12 Weird Things to Do With Your Cremated Remains

by Adrienne Doss

Photo by casch52

As cremations have become more and more popular in recent years, people have devised a number of unusual ways to commemorate the dearly departed. If you're looking for a unique way to be remembered, here are 12 strange things you can do with your cremated remains.

1. You Can Be Shot Into Space

Celestis made headlines in 1997 when they launched the cremated remains of 60's icon Timothy Leary and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry into space. For a fairly reasonable fee (starting at $695), you can send a "symbolic portion" of yourself on the next available mission, riding alongside a commercial or scientific satellite.

You can come back to Earth after the flight, or pay more to remain in orbit. You'll stay there for an estimated 10 to 240 years before reentering the atmosphere in a blaze of fire. In the future, Celestis plans to launch cremated remains into the moon's orbit, to the surface of the moon, and possibly into deep space.

2. You Can Be Exploded With Fireworks

Yes, you can literally "go out with a bang."

Companies like Heaven's Above Fireworks can pack a small portion of your ashes into professional-grade fireworks and stage a memorial display for your survivors. You can choose a big, noisy, colorful display or a quieter, more understated event.

For a smaller fee, you can have your ashes stuffed into small, self-fired rockets, so your family can have their own private fireworks ceremony at home.

3. You Can Be Mixed Into a Coral Reef

Environmentalist? Ocean lover? You can create your own "living legacy" by having your ashes turned into an artificial coral reef. Your remains will help restore damaged reefs and create a nurturing marine environment for fish and other forms of sea life.

Starting around $4,000, Eternal Reefs will mix your cremated remains into concrete, shape the artificial reef and place the reef out on the sea floor. Larger personal reefs can hold up to four people and include pets. If that's too pricey, you can have your remains mixed together with others and as part of a complete reef system.

4. You Can Be Crushed Into a Diamond

Jewelry from human remains? It sounds ghoulish, but we're not talking about necklaces made from bones or teeth.

With companies like LifeGem, your carbon remains (or a lock of your hair) can be crushed into a gemstone that is identical to a natural diamond on a molecular level. Using modern technology, this process only takes a few months instead of millions of years.

It's not cheap, though. Expect to shell out a few grand for the smallest gems, and that doesn't include the cost of the setting.

5. You Can Be Fired In Hand-Blown Glass

Can't shell out a small fortune to be crushed into a diamond? For a fraction of the price, you can still be turned into bling at Memory Glass.

Starting around $150, the artists at Memory Glass take a small portion of cremated remains and infuse them into hand-blown glass keepsakes and jewelry. Each member of your family can get their own colorful glass pendant to wear on a chain or leather cord.

6. You Can Be Painted Into a Work of Art

The professional artist at Ashes to Portraits creates oil paintings of the deceased with traces of cremated ashes mixed in. If you like this idea, make sure you leave behind a large, close-up photograph to work from (at minimum, 4" x 6", but the bigger the better). They'll also do portraits of your cremated pet.

If you prefer something less literal, you can send a bit of your ashes to Art in Ashes. Their staff painter creates colorful modern abstract art mixed with cremated remains. You can choose one of their pre-made compositions or let them know what colors you want to see.

7. You Can Be Launched in a Helium Balloon

Scattering cremated remains by airplane is fairly common these days, but it can be expensive and difficult for family members to participate. The Eternal Ascent Society makes aerial ash scattering more accessible and affordable by placing the ashes inside a large helium balloon and launching it into the clouds.

The balloon itself is 5 feet wide and comes in red, green, blue and yellow. About 6 miles up into the sky, the atmosphere gets so cold that the balloon will freeze and shatter, and your ashes will disperse into the clouds. It's biodegradable, so you don't have to worry about damaging the environment.

8. You Can Be Stuffed Into a Teddy Bear

Huggable Urns are stuffed animals with a lined velvet compartment inside to hold a person's cremated remains. You can choose from a number of teddy bears, plush dogs and cats or just a simple, soft pillow.

