Grave blankets are customary headstone coverings that are typically used during winter months and holidays. The cemetery arrangements cover a portion or most of the plot and are highlighted with a series of holiday-themed ribbons or flowers.
What Is a Grave Blanket?
A grave blanket is a handmade or commercially made evergreen arrangement that covers the ground of the grave. They are made of evergreen boughs and can be decorated with ribbons, bows, flowers, pine cones or baby's breath and are available in a variety of styles and sizes. Grave blankets are most often found in colder, northern regions of the country where traditional flower arrangements would not withstand the cold temperatures or snow. There are many reasons why grave blankets are placed on the graves of loved ones. The symbolic meaning is that the blanket will keep your deceased loved one warm for winter. Another reason is to honor and remember your beloved family member or friend.
Finding Grave Blankets
Fresh and artificial grave blankets can be found through your local florist or through an online floral company:
Northern Evergreen offers a beautiful fresh balsam grave blanket. It measures 42" long and 26" across. They include the flowers, pine cones and a bow to decorate the grave blanket. The shipment also contains stakes to secure the blanket to the ground. The price is $78.50.
Westland Florist and Greenhouse
Westland Florist and Greenhouse has a variety of grave blankets that are handmade from fresh evergreens. There are different decorative options available with various flowers, ribbons or other decorations. Since prices vary, it is best to give them a call.
Alta Florist Mansfield
Alta Florist Mansfield has a 6' x 3' live pine handmade grave blanket. You can specify your choice of bow color. The prices are $74.95 for a bow only, $84.95 for a bow and pine cones and $94.95 for a bow, pine cones and ruscus.
How to Make Your Own Grave Blanket
There may come a time when you can't find the exact blanket you want. In this case, with the help of a florist or craft store, you can make your own:
The following are materials needed to make a grave blanket:
- Chicken wire
- Wire cutters
- Any assortment of greenery branches - (evergreens, fir, pine etc.)
- Floral foam
- Floral tape
- Floral wire
- Hot glue gun
- Outdoor ribbon
- Fresh flowers
- Pine cones or other accessories
The following instructions are for a 6' x 3' grave blanket:
- Cut the chicken wire slightly smaller than the 6′ x 3′ size of a finished grave blanket.
- Take the greenery branches and weave it through the chicken wire and secure with floral tape.
- Shape and prune the greenery as you go.
- Add more branches to fill in any holes.
- When the greenery foundation has been completed, you can secure the floral foam at different points of the blanket.
- You can then attach the fresh flowers to the floral foam.
- Weave ribbon throughout the greenery and/or add a large bow.
- Secure any ribbons or bows with a hot glue gun or floral wire.
- Attach pine cones or other accessories to the greenery and also secure with a hot glue gun or floral wire.
- You can personalize or theme the grave blanket any way you wish, for example, a birthday, anniversary or Christmas.
- Transport the grave blanket to the cemetery.
- Be sure to bring floral wire or floral tape to secure any decorations that may have come loose during transport.
- Use stakes or an anchor of some type to secure blanket to the ground.
Tips for Making a Grave Blanket
A few tips:
- Place the longer greenery branches lowest to the ground; there will be less of a chance of them blowing away in the wind.
- Artificial greenery or flowers may be an option. It is cheaper and will last longer than fresh sprays.
- Use bricks of dry floral foam glued into a plastic or wooden container as a barrier between the headstone and the arrangement; it will also serve as the weight to hold your blanket close to the ground.
- When using the floral foam, be sure to push the stems or greenery a few inches into the foam; you can also use a hot glue gun to secure them.
- Cover the floral foam with sheet moss to blend it in with the greenery.
- For a sturdier grave blanket, you can also build a four-sided frame from wood (with an X in the middle) and cover it with chicken wire. You can then weave the greenery through the wire.
- You may want to water the grave blanket in dry areas to keep it fresh and green longer.
Always Check With the Cemetery First
Make sure you check with the cemetery regarding the rules and regulations regarding grave blankets. Find out if there's a size restriction, how long you may keep the grave blanket in place, if it needs to be anchored and how it should be disposed of. Some cemeteries only allow artificial arrangements during certain times of the year, so make sure you inquire about that as well.