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Guest Blog Post: 6 Creative and Unique Things to Do with Ashes

May 16, 2018

ASD is pleased to share this guest blog post from Kirsty Judge, Writer and Editor for Beyond, a UK-based company offering funeral director listings, open funeral plans, and other end-of-life planning tools for families in need. In this guest post, Kirsty outlines several unique and out-of-the-urn ideas for families wanting to do something extra-memorable with their loved one's ashes.

Guest Blog Post: 6 Creative & Unique Things to Do With Ashes

After a cremation, families often wonder if there’s something special they can do with their loved one’s ashes. Sometimes, a simple scattering or resting on a shelf can seem a little unimaginative – especially if the person who has passed was a bit of a live-wire themselves.

Luckily, a number of innovative companies have stepped in to offer alternatives ranging from the weird to the wonderful. Here are six creative ideas you can suggest to families who are looking for something extra-memorable to do with their loved one’s ashes.

Create a coral reef

Todd Murray/CC BY-SA 2.0

The perfect option for beach lovers, sea-goers and environmentalists alike: becoming a coral reef. With multiple coastal sites to choose from, Eternal Reefs will combine a loved one’s ashes with 100% natural cast concrete to create a great new habitat for fish and other marine life.

A couple of miles east of Key Biscayne, Miami lies the Neptune Society’s memorial reef, a mini-Atlantis that may well be the largest man-made reef ever conceived. After their loved one’s ash-concrete memorial is placed, families can charter boats and dive to explore this atmospheric underwater cemetery.

Arrange a Viking funeral

While the Hollywood idea of a Viking funeral (the fallen warrior sent out to sea in his ship, the flaming arrow shot from the shore, the carousing …) isn’t exactly historically accurate, there’s no denying the dramatic appeal.

Sadly, it’s not that safe to send a full body-sized flaming raft out into the waters. However, a family can now give a loved one a true warrior’s send-off by placing their ashes in one of Cradle to Grave’s hand-woven, flammable Viking funeral urns (UK-based, shipped internationally).

Water-tight and kind of adorable, these tiny willow ships can be filled with ashes, sent out on a lake and, yes, lit on fire for a very memorable funeral service. Carousing optional.

Cuddle up

After a bereavement, it’s natural to want a hug – which is why Australian company Cami Bear creates custom teddy bear urns for ashes. Each soft, fuzzy and highly cuddle-able bear has its own ‘Heart Tin’, which can be used to hold ashes, messages and small items for safe-keeping. The tummy patch can be embroidered with a name or personal message.

Send them up into the beyond

The sky is literally the limit when it comes to scattering ashes. Florida-based Eternal Ascent will send ashes skyward in a helium balloon, while many other companies will now add them to fireworks for you.

For the truly adventurous, Celestis will send ashes up into space, where loved ones can spend eternity in the excellent company of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.

Keep them close

Cremation jewelry goes back to the 1900s, but it’s come a long way from its (slightly gothic-looking) Victorian roots. Thanks to hard working artisans, ashes can now be transformed into sparkling diamonds, blown into glass, and even encased in silver fingerprint keepsakes.

Cremation jewelry is a good option for special days when a family member might want their loved one close by, but in a subtle way. Rings are particularly popular: as one glass cremation artist recently shared, “It’s like their loved one is holding their hand.”

Be fired from a gun … or a cannon

Finally, for the consummate hunter, there’s Holy Smoke. Started by two law enforcement officers, this Alabama-based company will place a small amount of ashes into shotgun shells for a final shoot. Or, if you’re more of a “go big or go home” kind of person, you can ask Parting Cannon Shots in Maine to fire ashes from a cannon, just like Hunter S. Thompson.

Looking for more memorial inspiration? Try the Beyond help centre for information and advice.

Kirsty Judge is a writer and editor for Beyond, a UK-based company offering funeral director listings, open funeral plans, probate services and free wills for families in need. Writing for the Beyond help centre and blog ‘The Last Word’, Kirsty creates clear, simple guides to help bereaved families in the UK make informed decisions when planning a funeral. In her spare time, she knits (badly) and cooks (slightly less badly).

Found at, Beyond is the UK’s knowledgeable companion for everything after life. Whether they’re planning ahead with a will or funeral plan, looking for the right local funeral director, or seeking help with funeral costs, we have the tools, information and advice families need.


About The Author

Jess Fowler

Jess Fowler is a Public Relations Specialist and Staff Writer who has been a part of the ASD team since 2003. Jess manages ASD's company blog and has been published in several funeral trade magazines. She has written articles on a variety of subjects including communication, business planning, technology, marketing and funeral trends. You can contact Jess directly at