How to Make a Cremation Urn: 11 Homemade Ideas | Cake Blog (2023)

Deciding on a loved one's final resting place for your loved one's cremains might involve some major emotions.

Whether you want your loved one's remains placed in a columbarium niche, a cemetery plot, or you plan to scatter them, you need to put them in something first.

Jump ahead to these sections:

  • Homemade Cremation Urn Ideas for a Loved One's Ashes
  • Homemade Cremation Urn Ideas for a Pet's Ashes

You may want to make an urn for ashes extra special by making a homemade urn. Read through some ideas on different types of homemade cremation urns.

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Homemade Cremation Urn Ideas for a Loved One’s Ashes

Think about your creative skills and talents. If you enjoy woodworking, you might put those skills to use by making a wooden urn to hold your loved one’s cremains. If you enjoy doing stained glass, you might think of how to incorporate that into an urn.

Before you begin the project, take careful consideration of the size of the urn. Plan for one cubic inch of space for every pound of the person cremated. If your loved one weighed 200 pounds, you will need an urn that holds 200 cubic inches.

Here are some ideas, along with links on how to complete the projects.

1. Handmade wooden urn box

You can watch many videos that show you the process of making a homemade wooden urn. This video is highly rated and shows families how to make a beautiful wooden urn using three tools and a 1-inch by 8-inch board.

Plenty of companies also sell custom-made wooden urns. Depending on the quality of the item (and whether it is mass-produced), the price may range from $120 to several hundred dollars. You may have a lot to think about when making the arrangements for someone’s funeral, especially if that person left behind no end-of-life plans. You may know that your loved one wanted to be cremated, but you may need to make other decisions as a result of this choice.

(Video) Garden of Innocence Cremation Urn

If you decide to make a wooden urn box, visit your local trophy store to purchase a custom-made metal plate with your loved one’s name, birth date, and death date. You can attach this plate to the wooden urn with small screws or strong adhesive.

If you would rather use all-natural materials for the label, learn how to do simple wood engravings and place words or a design directly on the side of the urn.

2. Ceramic urn with lid

Are you a skilled potter and have access to the necessary equipment? You may consider making a ceramic urn with a lid. This video will help you with the process.

Consider how you will seal the lid to the container. Commercially made ceramic urns usually either have screwed lids or seal with some wax or adhesive.

3. Ice urn

If you plan to scatter your loved one’s remains in water, you may want to consider creating an ice urn. It requires no money or skill.

Mix the cremains in water along with pretty leaves, flowers, or other biodegradable materials. Freeze the mixture and transport it in a cooler to a body of water. Once there, you can place the ice urn in the water. The urn will melt as it floats away from the shore.

You can do this on windy days when scattering is not an option. For more tips on how to create an ice urn, visit this website.

4. Embellished urn

Creating a new container from scratch might prove difficult for most people, but you might consider embellishing an existing urn so that your loved one gets a one-of-a-kind urn.

Did your loved one enjoy the ocean? Adhere small seashells to the outside of an urn. Check out a seashell-themed urn on HGTV’s website.

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Was your loved one known for having a blingy style? Bedazzle the urn with crystals or small gems.

You may also wish to create a mosaic-style urn with pieces of decorative glass.

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5. Papier-mâché cremation urn

Perhaps your loved one did not wish to leave behind a casket, headstone, or any other death-related item that would not biodegrade. In this case, you may use some of your creativity to make a piece of papier-mâché to hold the cremains temporarily.

This type of urn can vary in shape and size. In fact, you're only limited to your own imagination and skill. The inexpensive, earth-friendly options can really make an amazing project.

If you use non-toxic materials, you could use a papier-mâché urn in a sea burial. Watch as the urn floats away with your loved one’s cremains inside.

6. Blown glass urn

While most urns hold cremated remains, a blown glass urn uses the remains in the creation of a decorative item. Whether or not this is truly an urn depends on your interpretation.

If you enjoy blowing glass, you might consider creating a special piece in memory of your loved one (and with the remains of your loved one).

(Video) Handmade Cat Pet Urn - Lamp Black | Ceramic

7. Stuffed animal

Several companies specialize in creating urns that look like stuffed animals. These usually hold a child’s remains, but they could also hold a portion of an adult’s remains.

Loosen the stitching on the back to insert a small container with the remains. Sew up the seam and think about how you want to label the bear so others know it is a special item.

8. A beloved item

If you plan to keep the cremation urn in your home, you don’t have to follow anyone’s rules on what type of container you use to store the ashes. The container can be as simple as a decorated shoebox or as meaningful as a Harley Davidson motorcycle gas tank.

You could hollow out the inside of a large book (or several books) to hold the cremains of a reader or place the remains inside of a tackle box or toolbox.

