How to Place Cremains into a Cremation Urn

After your loved one has been cremated, your cremation provider or funeral director will provide you with their ashes, or cremains, which will be sealed in a plastic bag or container. Some people find that transferring cremains to an urn is emotionally challenging, and either ask for assistance from their cremation provider or ask for help from friends and family members. However, if you have decided to place your loved one’s cremains in an urn yourself, you can do so at home using a few common household goods.

Here are steps you can follow to place your loved one’s cremains into a cremation urn.

  1. Clear off a table or workspace in your home and cover the surface with newspapers
    The location should be properly ventilated and free of any breezes or wind that could blow your loved one’s ashes and make it difficult to transfer the cremains into the urn.
  2. Wear a protective face mask
    Working with cremains may result in lots of dust; plus, cremains are very fine, and could end up in your nasal passage during the transfer process. Wear a protective face mask to prevent yourself from inhaling the ashes or from experiencing distractions while transferring the cremains.
  3. Prepare the cremains for transferring
    This procedure of this step will vary depending on the container in which the ashes are being stored. Some cremation providers will deliver the cremains to you in a plastic bag, whereas others may provide you with a plastic container that has been sealed with a plug. If you prefer to keep your loved one’s cremains in the plastic bag, you may do so. Otherwise, you can cut the corner of the bag to create a small hole through which the cremains can be poured. On the other hand, if the cremains are stored in a container, use a small blunt knife to gently pry off the sealant plug.
  4. Place the urn on the table or workspace and remove its lid
    If you own a wood urn, you may need to unscrew the bottom or side panel to access the inside of the urn. If you own a marble or stone urn, a compression plug is normally located at the bottom of the urn.
  5. Place a large funnel into the opening of the urn
    The funnel should be wide enough to prevent larger cremain particles from clogging the opening. If you do not have a large enough funnel, you can roll up a piece of paper to create a makeshift funnel.
  6. Slowly pour the cremains into the urn using the funnel
    Pouring cremains into the urn slowly can help prevent dust from rapidly billowing out of the plastic bag or container. If you happen to spill any cremains on the newspaper, you can roll up the newspaper when you are finished, and pour the remainder of the ashes into the urn, using the newspaper as a makeshift funnel. If you prefer to place the entire plastic bag of cremains into the urn, do so by slowly and gently working the bag into the opening of the urn to prevent tearing.
  7. Add keepsakes or mementos, if preferred
    Some people like to add extra mementos to urns, such as poems, jewelry, photos, and other personal items that may have belonged to their loved ones.
  8. Close and seal the lid of the urn
    If you want to seal the lid of your urn to prevent your loved one’s cremains from spilling out should an accident occur, use water-resistant glue or an epoxy resin adhesive product as sealant. If you are unsure about how to properly seal the urn, contact the manufacturer of the urn for suggestions on properly caring for your urn.

For more information on cremation services, please contact Heartland Cremation. With four generations of experience in the funeral and cremation business, we provide the Kansas City area with simple, worry-free cremation services that will treat your loved one with all the dignity and respect that they deserve.

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