You can send in a loved one's clothing or special blanket to have a small outfit or accessory made for your Huggable Urn. They also make customized stuffed animals, if you'd like one that looks just like a deceased pet.

9. You Can Be Mounted to a Vehicle

Some people are happiest when they're behind the wheel, and now you can be there permanently after your demise. A Mobile Cremation Urn can be mounted on a motorcycle, motor home, car, truck, police cruiser, cruise ship or pretty much anything else that moves.

You can personalize your mobile cremation urn with engraving, and add your picture to the mobile urn with your name or a favorite quote. You can also choose a commemorative disc for the end cap based on your religion, profession, military service or social organization.

10. You Can Be the Sand in an Hourglass

An interesting twist on the typical urn is the Hourglass Keepsake Urn. This hourglass is filled with cremated ashes instead of sand, creating a lovely symbol of the passage of time in every person's life.

If you and your spouse or loved one would like to share an hourglass, your ashes can be mixed into a single urn.

11. You Can Be Turned Into a Box of Pencils

With this project, artist Nadine Jarvis is exploring the idea of turning a deceased person from "ashes to ashes." She estimates that about 240 pencils could be made from the carbon of human cremains.

The pencils would be stored inside a specially designed box, with a sharpener in its side and a viewing window on top. When the pencils are sharpened into the side of the box, the pencil shavings turn into a new kind of ash, and the box becomes a kind of urn.

12. You Can Be Built Into a Pyramid

In ancient Egypt, the pyramids were built to hold the remains and worldly goods of the royal deceased. Unfortunately, these "permanent" monuments have deteriorated under the stresses of time, weather and incessant grave-robbing.

In modern times, a company called PYRA Development wants to build pyramids out of a high-impact polymer that would last over a million years. Each building block of the pyramid would contain the remains and memorabilia of a deceased person.

There's no evidence that this project ever got off the ground, but it's a fascinating idea nonetheless.

It's never too early to start planning for the end of life ... especially if you're considering something a little out of the ordinary. A life insurance policy can provide your loved ones with the funds they need to carry out your last wishes.

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{ 34 comment… read it below or add one }

