After a cremation funeral, it can take a long time to decide what to do with your loved one’s ashes – but there are many options available.
Nowadays there are lots of creative ways to scatter cremation ashes in a meaningful and personal way.
There is also a host of unique ways to keep your loved one close, such as turning them into jewellery or a beautiful piece of art.
Here are 17 creative ideas for what to do with your loved one’s ashes after cremation:
1. Turn them into beautiful keepsake jewellery
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One of the most popular ways to hold on to the memory of your loved one is by creating keepsake jewellery for ashes.
Whether it’s a diamond pendant or a heart that you literally wear on your sleeve, memorial jewellery is a tradition being rediscovered as a way of celebrating someone’s memory.
From big specialist companies to bespoke jewellers and artisans makers, there is a huge range of pendants, bracelets and ring designs to choose from – including fillable lockets for ashes, fingerprint mementos and crystal beads.
2. Let your loved one light up the night
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If your loved one lived life to the full, then why not let them go out with a bang?
Essex-based Heavens Above is among a number of specialist companies that can help you create stunning displays, with fireworks made from cremation ashes.
This could be the perfect way to scatter your loved one’s ashes in style.
3. Let them breathe new life on the sea bed
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If you’re looking for a special way to be remembered, new innovations are allowing you to become one with the ocean.
Dorset-based Solace Reef, incorporates cremation ashes into artificial reefs, helping people become a part of a permanent living legacy.
The Solace Reef, which is located off the coast of Weymouth, is the first of its kind in the UK.
Cremated remains are placed in pyramid-shaped ‘Solace Stones’ that are laid to rest on the sea bed.
The sustainable Solace Stones are part of a global drive to help create healthy environments that allow sea life to thrive.
4. Get some ink done
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It’s common for people to get a tattoo to commemorate their loved one’s after they die, but some studios are now offering custom ink containing their remains.
A small number of tattoo parlours have started offering these unique memorial tattoos to bereaved customers. The process involves mixing a small amount of your loved one’s ashes with tattoo ink – which can then be used in a range of designs.
Gods of Ink, in Gloucester, is one of just a few studios to offer this very special type of body art in the UK.
5. Plant a tree in their memory
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The growing popularity of green funerals have got many people thinking about how to give back to the environment after they die.
Biodegradable urns are the perfect tribute to any eco-warrior, designed to return to nature without harming the environment, or even creating a habitat in which you can grow a house plant or tree.
Bios Urn created the world’s first biodegradable urn – each incorporates a seed, with the cremation ashes directly nourishing the growth of a tree, as a living tribute that will continue to grow and flourish.
6. Turn them into a dazzling diamond
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“Diamonds are a girl's best friend,” Marilyn Monroe sang. But did you know that you can actually create your own beautiful diamond from your loved one’s cremation ashes?
This might not be the most affordable memorial, but it certainly is one of the most impressive.
Heart in Diamond create beautiful diamonds from cremation ashes so you can hold on to your special memories of them forever. They cost from £515 for a sparkling yellow gem, to £12,505 for a dazzling white diamond and the jewels can be set in a range of precious metal keepsakes
7. Turn Them Into Music
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If you are searching for the perfect idea for what to do with your loved ones ashes after cremation, then this option could be music to your ears. And Vinyly, a UK-based company, offers people the chance to immortalise their loved ones by having their ashes pressed into playable vinyl records.
The record can be pressed with voice recordings or tailor-made with favourite music tracks, while the record cover’s artwork can also be personalised in meaningful ways.
8. Give them one last dance
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US metal band Behemoth granted a late fan’s dying wish by scattering his ashes during a live show. Frontman Adam Nergal Darski scattered the fan’s ashes on to the stage, before performing the late metalhead’s favourite song.
It was reported the band found out about Nick’s dying wish on social media, inspiring them to pay tribute.
If you’re scattering a music lover’s ashes yourself, always seek the permission of the venue owner. One US opera lover accidentally triggered a terrorism scare when he scattered his friend’s cremated remains into the orchestra pit of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
9. Give them a Viking send-off
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Viking ship funerals were reserved for the final voyage of the greatest warriors, but in most cases, Viking ships were buried rather than burned, with the already-cremated remains of the person inside.
