How to Open an Urn to Scatter Ashes

If you’ve recently lost someone you love, you are likely bedeviled with many pesky, sad, and mundane tasks necessary to lay your loved one to rest. One of these tasks is handling the cremation remains after they’ve been returned to you. In addition to deciding what to do with the ashes, there is the practical matter of opening the urn. If this is where you’re at or somewhere you’ll be soon, you may wonder, “How do I open an urn?”. Please keep reading as we talk about how to open an urn to scatter ashes, make cremation glass, or fill keepsake urns

How to Open a Sealed Urn to Scatter Ashes

Before we talk about the mechanics of opening an urn, let’s take a moment to discuss mindset. There’s no reason to be nervous about opening an urn of cremation ash; it’s completely sterile. It might be helpful to be present and take your time when opening an urn or handling your loved one’s cremation ashes. If it feels sad or heavy, that’s ok because this is a sorrowful time, and the loss you’ve suffered is tragic. 

The most common reason people want to open an urn is to scatter all or a portion of their loved one’s ashes somewhere beautiful in nature. Knowing how to use the urn before the actual scattering ceremony is both a time and face saver; you don’t want to be fiddling with screws or realizing that the urn is sealed right in the moment of the scattering. 

Most of the time, the container or urn the cremation ashes are returned to you is not the urn you’ll use for scattering. This is for both appearances; the ashes are likely in a very plain container, and for practicality; scattering ashes is much easier when done with urns designed for that purpose. 

If you didn’t order an urn through the crematorium, you’ll most likely receive your loved one’s ashes back in a heavy plastic bag or inexpensive metal urn. Metal urns usually have a screw top that will easily open. If the urn has been sealed with wax or an adhesive, try using fingernail polish remover or an epoxy solvent. Soak a cotton ball or pad in the solution and rub it along the seal. You might need to apply it several times and wiggle or force the lid free. If necessary, use a screwdriver to pry the lid open. If your loved one’s ashes were returned to you in a cremation box, there are likely screws on the bottom of the box that can be unscrewed to remove the bottom panel. 

Using a scattering urn is one of the best ways to ensure a peaceful, respectful scattering ceremony. They are designed to securely transport the ashes and make scattering easy and dignified. Transfer your loved one’s ashes to the scattering urn well before the ceremony. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time and space to do this; put the kids to bed and crate curious pets. Using a funnel, carefully pour or scoop the cremation ash from the bag or temporary urn into the scattering urn. Have a spoon nearby to break up any clumps of ash. This will prevent the urn from being blocked on the day of the ceremony. 

Best Type of Urn for Scattering Ashes

For a land scattering, you want a strong urn with a securely sealed lid that is also easy to open. A partial opening on the scattering urn will allow you to gently scatter your loved one’s ashes. Trying to scatter ashes without a specific scattering urn may be awkward and messy. For example, if you use a container that is hard to hold, you could drop it. That’s why they make scattering urns narrow and easy to hold, etc. 

If you’re scattering ashes on the water, then there’s nothing better than a water urn, which is designed to hold your loved one’s ashes and dissolve into the water, gently and safely dispersing the ashes. Water urns are a beautiful and dignified way to lay someone to rest. 

Where to Buy Ash Scattering Urns

The Living Urn makes a variety of skillfully designed and sustainably crafted scattering urns and water urns. Their Eco-Scattering urn is handcrafted from bamboo, making it beautiful and strong. Its specially designed lid makes filling and scattering a peaceful experience. It’s also lovely enough to use as a display urn if you decide to keep a portion of ash for display.

Lay your loved one to rest in the water with this biodegradable water urn. It comes with a protective bamboo case to make transport easy and safe. Or, use this award-winning urn crafted out of beautiful ice. This stunning floating urn gently melts away and releases your loved one’s remains back to the earth. Wherever you lay your loved one to rest, record their location on Ecorial’s Memory Map to share with those you love.
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