Most Common Materials Used to Make Cremation Urns

Various urns in different shapes, sizes, and patterns

When it comes to honoring the life of a loved one who has passed away, there’s a growing trend towards choosing cremation urns over traditional caskets. Cremation urns offer a practical and symbolic solution when compared to traditional burial methods. As far as practicality goes, cremation urns are affordable and versatile.

Symbolically speaking, they provide people with a way to honor their loved ones memories and unique life, while keeping them close by or putting them to rest in a place of significance. They also help those communicate in a healthy way with their family and with themselves.

Let’s face it ― most people are left to make difficult decisions on how to put their loved ones to rest. During this tender time, being well-informed about your options, including the types of cremation urns out there, can be a comforting guide, sparing you the stress of making rushed decisions during a vulnerable situation. 

So, what are the most common materials used to make cremation urns and what are the benefits of each one? Let’s jump in. 


Ceramic is commonly used to make cremation urns. Of course, the material is relatively easy to work with, making it a favored choice among artisans for its versatility and ability to hold intricate designs and colors, and a favorite among customers due to the affordability and customization options of ceramic. 

During the creation process, ceramic is molded using a potter’s wheel. After a period of drying, the ceramic urn is placed in a kiln and exposed to high temperatures lasting up to nine hours. The firing process ensures durability, while the molding process allows artistic expression through various designs and added details. Colors, glosses, and matte finishes can be added on to fit specific visions. Ceramic urns can also be sealed to provide optimal protection of a loved one’s remains. 

If you choose a ceramic urn to honor your loved one, make sure to store it somewhere where it won’t be exposed to accidental damages.  


From softwood to hardwood, urns can be crafted from cherry, maple, walnut, oak, spruce, and poplar. The choice of wood affects the urn’s price, with hardwood urns generally costing more than their softwood counterparts. 

Wooden urns can be customized with detailed designs, such as inlays, appliques, and laser etchings, allowing for personalization with names, dates, sentiments, and even images. Customization doesn’t end there ― you can get heart-shaped wooden urns or simple boxes.

Wooden urns must be properly sealed or else be at risk for moisture damage, such as warping and deterioration. 


Metal urns are an excellent choice for their durability. Plus, they’re easy to clean and are stylish, too, making them a great addition to any home. 

You can place metal urns indoors or out, however, if you choose to place them outdoors, you may want to keep them in an area with ample shade. When exposed to direct sunlight, metal can be hot to the touch and you won’t want yourself or anyone else to get burned. 

Because of their durability, they can act as treasured family heirlooms, passing down from one generation to the next. They’re easy to maintain and clean.


Are you seeking a way to showcase your loved one’s love for the arts while also having a functional piece to house their remains? Glass urns are a great choice and even allow for a small portion of someone’s ashes to be infused into the glass itself. 

Glass urns are usually hand-blown and come in various shapes, colors, and sizes. Even though glass urns are a beautiful way to pay tribute to someone, they do have some disadvantages. One, they’re pretty fragile and can break easily. Another drawback is that they’re often transparent, and some people prefer such an intimate moment to be more private. 


Resin urns offer a captivating blend of artistry and durability. They’re made from synthetic material but can mimic natural materials such as stone, wood, or ceramic. Resin urns can also be crafted into pieces of jewelry, allowing you to hold your loved one’s close to you at all times. 

Resin is very durable and not as susceptible to damage like other materials. Thanks to its versatility, resin urns can be molded into various styles and designs, paying special tribute to a loved one and honoring them with a lasting and visually appealing tribute. 

Unfortunately, resin urns aren’t as environmentally friendly as some materials. Due to their synthetic nature, resin urns may decompose over time and may require replacing. 


85% of people care more about the environment than ever before and wish to make eco-friendly choices even after passing on. So for the environmentalist, biodegradable urns are perfect.

Biodegradable urns are made from recycled and plant-based materials, such as recycled metals, rock salt, gelatin, and cornstarch. 

Besides their environmentally-friendly nature, biodegradable urns offer two more distinctive advantages over traditional urns. For one, they’re able to be placed in water where they can dissolve, scattering the contents out to sea. Secondly, they can be buried in the ground, where they will decompose and return your loved one’s ashes to the Earth. 

Some biodegradable urns are even made to grow a tree as they decompose, allowing a loved one’s ashes to contribute to the environment. However, biodegradable urns are only meant for temporary housing of a loved one’s ashes, and not a permanent placement. 


Bamboo is a natural and aesthetically-pleasing resource that can convey a sense of tranquility to those viewing it, which is a great way to pay tribute to a loved one. Bamboo’s earthy appearance and smooth texture can evoke a feeling of peace and harmony and is the perfect choice to celebrate a life that was down-to-earth. 

However, bamboo, while it can provide a sturdy home for your loved one’s remains, can also deteriorate over time when exposed to excessive moisture or extreme temperatures. 


Plastic urns provide an affordable and lightweight option for families. They can be customized with engravings and plaques, making them a practical choice for those who wish to personalize their loved one’s memorial. 

Yet, plastic is not the most durable material. Urns made of plastic can suffer damages from physical impact or exposure to harsh environmental conditions. Another downside is that plastic urns are seen as less visually appealing. 

Customize Urns: A Personalized Touch 

Beautiful urn with intricate designs

In the midst of grief, choosing the right cremation urn can be a powerful way to celebrate and honor a loved one’s life. Remember, every person’s life is different and holds a story unique to them. Customizable urns are a fitting way to celebrate your loved one’s experiences and pay tribute to their life. These urns can be tailored to reflect the passions, hobbies, and personality of the deceased. Customization allows families to tell a story and honor a life in a deeply personal way, ensuring that the urn is as unique as the person it commemorates. 

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