window.

Have a unique piece commissioned and displayed on the wall or in a prominent window in your home.

19.Put Into Bullets

This is how you want to be remembered isn’t it?

What could be a more practical memorial than a box of ammo?

Your body may be gone, but you don’t have to miss next years hunting trip. Holy Smoke can have your remains put into shotgun, rifle or pistol ammo.

20. Creepy 3d Bust

For me, this was the oddest of them all. Have your likeness formed into a 3 dimensional bust urn.

This urn will not only hold your remains, it will also keep a watchful eye on everybody in the room.

21. From an Airplane

Scatter your ashes over a larger area. These guys will have your remains scattered from far above, straight from their airplane.

They travel all over the world for their work, from Maui to the Mediterranean.

22. In Wine

When Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan’s mother passed away in 2003, he wanted to help her travel the world (she’d been paralyzed since 1975) – so he scattered her ashes across his vineyard, Caduceus Cellars and named a wine in her honour, saying, “she gets to travel the world now”.

23. In a Frisbee

The creator of the Frisbee, Walter Morrison, had requested that his remains be mixed into a batch of genuine Frisbees that were distributed amongst his friends and relatives.

24. In a Pringles Can

While we are on the subject of last wishes of innovators, the creator of the Pringles can had his ashes interred, in a Pringles Can.

His family decided to use the Original Flavor.

25. Memorial Jewelry

You can have a portion of the remains encased in a piece of jewelry. Carry the memory of your loved one around with you wherever you go in a vessel of pure Sterling Silver or 14k Gold.

26. Glass Paperweight

We’ve posted several other options for infusing your cremated remains in glass. Paper weights seem like they could be a fun idea, though it does make one  wonder how many of these end up in garage sales. Eeeck.

27. Ask Keith Richards

Keith has been quite open about his years of wild living as a salty old rock’n roller and guitarist to the famed Rolling Stones.

He told a British music magazine NME in April of 07′ that he snorted a line of his father’s ashes through his nose…a statement that his manager later discounted as a joke. But who knows?

Interested in browsing through some more final disposition options for cremated remains? See our post on Memorial Ideas Made From Cremated Ashes.

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37 thoughts on “27 Things to Do With Cremated Remains

  1. […] those willing to accept a little smokestack pollution, there’s a big list of otherwise nature-friendly options for final […]

  2. Has anyone personally mixed ashes with paints ? If so does it work ok ? I am wanting to make pendants and may be using inks instead … would like to know how it turned out for someone else. Thanks

  3. […] you going to do with your remains after you die? If you’re thinking about cremation, here are 27 unique things that can be done with cremated ashes, one of which is having the remains planted in this biodegradable tree urn, which uses the ashes to […]

  4. […] If cremation is chosen, there are still many options for the final disposition. Scattering on land or at sea, ground burial in a smaller cemetery plot, planted as a memorial tree, columbarium niches, eco-friendly burial, sharing in smaller urns among relatives, and of course kept in a traditional cremation urn. If you are intrigued by some of the more “alternative” options, we’ve compiled a list of 27 things to do with cremated remains. […]

  5. […] As mentioned above an urn is much smaller than a casket and therefore very easy to transport and/or store at home. Cremation also frees up the timeframe, so you can hold on to the remains indefinitely until you and your family arrange burial, scattering, or some other method of disposition for the remains. […]

  6. […] Online, the suggestions are more bizarre, if not downright macabre. […]

  7. […] “10 Weirdest Things You Can Do With Your Ashes” “27 Things To Do With Cremated Remains” “10 Amazing Things Your Ashes Can Do After You […]

  8. […] your remains to ashes certainly creates a lot of potential options for how a person might recycle oneself from pencils, vinyl records and 3D printing, however the […]

  9. […] 27 Things to Do with Cremated Remains – From fireworks to paintings, you can do just about anything. […]

  10. To make the list up to date : MEMORIAL ROCK SAFES are a new unique way to Keep a Loved Ashes with You even when You move house. This new trend is fast becoming the standard.

  11. Engrave Ink creates an original bottle of memorial tattoo ink by incorporating the ashes of your loved one as a celebration to their unique and wonderful life. The four week process is safe, secure and the finished bottle/s ship to over 20 countries.

  12. […] families will leave the ashes in an urn or scatter the ashes at a memorable location. Some other options include turning cremated remains into fireworks, a compound that supports the coral reef, a vinyl […]

  13. I don’t think you should advertise ballons as they kill wildlife when released. Its a very poor choice of getting rid of ashes and not helping the environment.

