How Do We Custom Engrave Our Metal Urns?

by Alex Johnson March 18, 2024 8 min read

"What is the true purpose of life?" one may ask while attending a memorial. Losing a loved one seems unreal. It's challenging to grasp the concept of letting go. We often find ourselves deranged in times like these. Life is about creating memories. Once someone is gone, it's all about cherishing the moments that have made us who we are now, the moments we had with them, who are no longer with us but have impacted our lives in ways no one else ever could have done. While losing someone is a heartache no one can heal, preserving their ashes is taking a step towards accepting. Urns – A symbol that portrays "they will remain a part of us forever."

Cremation is a beautiful way to honour and remember our loved ones. It is said that birth comes in as a ray of light, and so fire becomes the way to set the spirit free. Hence, completing the circle of life. Even after Death has struck, storing the ashes of a loved one can emit a feeling that they are still close to you. Metal urns hold a special significance among the various options available for storing ashes. They are valued for their durability and classic appeal, making them an ideal choice for many. Metal urns come in many styles and designs, with a lot of options to choose from. One way to personalize metal urns is through custom engraving. A distinctive way to add a personal touch to the cremation urns. Whether it's a heartfelt message, a significant date, or a design, engraving adds a meaningful element to the urn in the memory of a loved one. Urns for ashes are more than vessels; they are repositories of memories and endless love. Holding on to not just the physical remains but also the essence of the departed soul.

History of Urns

Let me take you back in time and tell you a little bit about the story of engraving urns. The practice dates back to the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, who used to carve the life histories of the people who passed away. A practice they believed connected them to the afterlife. Metal Urns came into the story in medieval times. Urns were used for ceremonial purposes, holding the ashes of saints and important religious figures carved with religious symbols. From the Renaissance, we could see the interest in Art and Culture, hence the design of the Urns. Engraving techniques were also refined, allowing for greater design detail and intricacy. By the 18th and 19th centuries, marble, bronze, and porcelain urns came to life and use, engraved with the name and dates of the departed, as well as other personal or religious symbols. Today, urn engraving continues to be a common practice. Engraving techniques have advanced, allowing diverse fonts and designs to be used. The history of engraving urns reflects the changing cultural and artistic tendencies and the enduring human desire to memorialize and honour the departed.

Urns have symbolic significance in many cultures and religions. They are often associated with the idea of containment and preservation. Using an urn can also symbolize the continuation of life in some form.

Metal Urns

Metals Urns are the classic choice for holding the ashes due to their durability. Created from sturdy materials like brass, stainless steel, or copper, which not only looks elegant but also lasts for a very long time. These have a unique charm about them and always stay in style. Holding the ashes of a loved one safely, making sure the memory remains with us for years to come. You can have brass urns engraved with beautiful designs or heartfelt messages, something that is meaningful, heartfelt, and personalized.

The Engraving Process

Engraving is like narrating a story, using special tools to create designs and words. You can choose what connects with you, through a variety of options.

Laser Engraving: A tiny yet powerful laser beam carefully carving out intricate designs on the metal surface of the urn. Incredibly precise, making it the ideal choice for detailed patterns, pictures, and words. It helps bring your unique ideas to life with amazing clarity.

Rotary Engraving: A small, rotating tool gently carving deep lines into the metal, creating a textured effect. While it’s not as detailed as laser engraving, it has a classic, bold look to it, that many find appealing. It's great for creating designs and texts that stand out, just as you would want the bond between you and your loved one to stand out.

Hand Engraving: A skilled artist using hand tools to carefully carve designs onto the metal. It's a slow and careful process, but the result is a piece of beautiful art that reflects the love and care put into it. Each stroke tells a story.

Personalization Options

Pet Portrait urns for ashes


When it comes to customizing the Urns, the possibilities are endless. Some of those are here as follows:

Names and Dates: One of the simplest yet powerful ways to preserve the memory of your loved one for ages to come.

Sentiments and Quotes: Perhaps there was something you liked the most about them, something they must have said, something that reminds you of them, something that you would like to remember for always - a heartwarming message, a meaningful saying, or a simple quotation.

Symbols and Imagery: We all have a symbol that we resonate with the most throughout our lives. It could be a religious symbol or something as simple as a hobby or a passion they had. It could be a beautiful way to pay respect to their lives and their personalities.

Custom Designs: A design that represents who they were, representing something they loved - a depiction of a beloved pet, a scene from nature, or an illustration of a treasured landmark; these custom designs can be intricately engraved onto the urn.

Personalized urns, such as those for adults, fathers, mothers, or pets, offer a special way to honour and remember loved ones.

