When you lose someone you love, you might be filled with tons of emotions. For some people, the best way to process complex emotions is through a creative outlet.
There are plenty of creative ways to honor someone. This can help make memorials, funerals, or any other events not only meaningful but also enjoyable for guests of all ages.
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Below, we’ve provided plenty of DIY memorial craft ideas for kids and families. You’ll find ideas that are appropriate for all age levels. And, you can find the majority of the materials needed around your home or at an affordable store.
Tip: If you're looking for something very unique to honor a loved one, you can custom order an urn from a store like Foreverence or even have a memorial diamond made from ashes with a company like Eterneva.
Memorial Crafts for Kids
Helping kids deal with losing a loved one is the perfect opportunity to incorporate some crafts. Depending on where and when these crafts are taking place, you can always modify any of the following ideas to be less messy. You may also be interested in these DIY memorial gifts.
1. Thumbprint “tree”
What you’ll need: Canvas or board, washable paint, and brushes or markers
To create a thumbprint tree — or really any shape — you may choose to provide an outline for kids or other guests to fill in. You’ve likely seen thumbprint trees as a way of creating family trees or simply as a way to keep a guest log. This memorial craft can serve either purpose.
2. Wreaths or bouquets
What you’ll need: Pipe cleaners, pom poms or cotton balls, glue, yarn or ribbon, and scissors
Kids can also create fun wreaths or bouquets without damaging real plants. Not to mention, they can keep these wreaths and bouquets for far longer after they make them. You may also choose to bring your kids to their loved one’s grave and leave these as a decoration.
3. Photo frames
What you’ll need: Sheets of foam “paper,” foam stickers, stick-on gems, markers, and an adhesive of choice
To hold photos of their loved ones, you can have your kids create photo frames out of foam and other fun craft items. These materials are a little bit more friendly to work with than wooden frames, for example. You may also choose to add magnets to the back of these frames so your kids can decorate your fridge if they choose.
4. Memory jewelry
What you’ll need: String, yarn, or leather cord, assorted beads, and scissors
Memory jewelry can be a fun craft for all ages, not just children. There’s really no limit when it comes to the type of beading or cord you choose, so it’s likely you already have these items around your home.
You can also provide old jewelry that your kids can repurpose. You may choose to select letter beads so your kids can wear their loved one’s name or other relevant messages.
5. Decorated sunglasses
What you’ll need: Plastic sunglasses, paint markers or pens, stick-on gems, and feathers
Many memorial activities occur outdoors. It may be a fun idea to have your kids create custom sunglasses to wear or provide to guests. Many people wear sunglasses at funerals, regardless, to protect their eyes and keep some of their emotions private.
Memorial Crafts for Adults or Families
The following memorial crafts are slightly more involved, so they may be better suited for your entire family to complete together. Of course, you can modify each craft accordingly. You may also be interested in these memorial wall ideas.
6. Vases or mason jars for flowers
What you’ll need: Vases, mason jars, paint or paint pens, and brushes
Though it’s nice to have plain or disposable vessels for holding bouquets and flowers, you may choose to create keepsakes. These can easily be created out of old or affordable vases, mason jars, and paint.
7. Mosaic décor
What you’ll need: Stones or gems, old tiles, clay or mosaic kit, and glue or bonding agent
It’s common to create garden décor or other mosaic items in someone’s memory. Due to the complexity of some of the materials, it’s best to do this with some degree of adult supervision.
8. Cookies or cupcakes
What you’ll need: Cookie or cupcakes, frosting, sprinkles and other toppings, utensils, plates, and napkins
Yes, even something as simple as sweet as cookies or cupcakes can honor someone’s memory. If you have this craft as part of the memorial activities, too, it’s likely that everyone will appreciate the snack.
9. Temporary tattoos
What you’ll need: Tattoo pens or face paint, brushes, or order temporary tattoos with an image of your loved one, washcloths or paper towels, and water or spray bottles
You can order true temporary tattoos with an image of your loved one beforehand. Or, a more DIY option would be to use tattoo pens or even non-toxic, washable paint.
This craft idea is meant for a more laid back memorial service or as an activity for families to participate in afterward if you’re hosting a reception.
10. Decorated sun hats
What you’ll need: Straw or fabric hats, fabric glue, fabric paint or markers, patches or embellishments, and feathers
As we mentioned above, many memorial services or other activities take place outdoors. To add a lighthearted touch to the event, you may choose to encourage your guests to wear the hats they decorate.
This craft is also a nice idea to honor someone who liked to wear hats as part of their personal style.
Memorial Crafts for Seniors
The following memorial craft ideas are especially perfect for seniors. It’s important to keep your mind engaged and challenged at all stages of your life, but it’s crucial as you get older. Crafting is a great way to do so. You may also be interested in these funeral favor ideas.
11. Custom puzzle
What you’ll need: Large puzzle pieces (blank or wooden pieces, if possible), and paint or markers
A group of seniors in your life can create a one-of-a-kind puzzle or puzzle piece to honor their loved one. You can make this a group activity where everyone creates one piece and it all comes together, or each person can hold onto their piece as a keepsake.
12. Wind chime
What you’ll need: Beads, shells, ornaments, hemp or fishing line, and scissors
Wind chimes are lovely additions to any home or garden. Plus, when the wind blows through it, you will immediately think of your loved one that you created it in honor of. Windchimes can be small or large and can feature various materials to make them truly unique.
13. Painted flower pot
What you’ll need: Assorted pots and paints
Painting flower pots is another great DIY idea that has unlimited options. You can arrange a few pots together to create a sculptural element or simply use them as they were intended.
Plants and flowers, in general, are a great way to honor someone who has passed away. They also provide people with a “companion” that they’ll immediately associate with their loved one and thus feel closer to them even in their absence.
14. Memory or photo books
What you’ll need: Photos, photo books or craft paper, glue, stapler, tape, and stickers
Creating a memory or photo book is a great way to organize and reflect on memories that may otherwise remain scattered.
Plus, having a memory or photo book is a great thing to share with other generations or visiting guests as a way to honor your deceased loved one’s memory. You can make these memory or photo books as small, large, simple, or elaborate as you like. You can also choose to create more than one book and incorporate different themes.
15. Recipe book
What you’ll need: Recipes, book, paper, and a stapler or fasteners
If your loved one who passed away was a passionate chef or baker, it’s a great idea to honor their memory with a recipe book. As long as none of the recipes being shared are family secrets, this is something really special to share with more people so their memory lives on.
Of course, you can always share recipes inspired by your loved one if you do have any family secrets you don’t want to share. You may also choose to include photographs or other elements to make the book more unique and personal.
Create Something So Their Memory Can Live On
It may seem silly that something as simple as crafting can hold the memory of someone who’s no longer here. Though it’s simple, crafting with other people as a way of bonding and healing can be truly special. In fact, it will likely make your deceased loved one happy to see their friends and family coming together.
It’s no question that art is also an important means of releasing difficult emotions that surround death. Crafting can also help explain death and memorial customs to children who may not fully understand what’s going on.
That being said, they may not need to have anything explained to them. They may just want to reassure them that everything is will OK and that sometimes people leave, but that doesn’t mean they’re gone forever.