Losing someone we love is bound to fill us with complicated, hard-to-process emotions. For many people, one of the best ways to express those tough thoughts and feelings is through art and creativity. And luckily, there are many ways to honor someone with a DIY memorial or remembrance craft project.
Here are some unique crafts for people of all ages to help memorialize someone who’s passed away. You could use these ideas to create unique gifts for grieving loved ones or just honor the departed in a hands-on way. And best of all, you can complete most of these crafts with materials you already have lying around the house.
Adults and Families
The remembrance crafts listed below are well-suited to adults or the whole family, since they include some more involved steps.
Of course, you can modify these crafts according to your group’s skill level. (If you’re looking for an even more involved memorial project, you may want to check out these memorial wall ideas!)
Personalized sun hats
- Straw or fabric hats
- Fabric glue
- Fabric paint or markers
- Patches and embellishments
Many memorial services are held outdoors. To add a lighthearted touch to the event, you could set up a crafting station for guests to create decorated hats that they can wear when they’re done.
This craft is also a unique idea for celebrating someone who liked to wear hats or spent a lot of time outside in the garden.
Mason jar flower vases
- Mason jars
- Paint or paint pens
It’s common to give flowers as a memorial funeral gift. You can add a more personal touch by crafting a DIY vase for the flowers using a Mason jar and paints. These can include the departed person’s name, as well as quotes and images that depict who they were in life.
- Stones or gems
- Old tiles
- Clay or mosaic kit
- Glue or bonding agent
You can create a decorative mosaic in someone’s memory, either single handedly or as a group project at the funeral or memorial service. You could have everyone paint a tile with a memorial message and add their tile to the mosaic for a truly unique remembrance.
- Sugar cookie dough
- Frosting or icing
- Serving dish or Tupperware
You can whip up the materials for this project from scratch or simply pick some up at the store, depending on your proficiency with baking. Decorate your sugar cookies with images and messages that honor the departed person, and give them to the grieving family. You could even serve your memorial cookies at the memorial service.
- Tattoo pens or face paint
You can hand-design your temporary tattoos using skin-safe paint and brushes or tattoo pens, or you can order custom temporary tattoos online. Your “tattoos” could include a memorial quote, an image of the departed person, or simply their name, birth date, and death date.
This craft idea could be a perfect activity for a more informal celebration of life or as a way to remember a loved one at another event, such as a birthday.
Older Adults and Seniors
Crafting is a key way that seniors can keep their minds sharp and active as they age. And as we grow older, we experience the loss of those close to us even more frequently. The DIY remembrance ideas below can help seniors express their grief or support grieving loved ones in a healthy, active way.
- Photo books or craft paper
Seniors tend to have many photos, written notes, and other memorabilia sitting around the house or in storage boxes. When a person passes away, it can be meaningful to put together a memorial scrapbook filled with memories you shared.
- Handwritten or printed recipes
- Blank notebook
- Tape or adhesive
If the person who passed away was a chef or baker, honoring them with a book full of their recipes is a unique memorial craft idea. This craft has the added benefit of allowing the family to connect to that person for generations to come.
- Large puzzle pieces (blank or wooden pieces, if possible)
- Paint or markers
A group of seniors can create a unique jigsaw puzzle to honor a departed friend. You can do this as a group activity, where everyone makes a puzzle piece and it all comes together, or everyone can keep their pieces as one-of-a-kind keepsakes.
- Twine or fishing line
Windchimes make a beautiful addition to any home or garden. And when the wind blows, you (or your gift recipient) will immediately remember the departed person. Windchimes can be small or large, and they can be made of different materials to make them unique.
Painted flower pots
- Assorted pots
- Paints and paintbrushes
Painting flower pots is a great DIY idea with endless possibilities. You can arrange several flower pots together to create a sculptural element or keep them separate.
Plants and flowers are a great way to honor someone who has died. They also give people the opportunity to interact with them regularly, which can help keep the departed person’s memory alive.
Helping children cope with the loss of a loved one is an ideal opportunity to engage in creative crafts. Depending on where and when these crafts take place, you can adjust one of the following ideas to keep the messiness to a minimum.
- Pre-cut pieces of string, yarn, or leather cord
- Assorted beads and charms
Memorial jewelry can be a fun craft for all ages, but you can tailor this project to suit children. And there’s no limit to the types of beads, charms, and cording you use, so it’s likely you already have some usable pieces around the house.
Thumbprint or handprint tree
- Canvas or board
- Washable, non-toxic paint
- Brushes or markers
- Wipes or hand washing station
To create this remembrance craft, draw an outline for kids to fill in with their handprints, thumbprints, or other unique shapes. Paint the children’s hands and fingers, and let them leave their marks in memory of the person they’ve lost. Adults can join in, too!
Wreaths or bouquets
- Pipe cleaners
- Pom poms or cotton balls
- Yarn or ribbon
- Craft scissors
Kids can make colorful wreaths or bouquets in honor of a departed loved one without damaging any real plants. As an added benefit, these wreaths or bouquets will last much longer than the real thing. You can display these crafts alongside funeral flower wreaths and bouquets at the service or give them as gifts, too.
- Sheets of foam “paper”
- Foam stickers
- stick-on gems
- Adhesive of choice
To display photos of their loved ones, kids can create DIY photo frames out of foam and other fun craft supplies. These materials are more child-friendly than wooden photo frames. You may also want to add magnets to the backs of the finished frames so that you can hang the complete project on the fridge.
- Plastic sunglasses
- Paint markers or pens
- Stick-on gems
Many memorial services and gatherings happen outside. As part of an outdoor service, you can set up a crafting station where kids can create their own decorated sunglasses in memory of the departed person. This craft can also be a fun craft to do alongside the “decorated sun hat” craft listed above.
Help Their Memory Live On
You might not expect something as simple as crafting to help capture the memory of someone we’ve lost, or to help us express complicated feelings of grief.
But crafting, especially with other people, is a beautiful way of healing and bonding. For adults and seniors, creating something beautiful is a way of keeping someone’s memory alive and releasing complex emotions. And for children, crafts help make an uncertain time more familiar.
No matter what your age, creating a remembrance craft in honor of your loved one can help that person’s memory live on.