Urns for Ashes

How to choose an Urn for your loved once’s

It is a heartfelt and thoughtful process that, when completed, can be followed by a sense of comfort urn

Understandably, the main considerations are often the urn design motif, the quality workmanship of the ashes urn material, and its aesthetic appeal. It’s important, though, to also consider some practical aspects in your selection.

how to choose an urns


5 “Oops” that could happen when choosing a cremation urnbox

  1. Wrong size urn for a niche
  2. The double-duty urn works for one purpose, but not the other
  3. Beauty over correct capacity
  4. The left-over ashes
  5. The no-show urn

The fictitious scenarios below illustrate these 6 common “Oops” situations. With a bit of careful planning, because each of the 6 mistakes can be easily avoided.

  1. Wrong size urn for a niche
  • A Tree of life has been chosen for its graceful aesthetics. The formal part of the memorial service is over. The time has come to place the urn into the columbarium niche. Family and friends are gathered for this final gesture of remembrance. As the urn nears the niche, an uneasy stir sweeps through those in attendance. The urn appears to be too tall for the opening, and maybe just a tad too wide. You are left holding the Tree of Lifre. The niche sits empty. 

The niche, typical for a single niche, measures (in inches) 11.25 x 6.25 x 6.25″ Tree of life 

  • Susie and George purchased a Tree of Life Cremation Urn while going through the process of preplanning for end of life. George passed away first. His ashes have been kept at home in the urn for ashes. Now Susie has died. Following through with their wishes, the family is ready to place the urn containing both Susie and George’s ashes in the double columbarium niche that the couple had arranged for 10 years earlier. Their son Tom reads a favorite passage from his mother’s poetry collection. Their daughter Anne carries the urn to the niche. As she lines up the edges, expecting the wooden urn to easily slide in, it doesn’t.

As these examples illustrate, exact measurements of the columbarium niche and the urn are necessary to assure they are compatible.

  1. The double-duty urn – display and scattering

Steve was a professional geologist, and an avid mountain climber. His spouse Barbara chose the large reflective of Steve’s passions in life. The family agreed it was an excellent choice – a beautiful specimen. The plan was to travel cross-country to scatter a portion of his ashes atop Mt. Mansfield in his beloved state of Vermont. Because the remaining ashes would be kept in the home, displayed in the wooden urn for ashes.

Though the urn cleared airport security screening, it was an awkward item to manage. The day for the scattering dawned sunny and cool as three family members hit the trail up the mountain with the urn. Nearing the summit, the path became narrow, steep and rocky. Hands were needed to navigate the terrain. The large alluminium urn felt heavier and had to be managed while climbing rocks. Each person took a turn hefting it up the mountain, trying not to lose balance, and being sure not to tip the urn and lose its precious contents. Backs and arms ached. Breath and tempers became short. Because Scattering a few ashes did not lighten the load for the return hike.

Scattering tubes for ashes are designed for light weight ease of transport for air travel, or hiking. They are affordable and designed to stay closed until the time comes to open them for the scattering ceremony.   


3. Beauty over correct capacity


Ethan knew as soon as he saw it. It was the perfect urn for his wife’s ashes. The material, color and motifs all spoke to her interests and taste. Without a second thought, he ordered it, pleased that the choice had come so easily. Prior to the funeral, he set about transferring her ashes into the urn, startled to find that the urn filled before all the ashes had been put in. Though the urnbox measurements were checked to fit in a special space at home, the urnbox capacity was overlooked. The ashes of his 140-pound wife were too great a volume for the urn’s capacity of 50 cubic inches.

The funerary industry suggests 1 cubic inch urnbox capacity for every 1 pound of pre-death body weight, e.g., an box capacity of 50 cubic inches will be sufficient for 50 pounds or less of body weight, and had Ethan purchased an urn of a capacity up to 150 cubic inches, the ash would have fit well within its parameters.       

