If you’re planning on scattering the cremains of a lost loved one, understandably, you may have some questions. You might wonder, how much does an urn cost? Maybe you’re curious about what types of scattering urns are available.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Are Scattering Urns?
- Small Scattering Urn Types
- Biodegradable Scattering Urn Types
- Other Types of Scattering Urns
Luckily, like most types of urns for ashes, you’ll find there’s a wide variety of scattering urn styles, one of which is bound to fit your budget, goals, and preferences. Some scattering urns allow you to establish a permanent memorial to the deceased in your home. Some are eco-friendly. Some even serve two separate practical purposes.
This guide will cover a few of the more popular types of scattering urns and help you decide which appeal to you most.
Tip: If you're looking for something very unique (think a game, their motorcycle, or instrument of choice), you can custom order an urn from a store like Foreverence. You submit a design idea or sketch, then the company designs and 3D prints your urn, so you get a 100% unique container.
What Are Scattering Urns?
Sometimes family members or friends will choose to scatter the cremains of someone who’s passed on in a place that was important to them. They’ll use a scattering urn to do so.
However, what they plan to do with the urn after scattering the deceased’s cremains influences the type of urn they choose. These examples will help you understand why.
Small Scattering Urn Types
You might choose a smaller scattering urn for a variety of reasons, such as wanting to keep it with you at all times, or not having space in your home for a larger display. The following are options to consider if this is the type of urn that interests you.
1. Capsule urns
Even after scattering a loved one’s cremains, some people like to hold onto the scattering urn as a keepsake. You may want to consider this design style if that’s your goal, but you tend to move around or travel a lot.
Many suppliers offer scattering urns in the shape of capsule-sized cylinders. They’re large enough for scattering and small enough that you can easily take them with you virtually anywhere you go. Sometimes you can even wear them as necklace pendants.
2. Heart urns
A heart is another popular choice for a small scattering urn, especially when the deceased was a spouse or partner.
You can keep this on display virtually anywhere in your house, or take it with you during your travels and keep your lost love with you always. Heart scattering urns come in various materials, from metal to glass.
3. Vase keepsake urns
When many people imagine a traditional urn, they think of a vase shape, perhaps featuring an engraving.
Although you can find these types of urns in relatively large sizes, suppliers also offer small keepsake vase scattering urns that you may prefer if you need something more portable. Other miniature keepsake versions of traditional urn shapes include brass cylinders and bronze cubes.
4. Angel statues
It’s not uncommon for religious families to memorialize lost loved ones with angel statues. However, if this idea appeals to you, but you don’t have the option to erect a large figure in a cemetery or memorial space, some companies offer keepsake scattering urns shaped like statues of angels.
Like a vase keepsake urn, you can keep this type of small urn in a special place in your home to remind you of your deceased loved one.
Biodegradable Scattering Urn Types
Sometimes people choose to scatter a loved one’s cremains with a biodegradable urn if, for instance, they’re scattering their cremains over a body of water. They may want time to reflect on the deceased’s passing the same way they would at a traditional burial. However, they also don’t want to use a scattering urn that will pollute the environment.
Biodegradable scattering urns strike the ideal balance. They provide time to reflect, but they also break down eventually, ensuring pollution is not an issue. Here are some popular types of biodegradable scattering urns. (You can also make your own if you want to personalize the experience.)
5. Paper urns
Reclaimed paper (meaning no one destroyed a tree to produce it) that breaks down in water is a popular material for biodegradable scattering urns.
These types of urns can come in a wide variety of shapes. Some look like modest envelopes. Others are shaped like animals, plants, planets, cars—almost anything you can imagine.
6. Himalayan sea salt urns
Himalayan sea salt is another material designers use when creating biodegradable scattering urns.
You might consider this option if you want an urn that boasts distinctive natural beauty. Although salt urns often look like gorgeous rocks or stones, because of their material, they will eventually break down and dissolve into a body of water.
7. Clay urns
Clay is a suitable material when designers want to make creative urns that are also biodegradable. With clay, designers can easily mold an urn into seemingly countless shapes. If you want your loved one’s urn to be in a specific likeness, clay is a great option.
A clay scattering urn often won’t be entirely clay. A designer may combine it with other materials, such as paper or cotton, but they’ll typically let customers know when it’s completely biodegradable.
8. Footprints in the sand
Sand (often in combination with such other biodegradable materials as gelatin) is yet another common material for scattering urns.
Although anyone can choose to scatter their loved one’s cremains with such an urn, this style is particularly popular with Christians, as the urns often include small “footprints” embedded in them, recalling a beloved story about Jesus.
An important note
Keep in mind that most biodegradable urns can also break down in the soil if you’d prefer to bury an urn instead of using it to scatter remains over a lake, ocean, or river. The amount of time the urn takes to break down will vary based on its material. For example, a Himalayan sea salt urn will typically dissolve in water after a few hours. In the soil, the process might take three months or so.
You can often recycle a biodegradable scattering urn too. You can choose this type of urn if your goal is to give a loved one a proper send-off while minimizing your impact on the environment. That said, depending on what you choose to do with their cremains, you may need to research laws about scattering ashes. Precisely where and how you can scatter cremains depends on various factors, particularly if you’re going to leave the urn behind.
Other Types of Scattering Urns
Again, there are many types of scattering urns from which you can choose. If the other options here don’t stand out, you might consider one of these instead.
9. Tube urns
Tube urns are similar to capsule scattering urns in that they’re basic cylinders. The main difference is size. Tube scattering urns tend to be larger.
Because of this, it’s sometimes more common for them to feature paintings or other visual imagery. You might want to use such an urn if you plan on displaying it somewhere in your home after scattering the cremains inside.
10. Embroidered urns
Some scattering urn suppliers offer embroidered “urns.” These technically consist of fabric that wraps around an interior urn.
Families sometimes choose this option because it allows them to include an embroidered design that honors the deceased’s memory. For example, many of these embroidered urns feature designs representing branches of the military, making them perfect for ceremonies honoring veterans.
11. Birdhouse urns
Do you plan on scattering the cremains of someone who deeply loved birds? If so, you may want to keep that part of their spirit alive with this type of scattering urn.
As the name implies, a birdhouse urn serves two purposes. After you scatter cremains with it, it can function as an actual birdhouse. Because you’ll naturally install a birdhouse outdoors, this option also allows you to display a memorial to a lost loved one on your property. Designers create birdhouse scattering urns using materials such as ceramics, wood, and metal.
12. Planter urns
This is another example of an urn you may continue to use after a scattering ashes ceremony. It’s also another type of container that can symbolize the idea of a loved one’s spirit living on in some capacity.
With a planter urn, you can grow the deceased’s favorite houseplant, creating a truly living memorial.
Scattering Urns: Different Options for Different Goals
Remember, the type of scattering urn you choose should depend on your long-term goals. These are merely a few of the more popular options you may look into.
Another beautiful option for keeping a loved one's memory alive is a memorial diamond created from ashes. Some companies, like Eterneva, create lab-grown diamonds and allow you to pick from several cuts and colors for your gemstone.