Gina Alessia November 17th, 2009
Morbid ideas :)
Kylie November 17th, 2009
Awesome, I like the 4th and 8th ones.
a.m. November 17th, 2009
I think ashes to mix with fertilizer be a good idea. Then you can be sure to reincarnate as a vegetable or a flower.
Stephanie November 17th, 2009
I know someone who had their ashes made into clay pigeons. The immediate family shot at them. The deceased must have thought it would be amusing, but it was actually pretty disturbing/upsetting for those involved. (which led to a lot of drinking, combined with inexperienced people shooting guns...)
wedschilde November 17th, 2009
You can also be mixed in with tattoo ink and be literally inked on a loved one's body.
chrisr November 17th, 2009
I'm going to be scattered over our local soccer pitches,where I spend alot of my time during the season. The idea of me going home ground into some kids jersey or stuck on his cleats strikes me as fitting, and funny."Damn, I can't get these ground in Ref stains outta Jimmy's socks!"
DUDE November 17th, 2009
you can be used as the soil of some Ganja then your friends can smoke you. that's what i want to do
mark November 17th, 2009
You can be baked into a loaf of bread, fed to seagulls, and then let them "scatter", (or splatter), your ashes.
The Baron November 17th, 2009
You missed one of the best ones! For the music fan, get your ashes pressed into a vinyl. Take a look at the site http://www.andvinyly.com/ I thinking of something along the lines of a really long version of Stairway to Heaven... Quickly change the title to "13 Weird Things to Do With Your Cremated Remains"!
narrenaditya November 18th, 2009
some thing for the humanity and something for the dead..but almost all the options are definitely worth considering..if given the choice by family i would choose the twelfth one..
Georgia Prune November 18th, 2009
If I die first, I am having a small portion of my ashes flung in my ex-husband's face.
thomas benton November 18th, 2009
how about spreading them on the stage of a strip bar in place of baby powder??
mary November 18th, 2009
My biker friend has a different take on #10, but similar.... His friend who does jewelry & glass work is to make little clear vials- uhhh...similar to coke vials... the vials will have chains on the caps & can be put on your keychain. All his friends will get some of Jim. Then when his buddies go riding, he gets to go along! When they get home, they put the keys on the dresser & he gets to watch them have sex with their old ladies!
Heather November 18th, 2009
I really liked number 12. I find it has a little more dignity and longevity than being in a stuffed animal. I do not think that is really being "laid to rest."
Rob November 18th, 2009
My remains are to be mixed with dog food and fed to my pitbull Duke, MAYDAY X REDBOY
Diego November 18th, 2009
My wife and I are going to have our ashes mixed and mixed into the dirt used to plant a tree on the family farm.
FS November 18th, 2009
You left out frisbees! Edward Headrick (who invented the Wham-O Pro Model frisbee in 1964) was made into them: http://www.discgolfassoc.com/equipment/discs/steadyedmemorial-discs.html
S2E November 20th, 2009
I want my ashes mixed with cement and molded as a lawn gnome for my daughter's garden.
Italian88 November 21st, 2009
On that tattoo show, they combined someones ashes with ink and tattooed it into someone
John December 8th, 2009
I don't know about this whole cremtaion thing. I mean when I'm resurrected how's my spirit going to get into my body if it's burnt... nevermind scattered.
Toni December 27th, 2009
They are all great, although the teddy bear is just a bit much. I always thought mixing me in concrete for a park bench would be nice. Oh, and John...you need to lose the superstition. When you are dead, you are dead.
Fred January 3rd, 2010
A friend of mine had his remains fabricated into a urinal. He was kind of a perv in life :)
bestprankever January 6th, 2010
Giant pepper shaker.
Pat January 7th, 2010
Load in a shotgun shell instead of pellets and shoot at ducks. (read a story about it)
PRR January 31st, 2010
Fireworks, that is how Hunter S. Thompson did it. :-)
Durpadoo March 2nd, 2010
Rob, you must either be really old or plan on dying really soon. Dogs don't live that long, lol.
death wish March 22nd, 2010
Hunter s. Thompson was fired out of a cannon.
GJFord April 11th, 2010
You forgot zen gardens! that's what i want to be when i die, a zen garden.
Jeff June 9th, 2010
I was thinking I would get my ashes in little ziplock bags and have them at the front of the funeral with a sign saying : you want a piece of me? (If so, please take a bag) if not, kiss my ash!
Matt August 19th, 2010
One of the more unique ways would be scatting your ashes into the blue sky via skydive! See: http://www.blueskygoodbye.com for more information!
jenny August 30th, 2010
i like the art one so i can hang on my wall next to my bed and dream about the death person lol
T September 20th, 2010
I know a lot of you think the stuffed bears are a weird idea. My little boy died very recently, and I found this site while looking for what to do with his ashes. To me the thought of holding a bear with his ashes inside is really tempting. I want to hold my baby again. This may sound weird to others, but until you have been in this position, it would be difficult to appreciate. One day I would move his ashes elsewhere.
Sally L. Wright November 9th, 2010
In death, I can finally get that hour-glass figure, take that space flight, be somebody's muse, and be one with the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt. This post is a stunning accomplishment. A hearty thumbs up. SLW
Dr. John Dwyer December 4th, 2010
I wonder about the 70 years' worth of heavy metals, etc. already absorbed and contained in my flesh and bones. Being a home gardener, I always, romantically, imagined that my cremated dust could be returned to the life cycle very quickly by my survivors' tilling it into one of the vegetable beds. But I'd probably further poison anyone eating the produce thus produced. I kind of like S2E's lawn gnome idea, but what happens when my daughter dies? In _Brave New World_ there's an effort to recover at least the phosphorus at the high-rise crematories. And a dentist will get the gold to reuse. What to do? Maybe like nuclear waste I could be blended into a glass log and tossed into Yucca mountain. Just so long as I don't make a final contribution to the Corporation, I guess, in the end, it doesn't much matter.

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