Once your loved one is cremated, you'll have to decide where the cremated remains go.
Some families opt to bury the ashes in a way modeled after the traditional cemetery burial. Others choose to scatter the remains in a favorite location such as the woods, a lake, the ocean, or a mountain top.
Most families choose a beautiful cremation urn.
But that raises the question - what, exactly, is a cremation urn?
In the most basic sense, a cremation urn is a container for human ashes.
But that word "container" is pretty broad. It might get you wondering what else you can use to store the remains.
(We thought you'd never ask.)
Best & Most Interesting Things to Put Ashes In
Here are 57 things to put ashes in. We'll start with the creative, quirky, and unusual, then move on to more "typical" (yet still inspiring) cremation urns.
Unique Things to Put Ashes In
1. Wine bottle
2. Heirloom keepsake box
3. Build your own box
4. Oak whiskey barrel
5. Antique tea tins
6. Fishing tackle box
7. Teddy bear
8. Gun case
9. Ammo box
10. Mason jar
11. Folger's coffee tin
13. Ziploc bag
14. Decorative bust
15. Rum bottle
18. Cosmetics container
19. Acoustic guitar
20. Cookie jar
22. Pringles can
23. Gas can
24. In a jar with seashells
25. Favorite purse
Wait... A purse?
Let's pause here to note a few things.
First, the cremated remains will come to you in a plastic bag which is inside of a "temporary urn," which is a plastic or cardboard container supplied by the crematorium.
Second, the funeral director or crematory staff with transfer the ashes into your new urn if you bring in the urn and request them to do so. If you're not comfortable with filling the permanent urn yourself, you don't have to do it!
Third, most of the time you'll keep the remains in the plastic bag, and just transfer the bag from the "temporary urn" to the permanent one.
Now, there are some types of urns with small openings into which the remains should be poured, or you might open the bag in order to divide the ashes among family members or put a small pinch into cremation jewelry. But typically the ashes will stay in the plastic back in which they come.
So when we suggest a purse as something to put ashes into, you would simply remove the plastic bag and place it into a purse, then zipper it closed. Preferably you would also sew or lock it shut to ensure the security of the remains inside.
That's how the teddy bear option (#7, above) works. Take any stuffed animal, remove some of the stuffing, place the remains inside within a sealed plastic bag, and sew it shut. It's both a discreet urn and a sentimental, cozy keepsake.
More options like this:
26. Pillow sewn from a favorite shirt
27. Body pillow
29. Fanny pack
30. Diaper bag
31. Dry bag
33. Laptop bag
35. Oven mitt
Cremation Urns to Put Ashes In
Not everyone will want to keep their loved one's ashes in something unusual. There are plenty of options for cremation urns, including a wide variety of beautiful and creative designs.
Here are a few of our favorites - tap the photo to see that urn or others like it.
36. Soaring Eagle Inlay Art Wood Urn
Multiple layers of wood in their natural colors give this Soaring Eagle mountain scene a sense of energy and vibrancy.
37. Passage Candle Art Urn
The Passage Urn is a one-of-a-kind tribute to the light of your life. This ceramic art urn offers multiple finish colors (white crackle and oiled green are depicted above) and a tealight candle holder so you can light a candle in memory any time you want.
38. Floating Shelf Urn
Yes, the shelf itself is the cremation urn. Mount it to the wall and use it as a memorial space for your departed loved one. There will be plenty of room for photographs, candles, keepsakes, and much more.
39. Artisan Gold Cylinder Ceramic Urn
Here we have a gorgeous modern art piece that will pay tribute to your loved one while holding their remains.
40. Decorative Memorial Plaque Urns
Our signature line of Pacific Crest Plaque Urns are designed to be mounted on a wall, but they can also rest on a mantle as shown above.
Choose from a wide variety of personalized designs, including fishing, hearts, motorcycles, lovebirds, sentimental quotes, bicycles, and much more.
41. Lighthouse Cremation Urn
Lighthouses are serene, beautiful, and bring the memory of ocean breezes and crashing waves into your home. This inlay art urn depicts Maine's famous Portland Head Lighthouse, and it is just one of our many lighthouse urn designs.
