6 Unexpected Things To Do with Cremains


By Emma Castleberry

After a cremation, most family members choose to scatter the ashes or store the cremains in an urn. But there are a variety of other, creative options after a loved one is cremated.

Instead of scattering ashes or keeping them in an urn, some families choose to bury ashes. This option, called interment (not to be confused with internment, which means imprisonment), has become so popular that many cemeteries now have a section reserved for interment of ashes. Interment can be a more affordable option than traditional burial because less space is required.

2. Columbariums
Columbariums, also called cremation niches, are like mausoleums but for cremated remains. Mausoleums are buildings that hold a body, somewhat like a tomb, while columbariums hold drawers or urns of ashes. These alcoves, often located in cemeteries or churches, can sometimes also hold small keepsakes along with the person’s cremains.

3. Tattoos
The trend of commemorative or ritual tattoos, in which a loved one’s ashes are mixed into ink and tattooed on the body, has gained popularity in recent years. There is healthy debate about the health risks of this practice. Some medical professionals argue that there are always risks associated with foreign substances in the body, while proponents say that the amount of ash used in the ink is microscopic and sterilized, so it presents no real risk. Either way, it’s an option that’s available to you.

4. Balloons
A more exciting version of ash scattering, some people choose to have the ashes of their loved one placed into a helium balloon. The balloon travels about five miles above Earth’s surface, freezes and bursts, scattering the ashes into the atmosphere at random.

5. Stained Glass
Another unique way to create a memorial of your loved one is by having their cremains used in glass artwork. Ashes can be suspended in a piece of blown-glass artwork for a timeless and beautiful memorial.

6. Paint
If a piece of visual art appeals to you, some artists will mix ashes with their paint and create a mural or portrait from the product. This can provide a quick and satisfying memorial for family left behind. You can even spread the ash-infused paints among several canvases to give as gifts. If you’re artistically inclined, this can be a DIY project, too.

Take Your Time
This decision of what to do with someone’s ashes comes after a long, trying time of decision making. Many people are exhausted after grieving a loved one, planning a funeral or memorial service, spreading the news and visiting with well-meaning family for days on end. Sometimes, it can seem impossible to make another decision.

Luckily, the ashes aren’t going anywhere. If you decide to keep them in an urn on your mantel, they will still be there in a year or two or more. You can take your time making the decision of what to do with your loved one’s ashes and it’s never too late to take part in any of these activities.

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Hutchison Funeral Home

6051 East Seven Mile Road,

Detroit, MI 48234

Phone. 313-893-1880