4. A jewelry urn and left-over ashes


Alexis searched through a variety of necklaces for ashes to find an ash pendant to wear as a keepsake. Her focus was solely on the design and patina, selecting one that symbolized her memories of times shared with her partner. Because she came upon one that spoke to her – it was sterling silver and the design was perfect for her style and to honor her partner. When the pendant arrived, she was taken by surprise to realize that it held only a tiny portion of ashes. So What was she to do with the rest?

Our blog about ways to care for cremated ashes provides traditional and unique ideas for keeping a loved one’s memory close and their ashes honored and secure.         

5. The no-show urn

how to choose urn

Many times, urns for ashes are not purchased until a loved one has died. In the midst of so much planning and emotional distress, usually there is a scramble to attend to the details of a memorial service. When the service is scheduled quickly, details can be overlooked. Terry planned a service to occur a few days following the death of her mother. She and her sister chose an urn that would be a prominent focal point for the ceremony. But Terry realized too late that the urn wouldn’t arrive in time. Accounting for shipping time, any engraving or personalization added and other unforeseen possibilities before a ceremony will reduce the risk of “the no-show urn”.

The above scenarios illustrate miscalculations and oversights we have encountered with our customers. Each one can be avoided, ensuring a successful purchase and eliminating undue stress. So When choosing and ordering an urn, taking  the time to consider the practical elements will greatly lessen any chance of the above occurring.

Recipe for choosing a cremation urn without issue:

  1. Take careful measurements and necessary dimensions.
  2. Read product descriptions thoroughly, noting urnbox capacity, material, and function.
  3. Note the shipping guidelines to assure timely delivery.
  4. In some instances, two urns might work best – for example, one for scattering a portion of ashes and another box for display later, or one cremation pendant with another for the remainder of the ashes.
  5. When in doubt, check with customer service.

Though an “Oops” might become a warm-hearted family story in years to come, it is preferable that there are no jarring surprises while families proceed with ceremonies honoring the life of their loved one.



Countless Ways to Care for Cremated Ashes

Cremation Urns

Perhaps you’ve considered whether to be cremated or buried. Or, maybe you’re asking the question in relation to a deceased loved one. If you arrive at the choice of cremation, the next question is what to do with cremated remains. 

In a previous blog,  what to expect when receiving cremated ashes, we talked about the initial shock when you receive a call that the cremation remains are ready for pick up. We also discussed the texture, weight, odor, and color of the ashes. Now that the initial shock has passed, and the realization that your loved one is not coming back has taken hold, you might ask, “what next?” 

Traditionally – and historically in the USA – we’ve buried our deceased. And the burial of ashes remains a common choice when cremation has been elected. For me and my brothers, burying ashes of my Dad was important. We also wanted to display keepsake urns in our homes. Cremation urns are so beautifully crafted today that they are a pleasure to admire. 

Many options, in addition to burying cremains, exist as to what to do with cremation ashes. You might be surprised at a few of the ideas listed below.

Memorialize a loved one by

  • storing ashes in a display cremation urn
  • burying ashes in a cemetery or private plot
  • housing in a cremation urn held in a columbarium

Green choices

  • scattering ashes
  • burying ashes with a tree
  • selecting a biodegradable urn
  • the burial of ashes in a coral reef
  • composting ashes

Sharing ashes

  • by storing a small portion in keepsake cremation urns for ashes
  • by giving out cremation jewelry containing small amounts of cremains
  • buying smaller cremation urns to hold half or a third of the ashes

Artisan cremation urns and urns in disguise  

  • urns that don’t look like urns such as embedding ashes in hand-blown glass and paintings 
  • one-of-a-kind handmade cremation urns
  • selecting non traditional urn designs or statuary for ashes

Wearable ideas

  • integrating ashes in tattoos
  • storing ashes in all forms of cremation jewelry

Various funerary designs  

  • ash architecture
  • ash scattering and burial gardens
  • ashes in artificial waterfalls

Fantastic ideas to name just a few

  • putting ashes into fireworks for “cremation fireworks”
  • ashes memorialized in a meaningful object such as a Pringles can or a 3D printed object of affection such as a coffee pot.
  • ashes that are shot into space
Unique options for cremated ashes

In my research, I ran across a few interesting stories of what individuals chose to do with their ashes.

