Creative Ways to Remember a Loved One

Michele Meleen
Remembrance stone

Memorializing a loved one can be as unique as they were. Creative ways to remember a loved one include DIY projects, common memorial tributes, and original events or activities. Keep the memory of your loved one alive in a public or private way so they can live on with you.

Active Remembrance Ideas

Incorporate remembering your loved one into hobbies and everyday activities that will keep you actively memorialized them. These creative remembrance ideas can be done individually, as a family, or on a more public scale depending on your preferences.

Make a Drink in Their Honor

Craft an original wine, beer, or other drink at home that incorporates your loved one's favorite flavors and drinks. Give the drink a name honors your loved one and create a label for it. Give bottles out to other close friends and family members or serve it up at the memorial service.

Make a Documentary of Their Life

Grab your phone or a video camera and record all the places your loved one lived, worked, studied, visited, and frequented. Compile these videos using editing software on your computer into a documentary-style video. This can be a fun and light-hearted project or a more serious one where you write out scripts for each location ahead of time so you can narrate. Host a backyard movie night to show your film.

woman filming in rural field

Dress Up as Your Loved One for Halloween

If your friend or family member loved Halloween, or if it's your favorite holiday, you can use them as inspiration for your costume. If possible, borrow their favorite outfit or one associated with a strong memory. They say imitation is a high form of flattery, so this is your chance to elevate your loved one to the highest status.

Pay It Forward in Their Name

Make up some DIY coupons that say something like "Free Lunch on Jane Mathews" or "Free Coffee From a Friend in Heaven." Head out to local restaurants and ask if you could purchase a meal or drink and leave the coupon for someone else to redeem the actual items.

Start a Memorial Podcast

Create a podcast friends and family can listen to that shares different stories about the deceased's life. Depending on your relationship, there may be a lot you didn't know about your loved one. Use each episode to host a new guest from the deceased's life who can share a memory or two. You'll need a computer, internet access, a good microphone, and a podcast hosting site which can cost you about $50 to $100 altogether.

Finish Their Unfinished Business

If your loved one died without visiting a specific place, solving a mystery, or researching something important to them, you can finish it for them. Try to learn one thing your loved one always hoped to do, but didn't make time for and do it yourself. When budget isn't an issue, you can take their dream vacation. When money's a little tighter, you can learn about something they wanted to learn at your local library.

Artistic Memorial Ideas

Whether you're an artist or not, creative memorial ideas are possible. If you're not confident you can pull the project off on your own, look for a local artist or regional artisan you can hire to do it for you. DIY projects will cost you a lot less money than hiring an artist, but either will be special.

Paint and Hide Memorial Rocks

Grab some small rocks and paint to get started.

  1. Decorate the rocks with your loved one's name, favorite things, or quotes.
  2. On the back of the rocks write an original hashtag and share the name of a memorial Facebook page where finders can post pictures of the rocks before they re-hide them.
  3. Hide the rocks around local places the deceased loved.
  4. Keep tabs on how far and wide your loved one's memory travels via the memorial rocks by monitoring the Facebook page.

Make a DIY Remembrall from Harry Potter

If your loved one was a Harry Potter fan, they'll love you keeping their memory alive in a remembrall. You'll need a clear, round plastic ornament or snap ball, red tulle, gold ribbon, a black permanent marker, glue, and scissors to create the project.

  1. Cut the tulle into a long, thin strip.
  2. Write your loved one's name in a repeating pattern along the entire strip of tulle.
  3. Bunch the tulle up and put in inside the ball.
  4. Close the ball and glue a strip of the gold ribbon around the seam.

Immortalize Them in Writing

Write a short story, poem, collection of poems, or novel using your loved one as the main character or inspiration for the plot. Have a story or poem printed and framed. If you write a collection of poems or novel, self-publish the book and make copies available to purchase for friends and family members. Donate the proceeds of book sales to the deceased's favorite charity.

man writing in a notepad

Start a "Thoughts of You" Journal

Grab a blank journal that includes decorative elements that remind you of your loved one. Every time you think of this person, write down your thought, memory, or feeling in the journal.

Etch Them Into a Window of Your House

Use your favorite photo of the deceased to create a stencil of their likeness. Purchase DIY glass etching supplies like etching cream and craft sticks. Choose a window in your house and secure the stencil in one corner. Follow standard glass etching directions and you'll end up with a glowing image of your loved one.

Create an Heirloom Furniture

Turn a piece of your loved one's furniture into an heirloom and memorial tribute by adding personal photographs. Decoupage their pictures onto the piece of furniture using an adhesive like Mod Podge. Once the pictures are secured and dry, seal the entire piece. Pass the furniture on through generations to keep the memory of your loved one alive.

