With everything going on in your life right now, you probably don’t have time to sort through the thousands of different cremation urns available. Therefore we put together practical tips to help you quickly find the perfect urn for your needs.
What is a Cremation Urn
A cremation urn is simply a container that holds cremated remains. Families use urns as a way to honor and affectionately remember lost loved ones. Cremation urns are made of different materials such as ceramic, wood, bronze, granite, brass, glass, porcelain, marble, etc. To decide what material you want, you first need to decide how you will use the urn to determine what material is appropriate.
How Will the Urn be Used
Burial/Cemetery Niche Inurnment
When burying cremains in a cemetery or mausoleum, the facilities usually have guidelines on what materials they will allow in their space. So you will need to check with them first. Check with them to find out the dimension of the niche and choose an urn to fit within that space.
Divide the Cremains Among Family
Sometimes each, or certain family members, want a portion of the remains. For these situations getting a keepsake urn for everyone would be best. Keepsake urns are smaller containers built to hold half or less of the remains.
Keep the Urn at Home
If you are displaying an urn at home, then you can use whatever materials you like since it will be kept safe indoors. Many families choose to get custom wood engraved urns or urns that hold a photo of a lost loved one.
You can either store your urn inside a burial container or just use an urn vault.
- A burial container supports the earth around the urn and keeps the ground from sinking at the burial site. So it doesn’t matter too much what material you choose, but you need to find out what the dimension of the space inside the burial container is.
- Many families choose an urn vault since it serves as both the urn and burial container. It’s a cheaper option and can be used as a display or buried.
Green or Water Burials
If you want to go green, then choose a biodegradable urn made from organic and recycled materials that break down naturally when water or soil are introduced. Just make sure the cemetery allows this type of urn, as not all cemeteries allow green burials. There are urns designed to be set in water. They sink and dissolve quickly, as they are water-soluble.
Scattering urns usually have a top that opens easily so everyone can partake in scattering the ashes in a meaningful place.
Here is a cherry wood scattering urn that features a fisherman catching his fish.
Generally, the rule of thumb is to make sure there is one cubic inch of urn space for every pound. So if the deceased weighed 200 pounds, then you would want to choose an urn that contains at least 200 cubic inches. A conversion calculator found here, can be used.
Cremains can vary in the amount received due to the direct process during cremation – temperature, variation, and the bone structure of the deceased. A slightly larger urn is always better than an urn that’s too small.
Again, an urn usually can’t be “too big,” unless you are trying to fit it inside a limited space, like inside a burial container or a cemetery niche. If that is the case, get the exact dimensions of the container/niche from the funeral home first so you know what size to get.
On the slim chance that not all the ashes fit in the urn you choose, any extra ashes can be put into cremation jewelry or other keepsake urns.
Types of Wood Engraved Urns
A popular material choice for urns is wood. Wood urns display a natural elegance to the memorial tribute of a loved one. The options for personalization on wood urns are very flexible, allowing for engraving and artwork to reflect the deceased’s personality and interest.
Here are several different types of customizable engraved solid wood urns.
A single urn has enough space to hold the cremains of one person. This custom-made 12”x 4.5”x9” urn reads, “Dad, if love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.” The natural cherry wood grain and warm colors of the wood are enhanced by the 4”x 6” picture slot. This urn has 175 cubic inches, therefore it will be suitable for someone who weighed 175 pounds or less.
The Cremation Association of North America determined that the starting capacity of a single adult urn should be around 200 cubic inches. Although, in some cases, larger single-sized urns are needed. Here are two different urns that hold over 200 cubic inches of ashes.
This vertical warm-toned cherry wood cremation urn holds 272 cubic inches of ashes. This is hand-crafted and laser engraved. To access the urn, unscrew the four Phillips-head screws on the bottom. Felt pads and a cremation bag are included for your convenience.
Here is a dovetail cherry wood cremation box, built to hold 291 cubic inches of ash. This urn reads, “This light shines as a symbol of a life and love remembered.” This cremation box makes a beautiful simplistic décor item while serving as a reminder of those precious memories you cherish. It comes in four different sizes to accommodate preferences. To remove the base, simply unscrew the four Phillips-head screws.
There are companion, a.k.a. double-human urns, meaning large urns that have two spots to hold two different cremains. Whether the couple wanted to be buried together or they passed away together, a double-human urn is a perfect solution.
Handmade in the U.S. by skilled workers, this warm cherry wood urn has a middle divider that provides 374 cubic inches of storage in both compartments for a total of 748 cubic inches. Therefore this urn will hold two people who weighed up to 374 pounds each. To fill this urn, you can remove the base by unscrewing five Phillips-head screws.
Children and Keepsake Urns
Children and keepsake urns are traditionally smaller than other urns, as children weigh less, and keepsakes are built to hold half, or less, of the ashes.
Keep your innocent loved one close with this customizable child heart block urn. Made in the U.S. out of solid cherry hardwood, this 5”x5”x3” block holds 16 cubic inches of ashes. It reads, “Daughter if love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.”
This simple yet sleek solid wood urn holds 49 cubic inches of ashes, making it great for not just children's urns, but as a keepsake urn if the ashes are split up. This urn reads, “Grandpa until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.”
Candle urns are generally smaller and contain a spot where a candle can be placed. Each time you light the candle, you can visualize the way your loved one brought so much beautiful light into your life. These make great gifts for family or friends, especially if you plan to separate the cremains between multiple people.
This votive urn holds 64 cubic inches of ashes while offering the warm healing glow of a candle.
Here is another cherry wood candle urn, except this one holds 70 cubic inches of human ash. The touching verse on the front states, “A limb has fallen from our family tree that says grieve not for me. Remember the best times, the laughter and the song, and most of all the good life I lived while I was strong.” To access the urn, unscrew the four Phillips-head screws located on the bottom.
Pet urns have become more popular recently. These serve as a great way to honor your lost-but-not-forgotten best friend.
This urn holds 175 cubic inches for larger animals. If you don’t have as much ash, you could also place their favorite toy in the box with them. The endearing engraved quote reads, “You were my favorite hello and my hardest goodbye.” The picture frame allows you to insert any 4”x6” photo to perfectly capture your furry friend’s devoted personality.
A smaller pet urn available is this wooden dog bone. It holds up to 10 cubic inches. It reads, “I held you in my arms for a short while, but you will forever be in my heart.” This is the best way to memorialize your special family member’s lifetime.