10 unique things to do with ashes
After the cremation of a loved one, it can be difficult to decide what to do with their ashes.
The most popular option in the UK is to scatter the ashes, often in a place that was special to your loved one and family. However, some people are now looking for an adventurous way to scatter the ashes, to suit the personality of their loved one whilst other people find scattering the ashes can feel very final, and they would rather keep the ashes close to them, perhaps stored in an urn.
There are many unique ways you can scatter your loved one’s ashes as well as ways to keep them close to you. Here are 10 unique ideas for what to do with ashes after cremation.
1. Turn them into jewellery
You only need a tiny amount of your loved one’s cremations ashes to make a beautiful piece of unique jewellery. Some companies will even combine the ashes of two or more loved ones to form one piece of jewellery. You’ll be able to choose from rings, earrings, bracelets, charms and pendants, even cufflinks if you are not a fan of wearing traditional jewellery. It may also be a nice idea to the piece of jewellery engraved with a personal message for your loved one.
2. Get a tattoo
It’s common for people to get a tattoo in memory of a loved one after they die, but it is now possible to have tattoo ink made with a small amount of your loved one’s cremation ashes, so you will have a small part of your loved one with you for the rest of your life.
Gods of Ink in Gloucester, is one of just a few studios to offer cremation tattoos (or ashes tattoos) in the UK.
3. Shoot them into space
UK based company, Aura Flights allows families to send their loved one’s ashes to the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere. Your loved one's ashes will be transferred into a bespoke scattering vessel, which will carry them into space and scatter them in a gentle cascade. The ashes will be carried around the world, circling the globe for days or even weeks. Eventually, the ashes will cause clouds to form and fall back to Earth as rain or snow.
4. Plant them with a tree
A Bios Urn is made using 100% biodegradable materials and built with a special capsule that will meet the needs of any type of tree, that will allow you to plant your loved ones ashes to grow a tree.
A number of companies also operate memorial woodlands where they will plant and maintain a tree for you. Similar to a green burial. this will create a special meeting place for friends and family to visit to pay their respects amongst nature.
Please be aware, on their own, cremation ashes can be harmful when placed around plants.
5. Create a vinyl record
Research we conducted in early 2019 revealed that one in four young people want their ashes compressed into a vinyl record when they are gone.
AndVinyly will press your loved one’s cremation ashes into a vinyl record, which holds a recording of your choosing for you and your family to enjoy. This can be a great idea if your loved one was a music lover.
6. Turn them into a work of art
Similar to memorial jewellery, you can have your loved one’s ashes made into a piece of unique memorial art. Memorial art is available in many different forms, but one of the most popular is glass art.
With Love & Light create glass art from their studio in Lancashire, using a small amount of cremation ashes. Artists are also incorporating cremation ashes into painted artwork, including portraits of the person or landscape scenes that are memorable to them.
7. Scatter the ashes from a skydive
Yourwings.co.uk will take cremation ashes on a final flight and release them during a skydive. Every skydive is filmed, from the moment of take off to the moment of landing and you’ll be provided with a DVD to share with those who were not present to witness the scattering. If you would like to personally witness the moment in the sky, they can arrange for you to do a tandem skydive at the same time.
Skydives take place across the UK and the ashes are scattered across approximately 15 square miles; you can even request the ashes are scattered over a specific location or landmark.
8. Take them around the world
Did your loved one have a passion for travelling or were they, unfortunately, unable to tick it off their bucket list? If so, you could take the ashes on an around the world trip or to a specific city or country they wanted to visit. You could even scatter part of their ashes in each place you visit.
Most airlines will allow a passenger to travel with cremation ashes although guidelines on taking ashes abroad can vary depending on your destination. We would advise you check with the airlines guidelines and any guidelines specific to your intended destination before you fly.
9. Keep them close to you in a memorial bear
Place a small amount of cremation ashes in a beautiful, cuddly memorial bear. A memorial bear will normally have an opening at the back in which you can place a token amount of ashes (in a small sealed plastic bag). Some companies will even design a unique bear for you.
This way, you really can hold your loved one close to you.
10. Let them go with a bang
UK based company, Heavenly Stars Fireworks is a specialist company that can help you stage a stunning memorial firework display or create fireworks for you to hold your own display, using a small amount of your loved one’s cremation ashes.
You should not feel pressured into doing any of the above suggestions with your loved one’s ashes. Sometimes, less is more; maybe keeping the ashes in an urn at home would work best for you.
A lot of the unique things to do with ashes only require a very small amount of ashes, so it is possible to do something unique, as well as keep the remainder of ashes at home with you or scattered in a meaningful location. Read our guide on the best place to scatter ashes.
Some of the options we’ve listed can be costly, so you should consider your budget before making a decision. It is also important to discuss options with other family members.