Invent a Unique Coat of Arms

In the "olden days" every family had a coat of arms to show what their family represented. Create a modern coat of arms art piece in memory of your loved one to do the same. Use their favorite colors, characters, animals, sports, and other things to make a 3D art piece on a canvas. Paint the items and glue them onto the canvas in the shape of a traditional coat of arms.

Write and Record a Song About Them

Song lyrics have a way of getting stuck in your head. Keep your loved one in the background of your mind by writing and recording a song about them. If you're musically inclined, you can do it all yourself. If not, look for a local musician you can hire to work with you for a couple hundred dollars or less. Share the song with friends and family or see if your local radio station will play it on the air.

Make a Video Game About Them

If your loved one was into games and gaming, consider making a special video game dedicated to them. Websites like ROBLOX have features where you can create your own game from scratch then let the public play it. Think of something your loved one was great at and base the game on that. Use their name in the title and make the in-game characters in their likeness.

Public Memorial Ideas

When you want to remember your loved one with a grand gesture, opt for a public memorial. These can be useful and beneficial to your loved one's community or they can simply be for show. These often require more effort in order to get the proper permissions.

Sign post to Memory Lane

Get a Local Landmark Named After Them

Talk to local officials about how you can get a local street, bridge, park, or other landmark named after your loved one. Host an official naming ceremony to commemorate the occasion. Often times this honor is reserved for people who have made an impact on their community or country, like veterans, but you might also be able to buy the naming rights.

Build a Memorial Flag Pole

Schools, sports fields, and government buildings often feature beautiful flag pole displays that include plants and a memorial plaque. Look for a place in your town that doesn't have a flagpole or doesn't have a memorialized one. Ask about dedicating the flag pole to your loved one. This typically includes buying the flag pole, flag, plaque, and garden materials and maintaining the area around the flag pole so it's a pretty big time and money commitment.

Start a Youth Scholarship For Them

College scholarships for high school students are typical, but you can offer scholarships for lots of other kids in memory of your loved one. Daycare centers, private sports programs, churches, and youth recreation centers all accept donations so they can offer scholarships to kids who might not be able to afford the programs. The cost will depend on the program expenses and number of scholarships you offer.

Put Them on a Stamp

Through the United States Postal Service you can now create custom stamps using personal photos. One sheet of custom stamps costs around $20 depending on the type you choose. Upload your favorite picture of your loved one and offer to let others buy the stamps too.

Host a Memorial Fundraiser in Their Name

Many 5K runs are dedicated to honoring specific individuals and their causes of death. Think outside the fundraising box and host a cool memorial fundraiser that honors your loved one's interests. You could host a golf tournament, kayak paddle, corn hole tournament, or paint night where the proceeds are donated to your loved one's favorite charity.

Make a Parade Float in Their Honor

Towns and cities host parades for everything from the start of Little League season to the Fourth of July and Christmas. Choose a local parade and pay to enter a float in honor of your loved one. You'll have to pay an entry fee and purchase all the materials to make the float, so this can be on the expensive side. Gather friends and family members to help and march with you.

Host a Gallery Show of Their Belongings

If your loved one owned a special collection like books, vintage posters, or Disney characters, you can put them on display in the deceased's honor. Check with a local art gallery to see if you could host a show in memory of your loved one and their belongings.

Dedicate a Maker Space at the Library

Maker spaces are trendy right now for kids and adults and public libraries are adding these creative spaces to bring in more patrons. If your library doesn't already have one, ask if you can pay for and create a maker space in honor of your loved one. You'll need to buy supplies such as craft supplies that are inexpensive and more expensive items like a 3D printer or coding toys. Add a plaque or sign to memorialize the space with your loved one's name. This can cost anywhere from $100 to $2,000+ depending on the amount you want to spend.

Honor Them With a Memorial Dish

Head out to your loved one's favorite restaurant, coffee shop, or cafe and talk to the owner. Ask if you can have a dish or drink named after the deceased as a permanent item on the menu or as a special. Work with the chef to create something new inspired by your friend's taste or have their favorite item named after them.

Make a Viral Memorial Meme

Use an awesome picture of your loved one with a great, funny caption to create a custom meme in their honor. Start sharing your meme on social media along with why you've created it to help it get to viral status. Anything you post on the internet stays in the virtual world forever, so your loved one will live eternally through technology.

Remember Ideas Steeped in Creativity

Whether you're memorializing a loved one on the first anniversary of their death or every year for the rest of your life, remembrance ideas can make the experience personal for you. Think outside the box of what's typical and traditional to honor your loved one in a way no one else could.

Creative Ways to Remember a Loved One