  • Gene Roddenberry of “Star Trek” fame, and ’60s icon Timothy Leary chose to have their ashes blasted into space, literally, through a company called Celesis.
  • Mark Gruenwald, famed Marvel Comics editor, had his ashes mixed into ink and applied to the first printing of a compilation containing one of his Marvel’s creations.  In a fitting tribute, his widow Catherine wrote, “He remained true to his passion for comics, as he has truly become one with the story and blended himself in the very fiber of the book.”
  • Kim Mordue, a heart-broken mom whose 20-year-old son died, used a portion of his ashes mixed with ink and had three tattoos memorializing him etched onto her back.

And if you are exploring new ideas, did you know that cremated ashes can now be fused into glass cremation keepsakes, stoneware, pottery and more?

Green things to do with a loved one’s ashes

For the environmentally concerned, the area of green burials and green alternatives is growing. You, or your pet, can become one with a tree. You might elect to have ashes placed in a biodegradable urn for land or sea; create a living legacy by having your ashes mixed with environmentally-safe cement that forms an eternal reef designed to create marine habitats for fish and other sea life. The most unusual of these more “green” concepts which is gaining in popularity, if not scrutiny, is to compost yourself. Through a natural decomposing process that takes about 10 days, the deceased is transformed into nutrient-rich compost – suitable to use in your garden.

What about interring ashes 

I recently took a tour of the beautiful grounds of Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis. We happened upon a family that had opened a columbarium niche, which held the ashes of their parents in separate urns. I thought it was so great that the family could open the niche at any time to pay respects. There is also the possibility to have both you and your loved one’s ashes kept in a companion urn, keeping you together not only in life – but in death, as well.

Burial urns and burial vaults are popular for those who wish to be buried in a family plot and provides a final resting place marked with a gravestone.

As you can see, countless options exist. Our planning guides and many blog articles provide detailed information to help you understand the range of choices, and to assist you in making the best decision for you, your loved one – or for a beloved pet.

i recently took a tour of the beautiful grounds of lakewood cemetery in minnepolis. we happened upon a family that hasd a open a colombarium niche, which held the ashes of their parents in separate urns because i thought it was a great that the family could open the niche at any time to pay respects. there is also a posssibility to have a both you and your loved one’s ashes kept in companion urn, keeping you together not only in life – but in death as well .

Burial urns and burial vaultsare popular for those who wish to be buried in a family plot. This providers a final resting place marked with a gravestone.



urn for ashes

What You Need to Know to Choose the Right Urn for Ashes


Let’s take a look at the different standard urn sizes. Here’s what you need to know to choose the right urn for your loved one.

Urn Sizes

There are two ways to measure the size of a cremation urn for ashes. First is the capacity, which measures the internal volume of the urn, and the second is the dimensions, which tells you the exterior length, width, and height of the urn.

1(a). Urn Capacity (Interior Size)

The most important detail regarding urn sizes will be the urn’s capacity. This means how much of the ashes the urn can hold.

Urn capacity is measured in cubic inches. That’s the length, width, and depth of the inside of the urn in inches.

For example, an urn with an interior measuring 8″ long by 5″ wide and 5″ tall will have a capacity of 200 cubic inches.

8 x 5 x 5 = 200

Since urns come in different shapes, the internal measurements aren’t always so simple (for instance, a vase-shaped design with rounded surfaces). Thus, we won’t give the internal measurements on the product page. Instead, we simply list the capacity in cubic inches.

1(b). Capacity Needed

So, what capacity do you need? Most often, you’ll need a capacity of about 200 cubic inches or less.

Here are a few ways you can figure the capacity you need:

Convert weight to cubic inches.

This is the simplest and most common method. Take the individual’s body weight, in pounds, and that is the number of cubic inches you’ll most likely need. So a person who weighed 185 lbs will require an urn with a capacity of 185 cubic inches or less.

Measure the ashes.

