16 Cool Things to Do with Your Cremains

Now that you’ve faced the facts of life that you will, in fact, kick the bucket one day, we can shift to the practical topic of what to actually do with yourself once you’ve expired.

Statistically speaking, more than half of you will opt for the cremation route when it’s “your time,” so if you’re looking for an alternative to having your ashes sit in a gaudy urn on the mantle that just makes everyone awkward to look at (and dust around), you’re in the right place. If you’re looking to maybe even be cooler in your death than you were in your life, you have a chance to do something interesting with your cremains, my friends. You don’t have to stop having fun just because you’re dead.

Inspiring things to do after you die:

Become a pack of marbles. A guy named Jason on Etsy will take a teaspoon of your cremains and make a fancy marble out of it, so if you can afford a full set, your ancestors can play with you for years to come. These guys have 5 stars with over 1,300 reviews, which means a lot of dead people are happy with how much fun others are having at their expense. (Hot tip! They also make marbles out of pet hair, so you can commemorate Snoopy too.)

Become a diamond. For the classy bitches out there! These people have found a way to extract carbon from sprinklings of your cremains, which is apparently the starter material for the glitzy diamond version of you. A lot of impressive things happen in a seven-step process to turn you into an incredible engagement ring… for the partner you left behind to give someone else. (But really: for between $3,000 – $50,000, you could really polish up your image after you die. You might have been a hot mess in real life, but after death, everyone will remember you as LITERALLY VALUABLE.)

Become a scientific donation. Not just your corneas… science wants your entire body, dude. If you register with ScienceCare, they’ll give your dead body to medical researchers and educators to ultimately contribute to future medical advancements. Basically, you get to help a bunch of med school students learn about what happens to the body after a lifetime of too many G&Ts and Twinkies. Then when they’re done practicing surgeries and stuff on you, they cremate you at no cost — so it’s a win-win for everyone! (I’m trying to convince The Husband we need to do this, btw.)

Become a hedgehog. (A glass one, but still.) This company will cook your cremains with hot glass at 1800º until you turn into an adorable figurine. This choice is already funny because IT’S A HEDGEHOG, but the fun doesn’t stop there because you can also turn yourself into a Canada Goose, a ferret, and various other animals. I did not see a muskrat in their list of offerings but they seem really accommodating, so…
One reviewer made this comment: “I honestly hope I never need his services again, but I’m sure I will and I absolutely will be coming back.” I can’t decide if this person is enlightened about the impermanence of every living thing, or plotting the untimely deaths of everyone around them?

Become a reef in the ocean. This is the ultimate burial at sea, because you can’t get deeper than lying on the floor of the ocean for all of eternity. These good people will stir your dusty bits into environmentally safe cement, which will then be formed into a reef and placed in one of 25 sites along the coast of the U.S. with all the other souls who longed to be at one with aquatic nature.

Become a bracelet. Not only can you sprinkle a bit of yourself into this bracelet for safe keeping, but you can engrave up to two lines with meaningful text, like “I COULDN’T AFFORD A DIAMOND / SO I GOT THIS 4 U INSTEAD.”

Become a pine tree. Bios has found a way to intermingle your ashes with seeds and turn you into a tree; they even have a Bios Park in Quebec (which is basically a cemetery forest, right? And as lovely as that sounds, isn’t it also the perfect setting for a horror movie?). Perfect for you tree-huggers out there… you might become the tree that others hug in years to come.

Become a rearview mirror keepsake. (Guys, I can’t make shit like this up.) This company makes charms that can be filled with little bits of you so that when your loved ones are bitching and moaning at one another on a road trip across the Midwest, you can be right there with them, dangling from the rearview mirror.

Become dust in the wind. This family business will take you up in a plane and aerially scatter your cremains in the location of your choice. They’ll even drop your ashes over an outdoor memorial service so the attendees leave with a fine dusty coating of… you… as an entirely unique party favor.

Become a musical record. The folks at And, Vinyly (props for such a cool name, right?) will press your ashes into a vinyl record so you can remain a true hipster until the end of time. You can customize the soundtrack, so other than adding in your favorite songs, you can leave spooky voice messages behind for the people who care to listen to your one-hit wonder.

Become a bullet. Holy Smoke will stuff you into ammunition cartridges, if you know you’ll want that one last round of skeet shooting or hunting “for the road.” For high caliber people only (hahahaha).

Become a biodegradable sea turtle. Imagine floating in the water in the shape of a sea turtle, before gently sinking and becoming one with the sea for eternity? This company conveniently offers two sizes of turtles — so if you’re a little generous around the waistline there’s a size-large turtle waiting to house (and then drown) your cremains.

Become a tractor necklace. (Now I’m just being an asshole, I know.) I checked out Amazon’s cremains game and Jeff Bezos is indeed cashing in on us while we’re dead, too. Lots of cremains mementos available for overnight delivery, for sure. For $17.68 you can stuff some of yourself into this charming tractor keepsake — particularly relevant if you grew up on a farm, or if you really like farmers markets or whatever.

Become a beer can. This is really just a cool urn option for those who in no way want to live in a bourgeois Ming-vase-type of urn forever. These guys make customized Budweiser beer can urns, so you can be the perpetual life of the party — only not really alive at all.

Become a space traveler. You might not have lived long enough to visit outer space while alive, so now’s your chance to do it, you little astronaut, you. Celestis will strap you (a smidgeon of your cremains) onto a rocket ship and depending on the voyage you register for/ can afford, you’ll a) harmlessly vaporize like a shooting star, b) live forever on the moon, or c) go careening on a permanent celestial journey into deep space. Money can’t buy you love but it can give you a shot at meeting aliens.

Other mildly relevant notes:

  • In case you were wondering, it is illegal to taxidermy or mount a human in the U.S. (I’m mildly concerned that “can you taxidermy a human” is now in my Google search history. Hoping this will never be used against me.)
  • On that note, when Googling “can you donate your entire body to science” one of the search prompts was “can you donate your entire body to cannibals.” I may or may not have clicked on that.

We know how important it can be to feel like we’ve left a legacy of some sort; for many people it helps to alleviate anxieties about dying. Transforming yourself into an item for people to remember you by (whether it’s a tractor charm or a diamond — different strokes for different folks) can help us feel symbolically immortal. Similarly, planning a supremely special resting place can also put us at ease (whether it’s off the coast of Sarasota in a pseudo-reef, or orbiting around Jupiter), with the idea that we’ll always be connected to the earth or the universe. And if you really don’t care about symbolic immortality or connection, and your zany cremains plan is all just fodder for the story your kids can tell about what you did with yourself, then that’s cool too. Maybe do 10 of your favorite things from this list and become The World’s Most Interesting Dead Person?

Jodi Wellman

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