By Last Updated: October 18th, 2022

As Unique as Your Loved One: 7 Thoughtful DIY Memorial Keepsake Ideas

When a loved one passes away, it can be devastating for family and friends. Often those who are left behind experience feelings of sadness and a sense of emptiness for a period of time that can last anywhere from weeks to years. As part of the process of closure, family and friends may have to go through their loved one’s belongings, including clothing and other items that the loved one used.

Naturally, you can’t keep everything that a loved one used to own. So how do you decide what to keep or how to repurpose some items so that they aren’t just taking up space in your house? Here are 7 thoughtful DIY memorial keepsakes to treasure from a loved one, including how to repurpose sentimental items.

1. Create a quilt, pillow case, or stuffed animal made of your loved one’s clothes.

Did your loved one collect concert T-shirts or have a particular flannel shirt for every day of the week? You can donate these clothes to Goodwill or if you feel sad parting with something so integral to your loved one, you can sew all of the shirts together to create a quilt or pillow case. Then when you take a nap or fall asleep, you can wrap yourself in your loved one and keep a bit of them there with you. Also, for children who’ve lost parents or grandparents, you can take pieces of these items and sew them onto a stuffed animal or create a stuffed animal out of favorite pieces of clothing.

diy memorial keepsakes handmade quilt

2. Take beloved knicknacks from around their house and put them into a shadow box.

Shadow boxes are traditionally used by the military to honor a veteran, but you can take the same idea and apply it to non-veteran loved ones as well. Maybe your loved one had a favorite deck of cards, a necklace or chain they wore all the time, or something else that was a part of their spirit and personality. You can take a collection of their items and put them together into a shadow box display that can even include a photo of your loved one.

3. Take a loved one’s baking items and recipes and combine them into a practical kitchen item.

If your loved one was an avid baker and chef, they probably have a lot of items and recipes around their kitchen. One thing you can do is to imprint the recipes on pie pans, cutting boards, mugs, napkins, and any other item to keep your loved one around your own kitchen. These even make great gifts to family members. If there are too many recipes to choose just one, you can compile them and create a cookbook that you can then print and share with other family members or friends.

4. Make a holiday ornament made out of the deceased’s jewelry.

The holidays can be a challenging time of year when you’re mourning the loss of someone. One way to repurpose a piece of jewelry or knick knack of a loved one is to make it into a holiday ornament that you can hang on the Christmas tree or on a holiday wreath, so that you can feel their presence during the holiday season.

diy memorial keepsakes handmade Christmas ornament

5. Turn a loved one’s ashes into diamonds or Parting Stones.

If you opt for cremation for a loved one, what do you do with the remains? They’re perfectly fine sitting on a mantle, but maybe you want to do something more with them. Companies like Eterneva turn ashes into a diamond while companies like Parting Stone turn solidified remains into stones. With the stones, you can give them to family members and friends of the loved ones so everyone can keep a piece of the one they miss.

6. Engrave an everyday object with your loved one’s name or a short phrase.

On the TV series Frasier, Frasier Crane’s dad had a favorite chair that he always sat in (much to the chagrin of Frasier who thought it was ugly). And yet that chair probably has sentimental value to Frasier since he loves his father so much. Family members and friends who inherit items that they don’t necessarily love but might not want to part with can include engravings or short phrases on these items to repurpose them into something that honors their loved one.

7. Make wind chimes with items from gardeners or a craftsperson’s workroom.

Wind chimes create a sonic remembrance of a loved one, and families and friends can repurpose some of your loved ones most cherished items by including them in wind chimes, like gardening tools, old wine bottles, and scraps of metal from work rooms.

About Opal Cremation

Opal Cremation knows losing a loved one can be an emotionally difficult time and aims to help navigate family and friends through this confusing period. As part of an all-inclusive package, we offer direct cremation services and can customize packages to accommodate each family and individual. Instead of coming in for an in-person appointment, Opal is happy to organize the entire cremation process over the phone so that you can spend time with family and friends during this challenging time. Opal Cremation is with you every step of the way, with a dedicated care team available to offer communication and support 24 hours a day. Contact Opal Cremation today to make cremation arrangements. For more information, visit our support center which includes answers to your questions about cremation as well as other relevant resources.

Choose one of our Southern California cremation locations to get started:
Los Angeles CremationSan Diego CremationOrange County Cremation

Share This Article