A Good Day to DIY: Coffins, Urns, and Headstones

Make your exit plan, by your own design. Or it's your funeral.

Creativity 7 min read Mar 28, 2023
A Good Day to DIY: Coffins, Urns, and Headstones

Don’t take life too seriously! Nobody gets out alive anyway. - Dawn Gluskin

So, how do you plan to go out - in a casket? An urn? Dothraki pyre, perhaps? Have you ever even considered it?

Death and all its trappings may not be something we like to think about, at least not without cringing a little bit. Once in a while, we might remind ourselves to try and prepare for the inevitable end, with a slight feeling of detachment. Like a footnote in an otherwise conscientious funeral plan.

Will you leave the burden of your end-of-life decisions to your grieving family or worse, to funeral staff who know nothing about you, except what’s on your file? Or can you find the gumption to pick your own exit vessel, down to its design, shape, and colours?

Even better, what about if you craft it yourself?

Long live the Kiwi Coffin Club

In New Zealand, some elderly people not only mustered the courage; they discovered a new pastime. Dubbed the Kiwi Coffin Club, the group has turned coffin construction - an activity that most people may find morbid or macabre - into a social event they can enjoy. Founder Katie Williams, who started the Club in her garage, felt that funerals had “nothing to do with the vibrancy and life” of the dead and so, they decided to fix it and honour the departed with a “more personal farewell”.

For the elderlies of the Club, coffin-making is a therapeutic craft, and maybe even a little cathartic. After all, how can you be afraid of death, when you spend the twilight of your life preparing for it in a most creative way? Plus, while waiting for The Day to arrive, you can use your box for things like storage. 😁

Today is a good day to DIY

Making a coffin or casket for yourself or a loved one is a very personal, intimate decision. From planing and cutting wood to polishing and putting the final touches, your handiwork will take you on a journey like no other.

But it is also quite the practical choice. Let’s just say today’s coffin prices are so exorbitant, they can, err, kill you. Build your own casket, urn, and even a headstone. Nothing wrong with expressing your uniqueness one last time and saving dollars while you’re at it. Prudent in life and even in death, amirite?

We’ve always said that making things, especially showcasing your creativity in such a concrete manner as this, is good for the spirit (this and all previous puns intended). So, here’s to lifelong learning! And to the joy of knowing that, with your own hands, you’ve built your very own little boat to sail in happily ever after.

There. Our ultimate demise doesn’t sound so dreadful now, does it?

If you’re in Sydney and this article inspired you take the bull by the horns, get excited.

You can learn how to make a coffin, urn, or headstone at Makerspace and Company.

If you’re in Melbourne, check out upcoming craft classes or DIY workshops near you.