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How Funeral Urns are Made

By Vaughn Balchunas

Cremation is widely accepted and practiced around the world and is slowly gaining popularity in the states. But many of us who are opting for cremation have never thought about how we might memorialize our loved ones including our pets.

There are many types of funeral urns and processes for making them. In general, cremation urns are designed to hold cremated remains securely. After a deceased body is subjected to the high heat used in cremation, it can be pulverized for easy placement in a columbarium, buried, or kept at home.

Many of today's urns are made by master craftsmen and artists. These cremation urns are beautiful works of art in their own right and many people prefer to display them openly. Today family and friends are choosing keepsake urns or memorial jewelry like lockets and urn necklaces. These keepsakes can hold a small amount of sacred ground, funeral flowers, cremains, clothing, hair, or anything meaningful.

There are hundreds of funeral urns to choose from and materials vary including wood, metal, ceramic, stone and even bio-degradable material like natural fiber and salt. The methods of creating funeral urns are varied as well. The most common are:

Wrought or Fabricated Urns
These are methods used in metallic materials like stainless steel, copper or bronze and may include one or a combination of the following: hammering, bending, welding, shearing or forming. These methods produce cost-friendly urns and are relatively easy to do. The methods usually result in urns with a satiny finish, allowing the surfaces to be engraved with personalized messages or inscriptions.

This is a method usually done with bronze and requires high heat to melt the metal. It is poured into a mold that usually has a reverse image, called the negative. This method produces a funerary urn with very beautiful and detailed designs. However, since it requires great time and skills, it can be costly.

Another method used with bronze urns is the lost wax method, where a rubber mold is used to form a temporary wax sculpture and coated with a liquefied form of ceramic. Once heated, the wax then melts, hence the term 'lost wax'. The resulting shell is then used as the mold for the liquid bronze.


This method creates round-shaped urns and is limited to most metals including pewter. Flat sheets are spun on a lathe and are gradually shaped to form a round urn. Like the fabrication method, this technique is only limited to a satiny finish. However, the finished product is easy to engrave and personalize.


Cloisonne involves hammering and soldering an intricately-designed copper wire netting onto a shaped urn. Different-colored enamels are then applied on the spaces formed by the copper wires and the urn is fired. The firing is performed several times until the enamel fills the spaces perfectly. The urn is then scored by hand and polished.

Tips for choosing funeral urns

First, consider what the burial rites are. Some families prefer to keep the cremated remains in a temporary urn for a scattering ceremony later on. For this type of burial rite, they may want to consider using temporary urns or bio-degradable urns. If you plan to keep a small amount of the cremated remains as a keepsake, consider getting keepsake urns or memorial jewelry.

If the burial rite involves land or deep water, bio-degradable urns are the perfect choice. You can house the remains securely and once buried in the soil or deep water, the urn will then slowly degrade.

If, however, the family prefers to keep all the cremated remains either in a mausoleum or at home, it would be a good idea to get a durable urn to house the remains. This way, they will be assured that the remains are safe and secure in an urn that will last for many years.

Memorial Urns offers a wide selection of funeral urns and cremation jewelry for humans and their pets. Find out more about memorializing your loved one at http://www.memorial-urns.com


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