Measure the length, width, and height, in inches, of the ashes you have. (The remains will be in a durable plastic bag.) Multiply together to get the total cubic inches. This can easily be done by placing the remains into a box-like container, such as a cardboard box.

Measure the temporary urn

Most crematoriums will give you the cremated remains in a “temporary urn”. This is a plastic container which typically measures 8.5″ by 6.5″ by 4.5″. If your temporary urn is this size, it holds 200 cubic inches.
Ask the funeral director. Simply ask the funeral director and they’ll tell you what size urn you need. They’ll do this by #2 (measuring the ashes) or #3 (verifying that the ashes fit into a standard temporary urn).

2. Urn Dimensions (Exterior Size)

The second way to measure urn size is by the exterior dimensions. This is the widest, longest, and tallest outside edges of the urn.

Since many urns have decorative bases, accents, lids, or other embellishments, the exterior dimensions have little relation to the urn’s interior capacity.

But it is still important to know the actual exterior size of the urn. You may need to fit it into an urn vault for burial, into a niche in a columbarium, or maybe you just want to make sure it will fit onto your mantle. The product dimensions will tell you how much space is taken up by the urn for ashes.

Now that you know the basics, let’s take a look at urn sizes.

Standard Adult Urn Size
The industry standard capacity for an adult urn is 200 cubic inches.

Now, sometimes this varies a bit. Some items listed as “adult” or “standard size” urns can be more or less. We’ve seen urns described as “standard adult” from 150 cubic inches up to 250 cubic inches. So it’s important to actually look at the product details to be sure.

But 90% or more of the urns you see will be about 200 or even 220 cubic inches.

External measurements for any and all urns will vary considerably. But here’s a general idea of what you’ll see.

Box-type urns will often be rectangular, with the long side measuring 10-12 inches. The two shorter dimensions might be between 6-9 inches.

Vase-shaped urns will typically be around 9-13 inches tall. These urns will have a diameter of around 6-9, depending on how tall or squat they are.

Shop standard sized cremation urns here.

Companion Urn Size
The industry standard capacity for a companion urn is 400 cubic inches.

A companion urn is just what it sounds like – a single urn designed to hold the ashes of two people.

This means that the inside should have approximately double the amount of a standard urns. Thus, these urns typically hold about 400 cubic inches of cremated remains.

Again, this can vary a bit. There are companion urns that hold as little as 350 cubic inches, and others that hold over 400 cubic inches. But, by and large, most companion urns are about 400 cubic inches in capacity.

Outside dimensions aren’t quite double the size of a standard adult single urn. Think 11-14 inches on the long side, and 8-10 inches on the two shorter sides.

Shop companion urns here.

Small Urn Sizes
Smaller urn sizes (inside and outside) will vary quite a bit. This is because there are many types of smaller urns.

Keepsake Urns

“Keepsake” urns are designed to hold a small portion of the ashes.

This is so that family members can have a small portion as a “keepsake” token. Often this happens when the remains are buried or scattered, yet one or more family members want to keep some of the ashes.

Keepsake urns can hold as little as 1 cubic inch up to about 50 or so. Most often, keepsake urns hold around 5-20 cubic inches of remains.

Child or Infant Urns

Urns for small children are smaller than the adult sized urns, for obvious reasons. There are very small urns for infants and a range of sizes in between that and the standard adult sizes.

Infant urns can measure 10-20 cubic inches, while “Child” urns can measure anywhere between 10 and 150 cubic inches.

Pet Urns

Pet cremation is very popular, especially for beloved family pets who have died. Dogs, for instance, can be as little as a few pounds to up over 150 lbs. This means that the sizes for pet urns, while most often smaller than the industry standard adult (human) size, will be made in a wide range of capacities.

Extra Large Cremation Urns
What if you need an urn that is larger than the standard adult size, yet you don’t quite need a companion urn?

There are some cremation urns made in various extra-large capacities, from 250 cubic inches to 300 and even 350 cubic inches. If you’re looking for one of these, give us a call and we’ll help you find the right one for you.