If your loved one had a green thumb, you might create a specialized piece of pottery that holds cremains as well as a plant.

Although you may need to consider the size of the container, wine bottles might also be an appropriate vessel for storing your loved one’s remains.

Use your loved one’s hobbies or interests and brainstorm a custom-made urn based on your ideas.

Homemade Cremation Urn Ideas for a Pet’s Ashes

Of course, all the previous ideas could be used for a pet as well (and vice versa).

These urn ideas can scale down to hold the remains of pets or the divided remains of humans.

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9. Sea glass bottle urn

Are you looking for a beautiful container to hold the remains of your beloved pet? You can create this project on a budget and with little artistic skill.

Find a sealable glass container (perhaps one with a cork), sea glass spray paint (comes in a variety of colors!), and some way to label the urn. Find the instructions and photos of this project on this website.

10. Log storage box

Create a beautiful, earth-friendly urn for your pet (or your human loved one) by hollowing out the inside of a log or branch. You may consider placing the finished project outside in a garden or a special place in your family’s home.

For instructions on how to complete this project, view this YouTube video.

11. Cremation jewelry

If you enjoy making and wearing jewelry, you might consider creating something that could hold a tiny amount of your animal’s (or your loved one’s) remains. Of course, you will need to make plans for what to do with the rest of the ashes.

DIY Urns Honor Your Loved One

While you can purchase an urn for less than $100, creating a loved one’s cremation urn offers a lovely way to honor the person you lost. Designing your own urn for your loved one also allows you to create something that reflects your loved one’s personality, likes, and beliefs.


(Video) DIY Pet Memorial Ideas - How To Make A Pet Memorial

  1. “How to Make a DIY Cremation Urn.” Shara Woodshop Diaries.
  2. “How to Make A Sea Glass Bottle Urn For Your Beloved Pet.” Sanctuary.
  3. “Log Storage Box.” Instructables.
  4. “Make a Beachy-Chic Shell-Covered Urn.” HGTV.
  5. “Our Monthly Tip: Make a Biodegradable Ice Urn.” Seven Ponds Blog.
  6. “Studio Pottery With Kris Neal #4 - Make a Jar w/Lid.” Kris Neal.


Can I make my own cremation urn? ›

You can make your own cremation urn. It's not too difficult to make a simple wooden box. Or, if you have a special skill in ceramics, paper mache, or some other medium, you can make your own cremation vessel that way. You can also create an urn from "found" items, or things you wouldn't otherwise think of as an urn.

What is the best material to preserve ashes? ›

Best Materials For Cremation Urns
  • Ceramic.
  • Porcelain.
  • Marble.
  • Glass.
  • Crystal.
  • Stone.
  • Wood.
  • Fiber cellulose.
Aug 5, 2021

What are the dimensions of a cremation urn? ›

Box-type urns will often be rectangular, with the long side measuring 10-12 inches. The two shorter dimensions might be between 6-9 inches. Vase-shaped urns will typically be around 9-13 inches tall. These urns will have a diameter of around 6-9, depending on how tall or squat they are.

Do cremation urns need to be sealed? ›

Do I need to seal the cremation urn? Sealing the cremation urn is a personal decision and there are no rules that say that you have to seal the urn or that you don't have to seal the cremation urn for ashes.

Do you keep ashes in plastic bag in urn? ›

Request that personnel at the funeral home or crematorium do it for you. Keep the original sealed container intact and transfer the ashes yourself. Simply take the plastic bag containing the ashes out of the cardboard box and place the entire bag inside a cremation urn, box or memorial chest of suitable size.

Do ashes have to be in an urn to be buried? ›

Burial without an urn: You can bury the remains directly into the ground without using an urn. Options are essentially the same as scattering; the only difference is that you are placing the ashes directly into the earth.

Can you put ashes in a plastic container? ›

After cremation of the body occurs, the cremated remains must be placed in an appropriate container. An appropriate container need not be expensive. The crematorium usually returns the cremated remains in a cardboard or plastic container; this meets minimum requirements for inurnment in the cemetery.

How do you separate ashes for an urn? ›

How to divide cremated remains. Most crematoriums return the ashes in a plastic bag, placed in a "temporary urn" made often from cardboard. This will work fine to divide ashes. If the funeral provider is dividing for you, you would ask them beforehand and provide the urns or containers you have selected.

Can I make my own biodegradable urn? ›

You can create a beautiful, biodegradable paper mache urn. Just make sure you use all environmentally safe materials. A paper mache urn can be displayed in your home for as long as you wish, and then you can use it to scatter ashes. The great thing about paper mache is that it will degrade into earth and water.

