Guide to Wicker Caskets: Types, Cost & Materials

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Traditional types of caskets are made of wood or metal, but a third type—wicker caskets—started picking up speed due to their eco-friendly, cost-effective nature. 

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Just like wicker furniture, a wicker casket is woven with intricate designs and beautiful patterns, making it a beautiful and fitting tribute for someone who cares about the environment.

What’s a Wicker Casket?

A wicker casket is made of natural materials such as seagrass, bamboo, or rattan, woven together to form a casket strong enough to hold an individual. This makes wicker caskets completely biodegradable and eco-friendly. We’ll go over price, accessibility, eco-friendliness, and more before you choose to buy a wicker casket.

Price

One of the most affordable casket options available on the market, you shouldn’t expect to pay any more than $1,500 for a full-sized adult casket. Casket prices vary depending on where you purchase the casket. 

Accessibility

Numerous outlets specialize in wicker caskets, and you can even buy one online. Most funeral homes will not have wicker caskets on display or available, but this is simply because they aren’t as widely popular as wood and metal options.

By law, funeral homes must accept a coffin purchased for use in a funeral, whether the casket was purchased through the funeral home or not.

Eco-friendly

Wicker caskets are made of 100% biodegradable material such as seagrass or bamboo.

Because of this, they qualify for natural or “green” burials. If you or your loved one wants a casket alternative for a green burial, wicker is a perfect option. 

Cremation container alternative

Since wicker materials are completely combustible, a wicker casket can be used as a cremation vessel. This is especially helpful if your loved one wants a traditional viewing or memorial service with a casket present prior to cremation.

An empty wicker casket can also be used for a memorial service and the deceased can then be placed inside when cremation takes place.

Easier shipping

Wicker is much lighter than traditional coffins and many wicker casket manufacturers include shipping in the total price of the casket. How much a casket weighs often factors in heavily when shipping from a manufacturer to a funeral home.

Since wicker is so light, you’ll pay minimal shipping costs. If you’re on a strict budget for a funeral, purchasing a wicker casket can help your budget stretch much farther than a wood or metal casket. You can expect to save several hundred dollars in shipping costs alone.

Customizable

Wicker caskets are surprisingly customizable and can even reflect the personality of an individual. Caskets can be customized by weave, design, material, and shape.

They can also have plaques inset on the lid for the name and dates of a person or a special phrase, verse, or quote that holds significance. 

DIY-friendly

If you want to have a hand in crafting your loved one’s casket, you can find numerous DIY options available that allow for your involvement.

Some manufacturers ship all the parts of the casket and an instruction manual that describes how to assemble it. Most come already assembled, so if you prefer a DIY version, specify that you want it unassembled.

ยป MORE: When you die, return to the trees. Learn how with Better Place Forests (available in AZ, CA, CT, IL, MA, MN).

 

How Much Does a Wicker Casket Cost?

You’ll pay less compared to traditional wood or metal caskets. On average, you should expect to budget anywhere from $800 to $1,200 for an adult-sized wicker casket. Depending on the manufacturer, those prices might also include shipping.

A child-sized wicker casket usually runs around $400 to $500 and an infant casket should only cost around $200.

As with any type of casket, pricing depends on specific upgrades you choose, such as lining, customizations, design, and any coloration of the material.

Different Types of Wicker Caskets

When shopping for a wicker casket, there are numerous factors to take into consideration. The casket is an important part of your loved one’s funeral service and you should carefully consider a few options. 

1. Willow casket

Willow is a beautiful wood that grows from shrubs and trees. This is one of the most environmentally and eco-sustainable materials for a wicker casket since willow can be harvested without cutting down the entire plant or tree.

Willow creates a uniform light tan color that is both pleasing and natural.

2. Rattan casket

Rattan is a naturally-growing vine in many areas of Australia, Asia, and Africa.

Unlike willow, rattan has been a popular material for furniture and, as a result, has been nearly over-harvested. This material forms a beautiful light blond-colored casket.

3. Seagrass casket

In order to create a seagrass casket that is environmentally friendly and ecologically sustainable, the seagrass is often cultivated and farmed.

By farming seagrass, you can be sure that delicate marine environments have not been disturbed in order to gather enough material to weave a casket. Seagrass creates a greenish-hued casket.

4. Bamboo casket

Bamboo caskets are created from sustainably raised and farmed bamboo.

By using farmed bamboo, you and your family can rest assured that natural bamboo resources are not depleted to create the casket. Bamboo caskets range in color from a light blonde hue to a deep tan. 