However, as we described above the actual exterior dimensions of most companion urns aren’t substantially bigger than the standard sizes. So most manufacturers don’t make in-between sizes. It’s simply easier and more cost efficient to jump from 200 cubic inches up to 400 in the companion size.

So if you’re looking for extra large cremation urns, we recommend checking out our selection of companion urns.

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Keeping Pet Ashes at Home After Pet Cremation

Many pet parents find comfort in keeping all or a portion of their pet ashes at home. In talking with other pet parents, I found that people retain a portion of ashes to put in a display cremation urn, and also scatter a portion of the pet’s ashes in a home garden. Urns for pet ashes are available as biodegradable and scattering urns, and as display urns made of ceramic, stone and marble, metal, and wood.

“Bear,” who was my sweetPeke-Chihuahua, gave me 16 years of abiding love. She fit in the palm of my hand as a puppy, gave the best hugs throughout her life, and loved to snuggle into my neck. She was my life. When the time came to make the unimaginable decision to let her cross over the Rainbow Bridge, my only choice was to have my veterinarian euthanize her. Looking back, options at the time were limited for after-life pet care. Today, there are more choices for pet parents, including cremation and keeping a pet’s ashes at home.

Every day, someone just like me loses a part of their heart with the passing of these dear companions. Whether it’s a dog, cat, bird or a horse, our primary wish is to provide a memorable resting place as tribute to all of the years of love our pet gave.

When death occurs – or is imminent

It’s helpful for families to discuss their feelings around a beloved pet’s end of life and after-life care in advance. If end of life care is more complex, certain vets will provide palliative care. Research your area for vets that provide this level of care. When the time comes, euthanasia services are provided by most vets.

In researching for this article, I came upon All Pets Go to Heaven in Fall City, Washington. Their mission and services offer a way to say goodbye in a gentle, loving and respectful way. They offer a “cabin chapel” where, if desired, euthanasia can be done in a private, peaceful, and beautiful environment. Care of this level is desirable, but not always easy to find.

If cremation has been chosen for after-life care, a few things to consider are:

  • What service provider will be used for cremation? Your vet should be able to recommend a provider, or can assume responsibility for this.
  • Do you wish for a private cremation that assures you the pet will be identified, and cremated privately so that you’ll receive only your pet’s ashes? Alternatively, your pet can be cremated with other pets.
  • What will you do with the pet’s ashes after cremation?

Keeping a pet ashes at home

Among options regarding what to do with a pet’s ashes, we find more and more pet parents choose to keep at least some portion in a pet cremation urn at home. A few concerns that come up are:

  • Will other pets in the home react to the presence of a cremation urn for pet ashes? Cremated ash generally does not have an odor. Although it’s unlikely that any remaining pets at home would have a reaction to the presence of their lost friend and companion’s ashes in an urn, expect a surviving pet to show signs of loss. This planning guide on What to Expect When you Receive Cremated Ash outlines a few things to anticipate when picking up the ashes of your cremated pet.

Size Cremation

  • What size cremation urn is the right size for your beloved pet? This depends on the size of Fido or Fiona. Product descriptions list cremation urn capacity in cubic inches. Each pound of before-death weight equals 1 cubic inch capacity. So, for a pet that weighed 30 pounds before death, look for an urn that lists a capacity of 30 cubic inches or more. For large breed dogs that weigh up to 195 pounds, there are large cremation urns such as the Classic Slate Pet Paw Urn. For any large animal,  Browse our collection of pet cremation urns and search for by size (extra-small, small, medium, large)

What else can I do with my pet’s ashes?

Below are a few options that might be appealing.

  • Consider burying or scattering a pet’s ashes at a place of special meaning, or in a pet memorial garden.
  • A portion of your pet’s ashes can be infused into glass, and formed into a glass heart paper weight, or into another distinctive glass cremation keepsake.
  • Is there interest in burying your pet’s ashes in a local pet cemetery?
  • Growing in popularity, is to put a very small amount of cremains in pet urn jewelry.