What is the longest lasting urn material? ›

Bronze and brass may oxidize over time and develop a green patina, but both metals are extraordinarily resistant in terms of corrosion. Urns are also available in aluminum or stainless steel for a budget-friendly option that's just as durable as pricier urns.

How long should you keep human ashes? ›

Ashes have no expiry date

There's no rush on moving or transferring them. You can keep them in the container from the crematorium for as long as you need. You might keep them in your home forever, or you might decide to scatter or bury them at a later date.

Do ashes need to be airtight? ›

The ashes should be in an air-tight non-metallic container – ideally just keep them in the container you received from the crematorium. If you plan to put them in an urn, then bring the urn separately for the journey, as some urns are difficult to x-ray and may not pass through security screening if they contain ashes.

How deep does an urn have to be? ›

2) Depth: The rule of thumb is to bury the urn at least 3 feet deep. If that's not possible, you should be sure that there is at least 6 to 12 inches of soil covering the buried urn. If in doubt, at least 36 inches (3 feet) deep is a safe bet.

How much does a 200 lb person weigh after cremation? ›

Cremation ashes for a 200 lbs man weighs about 7 lbs or ~3.1 kg. Cremation ashes for a 250 lbs man weighs about 8.75 lbs or ~4 kg.

How many cups of ashes does a human make? ›

Sources in the funerary industry state that one pound of human or pet weight equals one cubic inch of cremated remains. If a person weighs 150 pounds, expect to receive about 150 cubic inches of ashes, which is about the same as 10.5 cups.

Do they glue urns shut? ›

The way that urns are sealed depends on how the urn is manufactured. For example, many ceramic urns have a top made to close by twisting the lid into place. This built-in seal is meant to keep the ashes in place; however, some may opt to apply additional sealant or adhesive (e.g., applying silicone sealant to the lid).

What happens if you open a urn? ›

Yes, it is generally okay to open an urn. Most say that cremated remains are sterile, so you shouldn't have to worry about your health or safety from opening an urn. There are no legal reasons why an urn can't be opened either unless there is a question of who legally owns the cremains.

Do they glue urns closed? ›

Sealed urns may have similar lids to unsealed urns. However, they are usually closed with an additional sealant such as a wax or adhesive.

How long do cremated ashes last? ›

A common question that we find in the cremation diamond industry is do ashes have an expiration date? The short answer is they don't; at least not in our lifetime. It would take around one million years for ashes to dissolve since they are made solely of inorganic material.

What is the best type of urn for ashes? ›

A stone urn (made from granite, marble, etc) is perhaps the best type of urn for burial. However, you can bury just about any urn, as long as you meet the cemetery's requirements. There are essentially three ways to bury an urn.

Can you open an urn once it's been sealed? ›

If the metal urn is sealed with wax or adhesive, try to open it by soaking a cotton swab in fingernail polish remover or an epoxy solvent. Repeatedly run the swab along the sealed portion of the urn. You might have to wiggle the lid several times or use a flathead screwdriver to open the urn.

Is it wrong to separate cremated ashes? ›

Your loved one's ashes don't have to stay together either. Families can choose to split the ashes of the deceased among the wider family, where the individual families can choose what they want to do with them.

Can you bury an urn in your backyard? ›

The answer to all these questions is: yes. It is possible, legal and safe to bury someone's cremated ashes on private or public property, including your own yard. Other places that can be used for burying cremated remains include: Cemetery plot.

What do you say when you scatter ashes? ›

What to say while scattering ashes
  • A bit of background about the person who died and the kind of life they lived.
  • A story or memory that means a lot to you – maybe something you'll always remember about them.
  • Similar stories from other close friends and family members.
  • One of your loved one's favourite songs or readings.
Sep 15, 2021

What does the Bible say about keeping ashes of a loved one? ›

According to the Bible, cremating and scattering the ashes of a loved one is neither right nor wrong. Choosing to cremate and scatter ultimately comes down to the wishes of the deceased or the personal preference of those burying a relative.

What happens if all the ashes don't fit in the urn? ›

If your urn has a small opening and does not have enough room to house the entire bag of ashes, the ashes must be poured in.

Do ashes hold energy? ›

From a scientific standpoint, cremated ashes do contain a little energy (energy here being “the ability to do work or cause change”).

Can you mix two cremated ashes together? ›

Also known as commingling, mixing cremated remains is illegal unless it is specifically requested by the deceased. This simply comes down to a matter of personal preference of the deceased. Most cremation chambers will not mix the remains of your loved ones—they'll usually leave that up to the family to do.

Can ashes be split between family members? ›

You certainly can! There are several regulations governing ash spreading, but none governing ash division. Following a loved one's cremation, some families prefer to split the ashes.