Dorset-based Cradle to Grave makes wicker Viking ships complete with a sail, which will float when placed in water.
You can place your loved one’s ashes inside and let it drift away and then set it aflame for a glorious Viking-style scattering.
Creative casket makers Creative Coffins makes stunning replica Viking Ships to order, in full coffin size and also as ashes caskets.
10. Turn them into a beautiful work of art
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Creating art from cremation ashes is becoming popular, in particular, a portrait of the person who has died.
These commemorative cremation portraits are created by mixing your love one’s cremated remains into your materials.
German-born Heide Hatry, who is based in New York, has been creating cremation portraits for the bereaved for more than a decade.
She adds the cremation ashes, piece by piece, to layers of beeswax. Harty started making the beautiful portraits, which take between three and four months to complete, to help her come to terms with the death of a close friend.
11. Turn them into a cherished piece of china
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Imagine cradling a morning cup of coffee, knowing that you are keeping your loved one’s ashes close.
US-based ceramics company Chronicle Cremation Designs uses cremation ashes to create beautiful bespoke ceramics, decorated with glazes that incorporate the ashes of a loved one.
It makes ceramic cups to order for people who want something to remember their loved one by, that they can use every day.
12. Keep them close to their favourite football club
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London-based football club Queens Park Rangers are one of the best clubs for honouring fan’s last wishes.
The Championship team has a club chaplain who supports families to hold memorial ceremonies for fans who have died, at its Loftus Road stadium.
During the service, fans can lay their loved one’s ashes next to the goal line at the home end of the pitch while memories are shared, and prayers are heard.
The club chaplain will hold on to your loved one’s ashes after the service and look after them until the pitch is dug up at the end of the football season.The cremation ashes are scattered carefully and respectfully on the pitch when it is re-seeded.
13. Let them soar through the skies in a classic Spitfire
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Did you know you can have your loved one’s ashes scattered from a classic plane?
This option is perfect for any free spirits or aviation enthusiasts.
14. Keep your loved one close through intimate memories
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Artist Mark Sturkenboom was inspired to design an adult memory box for a friend, who was grieving the death of her husband and missing their physical intimacy.
His conceptual memory box doubles as a speaker, so it can play music. It is opened by a gold-plated key that can be worn as a necklace.
Inside the box is vial to hold a little of their cologne and a glass massager containing a small golden urn which can hold 21 grams of someone’s ashes.
The Netherlands-based artist says the memory box is “a physical affirmation of love against the unavoidable passing of life,” while 21 grams was once believed to be the weight of the human soul.
15. Shoot them into the sky
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We all have special people in our lives who lit up every room they were in, so this is one fitting way to remember and celebrate all that energy.
The Ash Scattering Cannon is sure to create a spectacular send-off for someone special.
The device can shoot cremains more than seventy feet into the air, allowing for a wide dispersal of ashes that will be seen by all in attendance.
The cremation ashes can also be mixed with confetti or streamers to create a memorable daytime display.
16. Take them on one final trip to remember
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If your loved one was a globetrotter and loved to travel to new places, this could be an ideal way to honour their memory.
Tré Miller Rodríguez, from New York, US, documented a round-the-world trip over the course of several years, scattering a little of her husband’s ashes in places, including the Bahamas, Brazil, the USA, Cuba, England, and Hungary.
Passengers can travel on most airlines with cremated remains, although it is wise to check your airline’s guidelines before you fly. In general, cremation ashes can be transported as carry-on luggage on most airlines. Before you board, the ashes must go through X-ray machines at airport security, so any cremation ashes urn or container must be lead-free.
17. Let them become one with the waves
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There are many boat companies that offer ashes scattering ceremonies on the waves, and it’s even possible to charter your own launch to hold a sea burial ceremony and scatter a loved one’s ashes on the briny.
You don’t need a licence to scatter ashes at sea, although you should be aware of other people that share the space and bear in mind the weather conditions when you are scattering – it can get very windy out at sea.