When someone dies, it’s important to remember them as they were in their life. The sadness and feelings of loss at the time of death can affect those memories, and a memorial poster is a great way to bring them “to life” for the service.
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A memorial poster is a type of memory board, and it’s a creative way to honor someone. Not only is it something many friends and family can be a part of, but a memorial poster is also a powerful tribute for the funeral or memorial service.
You don’t need any expensive materials or tools to get started. With a bit of creativity and a wealth of memories, you can make a memory board or memorial poster in no time. In this guide, we’ll share the steps to take to make a memorial poster for a loved one, as well as some ideas to spark inspiration.
Post-loss tip: Creating a unique memorial might be just one of the unique challenges you're facing for the first time after losing a loved one—especially if you're the executor of the person's estate. Our post-loss checklist can help guide you through the process.
What Is a Memorial Poster?
A memorial poster, sometimes called a memory poster, is a physical poster that features a photo or photos of someone who died. They’re sometimes handmade, but they can also be professionally printed with a printing service.
A memorial poster is a way to bring someone’s memory to life. This is more than just an obituary photo. This is an opportunity to share someone as they really were during their lifetime.
Memory posters are designed for display at a funeral or memorial service. They’re a reminder that the deceased lived a happy, fulfilling life. It’s one of the many ways to tell someone’s story by showing him or her in different stages of life.
Steps for Making a Memorial Poster
Making a memorial poster in loving memory of someone special is easy to do. As long as you have access to photos, memories, and some supplies, you can put one together in no time. And this can be a powerful tribute that helps you through the grieving process.
1. Gather your supplies
First, make sure you have all of the supplies you need handy. If you plan to have your poster professionally printed, you can skip this step.
- Posterboard: You need a display board to use as your support. This is usually a 48-by-36-inch paper poster board that you can pick up from any crafting store. However, you’ll discover many different sizes and materials available, so choose one that feels right to you. You might also want multiple boards.
- Adhesive: Next, you need a way to get your photo or photos to stick to the board. This could be glue, tape, pushpins, photo corners, low-tack, or bonding agent. Whatever you choose, keep in mind whether you’ll want to remove the photos later.
- Labels: This is optional, but you might also want to have a way to label what’s on your board.
- Decoration: Finally, you’ll want some elements to add design to your board. These elements could be stickers, glitter, markers, balloons, paint, or anything that works for you.
Give some thought to how you want your board to look before preparing your supplies. It can be as simple or as extravagant as you’d like, but you don’t want to run out of supplies halfway through.
2. Find the best photo or photos
Next is the most crucial step. You’ll need to do this whether you’re making a DIY board yourself or going through a professional printing service.
It’s time to pull your old photos from the closet or ask around. Send your digital images via smartphone, email, social media, and so on. Because you’re likely to have more photos and mementos than you can reasonably use on one poster board, choose the best one(s). This is an excellent activity for the whole family to do together, too.
Your featured photo should look true to life. It shouldn’t be retouched, and it should reflect the person at their happiest. Because this photo is likely going to be central to the service, you should make sure it shines bright. It’s common to use only one picture, but you might choose a few images, depending on the situation.
3. Affix or print your photo(s)
Now it’s time to get to work creating your memorial poster. If you don’t already have a large photo to fit the board, you can have one printed at a local photo printer or through an online printing service.
Then, affix your photo(s) and mementos to the board in the order you arranged before. Make sure you attach the photo tightly and securely. When possible, use more than one type of adhesive. The last thing you want is to lose the photo or photos before the service.
If you’re planning on having your board printed, you can put it together on your computer. Your photos and mementos will need to be made digital by scanning them or taking pictures of them. From there, use a tool or template service to create the perfect digital memorial poster.
Some great tools to help you design your board and print it are:
Before printing, make sure to check the dimensions of your photo. If your image is too small, it might look distorted. Check any proofs carefully before having your display professionally printed. Also, ensure that you allow enough time for your board to be printed and mailed to you or picked up.
4. Deliver your poster
Last but not least, you’ll need to deliver your board to the funeral home or venue before the service. You might also want to delegate the task to someone else on the day of the funeral.
Set up your board at the front of the service or in its own area. It’s a great way to remind guests of the fulfilling life of the deceased. This photo might spark their own memories.
Memorial Poster Ideas
There are so many different ways to bring your memorial poster to life. If you’re struggling to put someone’s legacy into this project, consider these ideas below.
Design or theme ideas
In loving memory templates are a great way to create something designed for this occasion. But you’ll want to put a bit of thought into honoring the specific life of the deceased. These themes can guide your process:
- Milestones: In many ways, life is a series of milestones. Focusing on highlight events like school, graduation, wedding, career landmarks, and so on can give the board some structure.
- Flowers: Flowers are often seen as a symbol of life. Using floral prints, realistic flowers, or even actual flowers in your design is a touching tribute.
- Hobbies: Did your loved one have any unique hobbies? You can honor these by using them as your design theme.
- Nature: Using a natural photo or elements from nature as the background image is a reminder that life goes on.
- Messages: For a DIY option, leave the poster intentionally blank and ask guests to share messages of sympathy alongside the photo.
- Holiday: If it’s a special time of year, fit the memorial poster to the season or holiday.
- Custom art: You might also include custom artwork in honor of the deceased or any artwork the deceased personally created.
- Travel: If the deceased was a traveler, including some of their favorite travel spots or a travel-themed design is a great way to honor that passion.
Aside from the design itself, it’s not always easy to find the right words to say goodbye to a cherished loved one. Try these wording options below to simplify the process.
Celebrating the life of Jessica Smith, January 1, 2000 - January 1, 2060
In loving memory of Marie Wagner, August 28, 1980 - August 28, 2020
Honoring a beloved wife, mother, and friend, Cathy Susan
Always in our hearts, Jacob Wagner, December 10, 2000 - December 10, 2050
Memorial remembering Martin John
Gone but never forgotten: Martha Smith is in our hearts forever.
Create a Memorial Poster
A memorial poster is a reminder of the fullness of life. After losing a loved one, it’s easy to forget what they were like in their happiest moments. Having a visual reminder that their life was meaningful and full can mean the world to friends and family during the memorial service.
You can easily create a memorial poster in honor of your loved one, no matter your skill level or budget. The steps and ideas above make it simple to create a tribute that honors someone as an individual.
A memorial poster, while not required for a service, is a powerful tribute. It’s a reminder of how our legacies live on, even after we’re gone. Though our time may be up, our memories are real and everlasting.