What do you do with an urn after you release the ashes? ›

There are several ways to use an old or empty cremation urn.
  1. Reuse. First, you can reuse the urn. ...
  2. Give/Donate. Second, you can give away the urn. ...
  3. Use for Keepsakes. Third, you can keep the urn as a keepsake box. ...
  4. Repurpose/Upcycle. Fourth, you can repurpose the urn in other ways. ...
  5. Toss. Finally, you can dispose of the urn.
Feb 1, 2020

What is the best way to seal a ceramic urn? ›

Ceramic or Glass Urns

When sealing cremation urns that are made of ceramic or glass, carefully squeeze a thin bead of sealant around the cap, then place the cap back on the urn, gently pressing it into place. Be sure to follow the directions on the adhesive with regard to drying time.

How much does it cost to make an urn? ›

The container's size, style, and material are all important factors in its overall cost. Most people pay $70 to $2,250 for a full sized, permanent urn and $50 to $350 for green burial containers.

Can an urn be a wooden box? ›

A cremation urn is simply a container

You can make your own from wood, ceramic, or even paper mache.

How big does a human urn need to be? ›

As a rule of thumb, each pound of body weight equals roughly one cubic inch of ashes after cremation. It is suggested to select an urn a bit larger than the space, expected to use. Usually, created remains weigh 3-7 pounds and require about 180-220 cubic inches capacity.

Do cremated ashes dissolve in water? ›

Human ashes are like sand and they do not float. They will not dissolve in the water; instead, they will descend into the ocean until they hit the floor. Can we have a service or a mariner's farewell ceremony before we scatter ashes?

What do funeral homes use to seal urns? ›

Unscrew and remove the lid in order to place the cremated remains inside. Carefully place the bag holding the cremated remains into the urn and replace the lid. Metal cremation urns can be permanently sealed using a silicone epoxy or metal glue when you replace the lid.

What can I use as a temporary urn? ›

A temporary urn can be made from almost anything. However, it is often made from cheaper materials since it is not usually meant to be a permanent option. These urns are often made from plastic (or plastic material such as acrylic) or cardboard but can also be made from metals such as tin.

Is it OK to touch human ashes? ›

Cremation occurs at such a hot temperature all micro-organisms are destroyed, and the remaining ashes are inert. After cremation there are no public health risks associated with handling ashes.

Can you get DNA from human ashes? ›

Can You Get DNA From Cremated Remains? Yes. DNA testing is often done on the bodies of the dead, even after they've been cremated. The immense heat of the cremation ovens breaks down the body's organic matter, leaving bone fragments and teeth behind as they don't disintegrate during the cremation process.

Do ashes in an urn smell? ›

In most cases, cremated remains are odourless. They may have a slightly metallic odour or some people say they smell somewhat like incense in some cases. However, it is common for ashes to have no distinct smell. Nonetheless, they can take on the smell of the container or cremation urn they are in.

Can you put human ashes in a ziplock bag? ›

If you prefer to keep your loved one's cremains in the plastic bag, you may do so. Otherwise, you can cut the corner of the bag to create a small hole through which the cremains can be poured. On the other hand, if the cremains are stored in a container, use a small blunt knife to gently pry off the sealant plug.

Do ashes get moldy? ›

However, if the ashes are not kept in a sealed container, they can become moist and start to produce a mildewy smell. It's important to keep ashes in a tightly-sealed urn or permanent encasement to prevent this from happening.

How long do cremated ashes last in an urn? ›

Ashes have no expiry date

There's no rush on moving or transferring them. You can keep them in the container from the crematorium for as long as you need. You might keep them in your home forever, or you might decide to scatter or bury them at a later date.

Do cremated remains have to be kept in an urn? ›

After cremation, cremated remains are placed in a temporary container. While this is suitable for an immediate storage, it is recommended to choose an urn that is designed for either shipping, scattering, burial, or long term storage at home.

Is it OK to keep human ashes at home? ›

Is it OK to Keep Cremains at Home? There's nothing bad about keeping cremated remains at home. Even though the practice is legal, those from specific faith communities may object to the practice. Some religious faiths, such as followers of Islam, Eastern Orthodox, and some Jewish sects forbid cremation.

Does an urn need to be air tight? ›

No need to seal. With many of our marble or stone urns, the interior of the urn is accessed by a threaded stopper. Thus, pouring the remains is the recommended method. Some stoppers include a gasket; if not, you may want to use caulk or plumber's tape to seal the urn.

Can you bury a plastic urn? ›

Burial urns are containers made from bamboo, wood, recycled plant materials, cardboard, paper, plastic, or metal that hold cremated ashes and are designed to be buried.


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