While discussing custom engraving metal urns for ashes, I would like to tell you about the two primary approaches that stand out, traditional hand engraving and modern laser engraving. As we have spoken about these two briefly, let's dive into depth to understand better.

Traditional Hand Engraving Process

hand engraved urns

Hand engraving is a detailed process that requires skilled artists to carve designs into the metal surface of the urns. This particular technique adds a personalized touch to the urns. As this process is meticulous, it also gives greater depth and texture to the engravings, making the visuals of the urn much more beautiful and intricate. It offers room for customization on a different level, be it unique handwriting or complex designs. Though it's long drawn out, it is worth the energy, time, and patience. Hand engraving can be done on various metals, including brass, stainless steel, and copper, providing flexibility in material choice for urns. Someone putting their heart and art out to carve beauty on the urns makes it even more exquisite and personal.

Modern Laser Engraving

As we progress toward the future, everything is about precision, versatility, and speed. Modern laser engraving is precise, and the results are in front of you in no time, ensuring that the engraving is exactly as you wanted it to be. Its versatility can create intricate designs, text, and even photographs on metal urns, giving many options. It's a speedy process, which makes it an ideal choice, especially for large-scale production or time-sensitive orders. This one delivers a professional touch to the urn as it causes minimal disturbance to the metal surface, hence a neat look. Quite different from the hand engraving process, modern laser engravings provide limited depth and texture, which may affect the tactile quality of the engraving.

Just as life is all about the balance between good and bad, as well as pros and cons, the hand engraving process and modern laser engraving process have unique elements that make them different. The choice between the two approaches depends on the preferred aesthetic, customization choices, and production necessities for the urn - to each of its own.

How Do You Choose a Suitable Engraving?

You would want to use something that connects with you. Here are some factors to consider before making the choice:

Size and Placement: Engraving is a form of art, and the design should be approached with artistic reflections in mind. Before taking the first step, ponder a while about the composition, balance, and harmony of the engraving with respect to its shape and the size of the urn. Something that communicates volumes with a minimalistic approach. Once that's done, a skilled engraver can help you create a design that fits the urn and enriches its visual appeal.

Material Compatibility: Different metals require different engraving techniques. Brass urns, for example, may respond differently to engraving than stainless steel urns. Talk to a professional engraver who is experienced with the precise material of your urn to determine the most suited approach.

Design and Message: Engravings are more than just designs and words; they convey a deeper meaning. The design and message of the engraving must reflect the personality, interests, and values of the departed. Consider including elements that were meaningful to them. As discussed earlier, it could be a quotation, something they must have cherished all their life, a symbol. Use distinctive fonts, decorative elements, or personalized messages that resonate with you and capture the essence of your loved one's personality and life story. It's a collaborative process to choose the right design, which requires input from family members and loved ones.

Durability with Budget: Engravings on metal urns are intended to be lasting tributes. Choose an engraving technique and material that will withstand the test of time. Also, engraving costs depend on the design complexity you choose. Choose something that meets your needs while staying within your budget and timeline.

Clarity: You would like to have an engraving that is clear, even from a distance. Consider the size of the text or design elements and the contrast between the engraved area and the surrounding metal. As I said, something that speaks volumes with being minimalistic and simple.

Cultural or Religious Considerations: If your loved one had specific cultural or religious beliefs, consider blending elements of their faith or culture into the engraving. This will make it even more personalized with a touch of spirituality.

Professional Recommendations: Engraving professionals have the expertise and experience to guide you through selection. They can offer recommendations based on their knowledge of engraving techniques, materials, and design principles, helping you make informed decisions that result in a beautiful and meaningful engraving.

Keep these factors in mind while choosing the suitable engraving for your custom metal urn that is not only visually appealing but also meaningful and reflective of the life and legacy of your loved one!


By understanding the significance of custom urns, exploring the various engraving options, and choosing the right design, you can create a timeless honour that celebrates the life and legacy of your loved ones for generations to come.

Life is a journey that comprises endless memories, and engraving an urn allows us to preserve these memories forever. Engraving also plays a significant role in the grieving process, providing a sense of closure and peace. It allows us to express our emotions and thoughts tangibly, connecting us to the past, present, and future. In engraving an urn, we are not just celebrating the individual but also acknowledging the full circle of life and death. A beautiful way of maintaining a connection with our loved ones even after they have passed. It reminds us that even though life may end, love and memories last, transcending time and space.

Between life and death, custom-engraved metal urns become a timeless brushstroke, painting the everlasting canvas of remembrance.

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