Different Styles of Wicker Caskets

Wicker caskets will look slightly different than traditional caskets, though you can access many of the same functions. Here are several options available when purchasing a wicker casket.

5. Rounded-edge casket

Many wicker caskets are woven with rounded edges at both the head and the feet. This looks different than the traditional square wooden caskets.

6. Squared edge casket

If you want a more traditional-looking casket, then choose a square-edged wicker casket.

Though woven, the casket has wood framing on the inside to create a square form over which the material is woven.

7. Four-point casket

Wicker caskets are often described in terms of how many corners or “points” they have. A four-point casket is a rectangular box with four corners.

These often look very contemporary and contain sharp lines and clean edges. The lid is usually flat and ideal for funeral ceremonies where a large floral bouquet is placed on top of the casket.

8. Six-point casket

This coffin will have six “points” — two at the head, two at the feet, and two toward the middle of the coffin.

Similar to the four-point casket, it comes with a flat lid, ideal for placing floral bouquets on during a funeral service.

9. Full-lid casket

Wicker caskets usually contain two pieces — the bottom, which holds the person, and the top, the lid. Woven wicker lids do not have a hinge like wood or metal casket lids. It’s important to determine which type of lid you want for the funeral service.

If you’re doing a closed-casket ceremony, then a full-lid casket is sufficient. If you want to have a viewing or an open-casket service, then may you need a second casket lid, in addition to the full lid that usually comes with the wicker casket.

10. Three-quarter lid casket

Planning to have a viewing or an open-lid casket? You’ll need to order a three-quarter lid casket. A three-quarter lid is woven to cover three-quarters of the person inside. Because wicker cannot hinge, this is the only way to have a casket that allows friends and family members to view the body. 

If using a three-quarter lid for the funeral, you should also purchase a full-length lid. The shorter lid can be used during a memorial, the funeral, or a viewing. Then, when it is time for the burial, the full-length lid can be placed onto the casket instead. This is especially appropriate if friends and family will place handfuls of dirt or flower petals onto the casket once lowered.

11. Colored wicker casket

Though the look of natural seagrass, rattan, or bamboo is lovely as-is, your family member might wish to be buried in a specific colored casket. If this is the case, many manufacturers provide the option for color customization. While some manufacturers offer to dye the material with natural dyes, others will paint the woven material in a color or colors of your choice. 

If you want a pop of color but still want the coffin to look as natural as possible, many manufacturers offer an option to color the top and bottom woven bands in addition to the handles. This option provides the best of both worlds by exhibiting the natural color of the woven material while allowing some color to be included on the coffin as a tribute to the person inside.

Choose from your loved one’s birthstone color or mix and match by choosing favorite colors or another combination that holds meaning. Color can be placed on the top band, bottom band, handles, all three, or any combination desired such as bands-only or handles-only.

Alternatives to Wicker Caskets

You might like the idea of a natural wicker casket, but the look of wicker doesn't appeal to everyone. Additionally, you may want to incorporate natural materials if you're opting for cremation, rather than burial. Luckily, a wicker casket isn't your only option for a natural return to the earth after death. Here are some ideas if you're looking for alternatives to wicker caskets for cremation or burial. 

  • Softwood caskets. Another type of casket that's more eco-friendly than metal or hardwood is a softwood casket. You can find affordable caskets made of pine and other "softwoods" for purchase online, like this one
  • Cardboard caskets. Even more affordable than wicker or softwood is cardboard. And an eco-friendly cardboard casket doesn't have to be plain or look like a simple shipping box. In fact, cardboard caskets are incredibly customizable, and they give you the greatest range in terms of DIY options. 
  • Burial shrouds. If you want an option that's even more affordable and "green," you might consider a burial shroud. To conduct a burial using only a shroud, however, you'll need to find a "green" cemetery that allows it.
  • Bio-urns. To return to nature after cremation, you have several options. One of those options is a "bio-urn," which lets you plant a tree or plant while burying the ashes underground. We like the Living Urn, which you can buy online.
  • Cremation stones. Another nature-oriented option is having your ashes transformed into natural stones, which your family members can then place somewhere special in the outdoors or keep at home. You could also choose

Personalized, Green Burials

A wicker casket might be the answer you’re looking for. Crafted from sustainable sources and often made by local craftsmen, wicker caskets are a fitting tribute for someone who loved the planet and valued “green” living.

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