My Bear did me a lot of damage. When I said my final good-byes and I love you’s and I’m sorry’s, I sobbed. Before I could escape, the front desk stopped me to fill out paperwork. Are you kidding me, I thought barely able to breathe, much less hold the pen. Thinking back, I’m so sad I didn’t do more for her.

I’m grateful today that many choices exist to honor and memorialize a beloved pet. .

Wood Urns – A Natural Choice

Natural Wood Urns for Cremation


A traditional material for cremation urns, wood can be engraved easily for a personalized tribute to a loved one. Available in a variety of wood types (walnut, maple, bamboo, etc.) as well as a wide range of finishes, wood urns display natural elegance as part of a memorial service or a home tribute to a loved one. These cremation urns for ashes are also suitable for burial, and some are made specifically as niche urns.

The options for personalization on wood urns are very flexible — But often including direct engraving and artwork to reflect personality and interests. 

The natural wood grain and warm colors of the wood are enhanced by the added engraving. Engraved brass plates are another attractive way to memorialize a loved one and can be placed on most wood urns. 

  Offered in a range of styles and finishes with many custom options, wooden urns are simple to care for. Tips for wooden urn care include: 

  • Regular dusting with a soft cloth or duster
  • Occasional use of furniture polish or wax — so as you would clean your wooden furniture
  • For a deeper clean, use warm water and a mild dish soap to wipe dirt from the surface of the urn, followed by a soft, dry cloth to remove excess water
  • Because it will clean the wood without harm it

With such a wide range of options and styles, ease of care, and flexibility of use, wooden urns may be the natural choice for you and your family as you look for a memorial because that reflects the life and spirit of your loved one.

To see more of our traditional cremation urns, visit our website: BUY NOW

How Much is Pet Cremation?

Pet Cremation

A beloved pet is just as important as any close family relative. Like any family member that unfortunately passes away, you will want to celebrate your pet’s life and memorialize those precious moments in a meaningful way. The options and services for pet incineration are wide-ranging. But how much is pet cremation? What is the best way to approach pet cremation?
This guide will help you make the right choice when saying goodbye to your beloved family pet.

Let’s start with the most frequently asked question; How much is pet cremation?

Pet cremation is a great way to ensure you honor and memorialize your beloved pets. There will be factors that affect the price of cremation. The most common way crematoriums charge for cremation is by the weight of an animal. On average, if an animal weighs under 50lbs then you will be charged between $50-$100. Larger animals could cost up to $260.

You will also pay more for a private ceremony compared to a communal ceremony where you are among other mourners but curtained off for your Pet cremation.

Burial vs. Cremation

You may think about burying a pet at home or in a pet cemetery is the ideal way to preserve the memory and good times you had together. However, burial is not always practical for where you live. Perhaps you live in a city apartment or in an area where there is no pet cemetery. Something people don’t consider is when they move, what happens to your pet? You can’t take them with you. Not only does cremation mean you can take your pet wherever you go, no matter if you live in an urban area or a city apartment, but the price difference will be significantly reduced.

How does the process work of Cremation?

If you take the heart-breaking decision to take your pet to be euthanized at the vet, they will be able to organize the transportation of your pet to the crematorium. Rest assured your pet will be in good hands. If your pet passes away at home, then some crematoriums will come and collect for you.

Are there different types of pet cremation urns and where can you get them from?

There are many types of urns, cremation made from different materials you can purchase for a deceased pet. From simple wooden boxes to ornate brass urns or beautifully crafted discrete pendants, there are many choices to suit the best way to remember your beloved pet. How much is pet cremation overall? Certainly, much cheaper than burial and you can take your pet wherever you go.

If you believe Cremation is the right choice for your special friend, then you will find a wide selection here at Urnsmemorials.com for a competitive price.

Urns.com has over 15 years of experience in supplying high quality and carefully crafted urns, keepsakes and tealights to help keep the memories alive of dearly departed pets. We will provide a unique and delicate touch for all your mourning needs.

Choosing cremation allows you to eliminate many costs associated with funerals including the casket, gravesite, cemetery fee, and headstone cost. Many people also consider cremation a more environmentally-friendly option because no land is disturbed for burial purposes


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