  14. […] with cremated ashes?” is the subject of one of our most popular and somewhat bizarre posts: 27 Things to Do with Cremated Remains. That list includes all manner of unique ways people have scattered or stored cremated ashes, from […]

  15. hello, i live in chicago il. and i would like to know if there is a place that can make a journal book with human ashes?

  16. Anybody ever try mixing ashes with tattoo ink? Def the most appealing idea for me personally.

  17. Hi Wayne! Here’s a youtube video about it. Hope this helps!

  18. Hi Shannon,

    I’m not aware of any product like that, I’ll keep an eye out for it though. I think you’re best option would be to create something like that yourself using scrapbook supplies.

  19. Hi I have a ten year old son..he lost his dad he is not dealing with it well ..i thought doing something with his ashes might help him. But don’t no what can someone help

  20. Scattering a small amount of ashes can be a healthy way to express grief. Ask him to see if he’d be comfortable with it, and if it would be something he’d be interested in doing. Here is a helpful discussion forum of people talking about how they felt after scattering a loved one’s remains, hopefully this can give you some guidance:

  21. The present and the future in terms of burial and commemoration will continue evolving and art will contribute to it. The departure of my mother in 1990 made ​​me sculpt a tall granite urn for her, as an artistic monument based on giving the cremains Eternal Light. It has proven to be a great way in her memory and greatness as a mother of 12 children. Here is my site for those that this unique and Canadian copyrighted concept might interest.

    Merci et bienvenue sur mon site / Thank you and welcome to my site

  22. I’m trying to locate a place that could make some stepping stones with my parents ashes

  23. Hi Gail,

    That’s a great idea! I’m not aware of anyone that does that. Your best options are 1) calling around to local stone suppliers or brickmasons and asking them, or 2) making your own. Here are some DIY tutorials:

    I hope this helps!

  24. […] on putting human ashes into tattoo ink – Adding remains to the tattoo ink is a trendy memorial idea; here is a tattoo professional discussion thread weighing in with their […]

  25. […] A recent commenter mentioned that they were planning on using their loved one’s ashes to make stepping stones for their garden. We immediately thought, What a unique, personal, and useful idea! Kudos to the family for creativity and for honoring their loved one’s memory in a special way. […]

  26. Another thing you can do is order tiny bottles from that I hand decorate with personal info such as name, special quote, or art work such as flowers, or personaluzed.

  27. […] 27 Things to Do With Cremated Remains Our List Over the years we've come across a number of these lists on the… […]

  28. I had a deep bond with my grandmother ..we would sit on her porch and have tea in the mornings ..she loved the sound of her wind chimes . When she passed i had a very difficult time deciding what to do with my share of her ashes ..then it hit me . I had a local professional who dealt with loved ones ashes and making beautiful things with them. I asked him to put her remains inside of a beautiful glass blown chime. Now every time the wind blows and i have a quiet moment i believe its her trying to tell me shes still here watching over me and my children .

  29. To Shannon’s post on Jan 26, 2016.
    I had a friend who made his own paper from his parent’s ashes and then had them turned into ID cards for his siblings. He has his on his mantel in a museum quality frame. It includes their names, date of birth and death, and their favorite song.

  30. I have always been a pool 🎱 player and as a joke to a few friends months ago I said I was going to get cremated and turn into the next cue Ball or black ball for them. To prove I was never taken off the table. Wonder if possible and cost. Rough

  31. Great Article. I like your all ideas. But according to me, the best is to make cremation jewelry of cremated remains. With this, we can feel, keep our lost loved ones always close to our heart.

  32. I really liked it when you mentioned that there is a shop that can actually mix the cremated remains with the stained glass window. I might ask someone to do that for me after I get my beloved pet cremated. He passed away last night, and I want to know what I can do after his cremation. The stained glass thing caught my attention since I do intend to get my windows replaced with stained glass some time within the year.

  33. It was really nice when you suggested putting the cremated remains of the loved in a diamond. It was also nice when you mentioned that the colors can be customized, as well as the size and the cut that I want. Maybe I should do that for my sister’s remains after she is cremated. After all, she has always been the beautiful jewel of the family, and I am sure she will appreciate it if that was materialized. Thanks.

  34. I didn’t know you could do so much with the ashes.
    I liked several options and almost all of them surprised me.
    Thank you very much for the information, good job!

  35. Recently our dog died and we decided that we wanted to do a unique cremation. Spot loved playing catch so it would be awesome to turn him into a frisbee to play catch with. Spot would be thrown and tossed but not forgotten.

  36. I personally love the wind chime idea.

  37. I saw on Shark Tank the other day! Not sure about Heart in Diamond, but these guys seem like they are really making this a bigger trend in the US!

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