Flowers surround us during the most important events of our lives. They are used to decorate for weddings, make perfect gifts for Mother’s Day, and help us make anniversaries extra special. And, of course, many people send flowers to a funeral home or church to express sympathy to the families who lost a loved one.
If you recently lost a loved one, you may find yourself surrounded by arrangements. You might wonder what to do with the abundance of flowers that were used to adorn the casket or urn. Some families will take the flowers from the funeral home to the cemetery and leave the displays on the grave. Usually, within a week, the cemetery staff removes the arrangements.
Tip: For an in-depth guide through the entire process of loss, including funeral preparation and post-funeral tasks, check out our post-loss checklist.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- 1. Preserve the Roses and Other Flowers
- 2. Turn Flowers Into Beads
- 3. Create Pressed Flower Artwork
- 4. Place Dried Petals in a Clear, Glass Ornament
- 5. Create Pressed Floral Jewelry
- 6. Decorate a Photo Frame with Dried Flowers
- 7. Create a Pressed Flower Bookmark
- 8. Place the Buds in a Shadow Box
- 9. Make Floral Candles
- 10. Do Paper Crafting
- 11. Make a Suncatcher
- 12. Brighten Someone’s Day
Other families may not like the idea of leaving the floral displays to wither and be thrown away. If this is the case, you may consider taking the arrangements home with you to create a keepsake.
Before you do anything, make sure you remove the sympathy notes that came with the funeral flowers. Then, write a description of the arrangement or plant on the back of each card. Once you’ve collected the cards, ask other family members or friends attending the funeral if they’d like to keep any of the flowers. You might be surprised at how many people want to have a floral keepsake.
Finally, consider one of the ideas below on how to preserve some of the flowers from your loved one’s funeral.
Virtual funeral tip: If you're using a service like GatheringUs to host a virtual funeral, you may or may not want your invitees to send flowers. If you'd prefer donations or another sympathy gift, make sure to include that information on the funeral invitation.
1. Preserve the Roses and Other Flowers
Consider preserving the roses from the funeral arrangements.
To dry roses, gather the flowers into a bunch and tie the stems loosely together. Find a dry spot with a lot of ventilation and hang the flowers upside down for approximately two weeks. After that time, the flowers should have retained some of the colors and maybe scent as well. Handle the bouquet carefully since the flowers will be brittle.
Not every type of flower dries well. Even roses that are in full bloom may not survive the drying process well. You may consider drying astilbe, baby’s breath, coneflower seed heads, hydrangea, lavender, pansies, or yarrow. Even if the bloom is not on the list of commonly dried flowers, one can always attempt the process anyway. At the very least, you will probably have dried petals to use in a project.
If the whole flower survives the drying, you can decorate your home with the bouquet. Tie the stems together with ribbon and place the arrangement in a special spot.
Some use these bouquets as a place setter for their loved ones at special events. For example, families sometimes place arrangements on a pew at a family wedding. Or you can put flowers at your loved one’s place at the table for the next Easter dinner.
What you'll need: A sturdy hook you can hang from a window or door frame, like this one, to hang up and dry the flowers and a couple of colorful vases to display your newly-dried flowers around your home.
2. Turn Flowers Into Beads
Consult Pinterest or other websites to find the instructions on how to turn flower petals into beads. This preservation technique would be a particularly good way to create a keepsake to remember your loved one. Depending upon the number of flowers and your patience for crafting, you may find you have enough petals to make a bracelet for every member of your family.
Since the process is rather lengthy, we won’t try to give detailed instructions here. Just know that you first will cook the petals, and then you will puree the mixture. At that point, you will shape the beads, and then stick them through with a pin. The final step is stringing the beads to make whatever article you choose.
What you'll need: In order to turn your new beads into wearable jewelry, you can buy a large jewelry-making kit (like this inexpensive 1,960 piece jewelry kit from Amazon), that'll come complete with string, extra beads, and all of the tools you need. If you plan on handing out the completed jewelry to loved ones, consider picking up some drawstring pouches, like this jewel-toned pouch, to put the jewelry in.
Share your final wishes, just in case.
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3. Create Pressed Flower Artwork
Some artists work in watercolor and some work with metal. Other artists use nature to create their pieces of art.
Perhaps you or someone else in your family is particularly artistic. If so, you may consider drying the flowers from your loved one’s funeral to create a beautiful pressed flower piece.
Your art can be as simple as pressing one particularly beautiful bloom between two pieces of clean glass. These pieces can be a complex arrangement of several different stems in varying sizes and colors. Some pieces only use the bloom of the flower, while others include the stem as well.
