What to Do with Cremation Ashes: 13 Creative Ideas

Photo of an urn that has creamation ashes

​Deciding what to do with cremation ashes can be difficult as you grieve the loss of a loved one. Once you have had some time to grieve, several options can be considered that both honor your loved one and help the survivors find closure.

Some of the ideas on our list are entirely free and can be readily carried out with as much planning as is deemed necessary or none at all. Other plans will have a cost associated with them and may take some prior planning before you can ultimately decide what to do with cremation ashes in your possession.

If you are on the fence about what to do with cremation ashes that you have in your home, consider the following ideas and decide what works for you and best honors your lost loved one. Some of these options are more creative than others, and some will also require the use of newer technology.

What to Do with Cremation Ashes: Ashes to Pottery

Person forming a clay pot with cremation ashes

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Pottery is an excellent option if you are looking for a potential DIY project that incorporates the ashes of your loved one. Ashes are mixed into the clay itself, and any number of different objects can be created using the clay. The size of the object is entirely up to the creator, and if you aren’t feeling particularly creative, several artists will make the pottery for you.

Lifeware is one company that has several objects that individuals can choose from and incorporate the ashes of a loved one. The objects range from a mug to a bowl, luminary, or vase, and there are also several kinds of jewelry as well.

What to Do with Cremation Ashes: Build a Reef

Turtle near a reef

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If you think creating a reef out of your ashes is a great idea, the company Eternal Reef can help make that a reality. The company specializes in creating “living legacies” by using the ashes as part of the concrete that they use to make artificial reefs.

The company is working to help preserve the reefs while also providing homes to marine wildlife where reefs once were. Customers can personalize their reef by adding a plaque or some flowers before it is set on the ocean floor.

What to Do with Cremation Ashes: Scatter Them With a Drone

Silhuoette of a drone on a sunset spreading with cremation ashes

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If your loved one was a fan of technology or you need to scatter their ashes in a difficult to reach location, consider letting a drone do the work. There are companies you can hire that will transport and scatter your ashes by using one of their high powered and remotely controlled drones.

While scattering your ashes by using a drone sounds high-tech, it's more affordable than you might think. One caveat is that you need to get permission to scatter the ashes in your designated location.

What to Do with Cremation Ashes: Turn Ashes into Jewelry

Several different companies offer to create jewelry from the ashes that you send them, and customers have their pick of:

  • Lockets
  • Pendants
  • Earrings (studs and free hanging)
  • Bracelets
  • Rings (statement rings and traditional styles)
  • Mini-urns

There are several different styles available, and jewelry materials will also vary from glass to diamonds. Jewelry is also available in various metals and with other accessories like chains.

What to Do with Cremation Ashes: Fireworks

A company called Heavens Above will create a specialized fireworks display that uses or incorporates the ashes of your loved one into the show. The exhibits will range based on the tastes specified and the budget, but the colorful display is befitting of a party or other event as a happy send-off for the deceased. 

The company also sells fireworks that you can set off yourself and they are located in the UK. The company can accommodate both human and pet remains.

What to Do with Cremation Ashes: Send Ashes to Space

Several companies exist that will launch human remains into space for a fee. The company Celestis offers several different packages that send ashes to space via either a one-way trip or round trip which allows the ashes to vaporize when re-entering Earth's atmosphere.

While the ashes are only allowed to attend the one-way trip, you can choose if you want them to visit space at the edge of Earth's orbit, or if you prefer that they are sent towards the Moon. Either way, the ashes won't return to Earth, but also won’t harm other humans in the process.

What to Do with Cremation Ashes: Plant A Tree

There is a company called Urna Bios Memorial Urns, and they manufacture a product that resembles a cardboard urn. This urn is filled with the ashes of a loved one and then planted so that a tree can grow.

The urn is entirely biodegradable and provides the best possible environment for the tree seeds to germinate and grow. At $99, it's also a relatively inexpensive way to take ashes and turn them into something. There are several different kinds of tree seeds to choose from, and there is also a Bios urn available for pets.

What to Do with Cremation Ashes: Turn Ashes into A Diamond

Several companies will take the ashes from both humans and pets and turn them into a real diamond using techniques performed in a lab. While many of these processes take several months and cost $2000 to $10,000, you will receive a gem that will last forever.

As a bonus, you get to pick the color of the diamond you want to receive, and the color options are usually yellow, green, blue, red, pink, and white. Certain companies will offer other colors, but yellow is the most natural color that is created from the nitrogen in the ashes. It takes anywhere from a few grams to half a cup of ashes to make a diamond.

What to Do with Cremation Ashes: Get a Tattoo

Person applying a tattoo to an arm

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If you do a little research, the chances are good that you can find a tattoo artist in your area who will put the ashes of your loved one in ink and tattoo you with it. These tattoos are generally not much more expensive than regular tattoos, and current data shows that there likely aren't any significant health risks.

The trick is finding a tattoo artist comfortable with using ink that has ashes in it and also has experience doing that kind of tattoo in the past. You’ll also want to figure out what you want a tattoo of and be sure to do some research on including ashes in your ink before making an appointment.

What to Do with Cremation Ashes: Get a Vinyl Record Made

The company called Andvinyly will take human ashes and press them into a vinyl record so you can listen to tunes that remind you of your loved one and also hear the cracks and pops of the ashes as the vinyl record plays.

To get more information and plan for your own eventual demise, you can email the contact person on their website to get the necessary forms. If you are planning for yourself, you can decide what color and size you want your record to be and what audio you want the recording to play.

What to Do with Cremation Ashes: Viking Ship Funeral

Viking funerals were typically reserved for warriors who needed a proper send-off after they died, but many Viking ships were buried with the ashes of their warriors instead of burned. Nevertheless, you can purchase a wicker Viking ship that floats on water and includes a sail.

Once you launch this little ship with the ashes on board, it can be set on fire and will burn as it drifts away. The company Cradle to Grave offers a wide range of wicker caskets and ships that can hold whole bodies and ashes. Another company, called Creative Coffins, also offers replica Viking style ships in both full coffin and ashes sizes.

What to Do with Cremation Ashes: Spread them in A Special Spot

Probably the most common thing to do with ashes is to spread them in a spot that is special to the loved one or the survivors left behind. Spreading ashes seems like a relatively simple task, but there are a few things to consider before you make that trip. First and foremost, it's essential to make sure that no special permissions are required before you spread the ashes. 

Next, you’ll want to consider if this ceremony is something you’ll only want to do once, or if you should only spread a small amount of the ashes and perform the ritual multiple times until you feel you are finished. If you always want to have the ashes of your loved one spread in a nearby location and you are planning to move it might be wise to set some aside.

What to Do with Cremation Ashes: Keepsake Jewelry

There are several companies that offer different kinds of jewelry. Most of this jewelry is designed to hold a small amount of the human ashes themselves instead of the ashes being turned into a stone or otherwise implemented as part of the jewelry creation process.

Keepsake jewelry can take many forms, and much of it can be personalized with names, dates, or other meaningful words. Some of these keepsakes are made from glass that can have ashes incorporated into it for added color.

​Featured image via Pixabay


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