42. Amato Autumn Hand-Blown Glass Art Urn
The vibrant colors of Autumn will never fail to impress when you choose this hand-blown glass urn as the vessel for your loved one's ashes.
43. Marble Urn with Photo Art
You may want to consider adding a photograph to any of our cultured marble urns. Choose the urn's design and color, then add artwork or a photo of your loved one to create a uniquely personalized memorial.
44. Tealight Candle Keepsake Urn
This candleholder is actually a small urn that holds a portion of cremated ashes. In funeral industry lingo, a "keepsake" urn is a smaller urn that holds a fraction of the remains. In this case, the tealight candle urn holds 18 cubic inches, which is approximately 1/10 of the total amount for a typical adult.
See the tealight keepsake and matching full-sized urn here.
45. Cherry Blossoms Maple Inlay Urn
This maple wood urn is crafted in the USA from genuine maple wood, with a natural cherry backdrop and pink-stained alder cherry blossoms. Everything is laser engraved in fine detail.
46. Handcrafted Ceramic Raku Dragonfly Urn
Raku firing is an ancient pottery technique that ensures each and every design is different and unique, just like your beloved. This urn features a dragonfly and has long been one of our most popular designs.
47. Onyx Urn in Teal
Cultured onyx is a beautiful, long-lasting material that will work equally well displayed on a shelf at home, or buried into the ground at the cemetery. The enduring strength of cultured onyx means that you won't need to get an additional protective burial vault should you choose to bury it.
48. Lovebirds Urn
Whether you think of this as "lovebirds" for the companion sized urn on the left, or as "doves" for the standard adult sized urn on the right, this design boasts a stunning inlay of laser-etched maple wood set into a solid walnut box.
49. Military Niche Urn
This urn was designed specifically to fit into the columbarium niches at Arlington National Cemetery. Because of this, they also fit into many typical funeral home niches as well.
Additionally, you can fit two of these urns into most niches (including the ones at Arlington), so spouses can be placed together. You can get this urn with or without the military service emblem as shown above.
Related: What Is a Columbarium Niche?
50. 3-Dimensional Inlay Art Urns
Our collection of 3-Dimensional Inlay Art Urns has been a popular choice with families for many years. Choose from a broad selection of meaningful themes, including nature and outdoors, hobbies and pastimes, flowers and animals, and much more.
51. Glass Cremation Urns
This rose-colored glass urn is a work of blown glass art, crafted individually in Oregon. Just one of several shapes in a broad selection of color patterns, we encourage you to peruse all of our Glass Cremation Urns.
52. Book or Bible Shaped Urn
This is the Psalm 23 Book Urn. It's made from solid wood, with your choice of mahogany (as shown above), walnut, or natural cherry for the book's cover. The "pages" are maple, etched with lines to create a realistic look.
We have many more book designs, including cross or lovebird inlays, other Scripture passages, or custom personalized. Be sure to browse all the book urns to find the perfect memorial for your beloved.
53. Mystic Blue Marble Cremation Urn
Classic and stately with stunning color options, our line of cultured marble urns engrave beautifully and will endure for generations in honor of your loved one.
54. Dragonfly Memorial Plaque Cremation Urn
An Urns Northwest original, this creatively designed urn is a memorial plaque into which you can put ashes.
The front panel is laser-etched with a dragonfly and the quote, "I'll hold you in my heart until I can hold you in heaven." Your loved one's name and dates are also personalized at no charge.
The plaque itself is 3" deep, and between the front and back panels there is space for up to 170 cubic inches of cremated remains. This allows you to honor your loved one with a gorgeous memorial that doesn't look like a cremation urn.
55. Soul Bird Metal Sculpture Urn
The Soul Bird affords you with the opportunity to encase your loved one's remains in the elegant, modern, and sophisticated bird sculpture.
56. Rustic Wooden Cabin Urn in Mahogany
Crafted in the USA from solid mahogany wood (also available in walnut, maple, and oak), this rustic urn showcases laser etched wood art layered in three dimensions.
57. Angel Sculpture Urn
This lovely memorial is both a sculpture art vessel and a classic ceramic urn. The angel wings give it a heartwarming feel of comfort and love, and it is available in multiple colors.