Label your artwork with your loved one’s name and birth and death dates. These pieces could be a family heirloom that will last generations.
4. Place Dried Petals in a Clear, Glass Ornament
Many people make or purchase ornaments to commemorate one they lost throughout the year. Consider making a Christmas tree ornament from the funeral flowers.
Some choose to add other items in with the dried petals for a more decorative effect. Add bath salts or fake snow.
Etch the glass ornament with the name and birth and death dates of your loved one. Add a bow to the decoration to create a beautiful keepsake that will last for years.
Consider giving an ornament to members of your loved one’s family during the first holiday season that you spend without your family member.
What you'll need: You can order a set of plain clear glass ornaments and fill them with your flowers.
5. Create Pressed Floral Jewelry
If you enjoy detailed crafting, you may consider using some of the dried petals to make floral jewelry.
Visit your favorite craft store to purchase jewelry-making supplies, and you can create earrings or necklaces from the pressed petals.
What you'll need: If you're just starting out try buying an inexpensive jewelry kit that'll come with most of the tools you'll need. If you want to move on to more advanced techniques, you can purchase a silicone resin jewelry casting kit so you can easily place the pressed flowers into molds and protect the design with clear resin.
6. Decorate a Photo Frame with Dried Flowers
Get creative when decorating your photo frame with dried flowers. You may consider adhering the flowers on the outside of a solid-color frame.
You could also find a frame made from two pieces of glass pressed together and carefully placing flowers from the funeral around the image. Be careful that the flower does not touch your photograph as it may damage the image.
7. Create a Pressed Flower Bookmark
If your loved one was a reader, you might commemorate his or her hobby by making pressed floral bookmarks. Look for online examples on how to create these decorative but functional keepsakes.
8. Place the Buds in a Shadow Box
If you can’t stand the idea of the funeral flowers being thrown away, consider gathering up the buds and placing them in a shadow box. You can mix the buds together, and the varying colors will make an attractive keepsake.
Make sure the buds are thoroughly dry before placing them in the shadow box, or you could end up with a gooey mess.
What you'll need: Buy a set of shadow boxes so you can give them out to the deceased's close friends and family.
9. Make Floral Candles
Look online for the directions on how to make floral candles with the buds from your loved one’s funeral. You can also hire people off of Etsy to create the candles for you.
Burn these beautiful candles while reflecting on your loved one’s life.
Besides making candles with the flowers, you can also dip the blooms in wax. This will create a beautiful but delicate keepsake for a family member or loved one you lost.
What you'll need: You can absolutely do this yourself, too. You can purchase a DIY soy wax candle-making kit from Amazon that comes with wicks, a collection of scents, tins, and a melting pitcher.
10. Do Paper Crafting
Those who enjoy detailed crafting projects may enjoy creating funeral thank you notes from pieces of the flower arrangements from the service.
While this requires a steady hand and lots of patience, it would create a lovely keepsake to send to others in memory of the one you lost.
11. Make a Suncatcher
Using the dried petals from the flower arrangements, press them between two pieces of glass. Hang the completed project in a sunny window.
Every time you look at the piece, you will think of your loved one and smile.
What you'll need: If you want to get kids involved, there are several kid-friendly suncatcher kids on Amazon, like this KOKO AROMA Set.
12. Brighten Someone’s Day
While some may enjoy creating keepsakes from funeral flowers, others may not have the time or patience for such a project.
Even if you don’t view yourself as a crafter, you can still make sure the flowers from the funeral are put to use.
Remove the sympathy banners from the arrangements and take them to an area nursing home. Ask a local place of worship if you can decorate the altar with flowers from your loved one’s funeral. Take them to a hospital and ask that they give the flowers to a patient.
Even though the flowers will eventually be disposed of, they will brighten someone’s day in the interim.
What you'll need: Yourself, a way to get around, and a plan. Don't be afraid to ask who might appreciate flowers, they'll brighten anyone's day!
Remembering Your Loved One With Flowers
If you love crafting, you may gather up the flowers from your loved one’s funeral and spend precious time and money to create keepsakes to share with others in your family.
While some and your family will recognize and appreciate the effort, others may not. Perhaps your sister feels more comfort from using your dad’s old coffee cup every morning. Maybe your brother likes to remember your dad by looking at old photos.
Don’t be heartbroken if others do not feel the same emotional connection that you feel with the funeral flowers. Everyone grieves differently, and if creating the project gives you a creative outlet that you need during the grieving process, then it wasn’t a waste of time.