How to personalise a cardboard coffin

Three minute read

Cardboard coffins are gaining in popularity. We love their simplicity and the potential they offer for personalisation. Here, we share some beautiful coffins decorated or chosen by Poppy’s clients to help you if you need inspiration.

Several years ago, the choice of a cardboard coffin might have been greeted with raised eyebrows or even a disapproving shake of the head. But today more people are opting for cardboard coffins because they are simple, affordable and environmentally-friendly.

What’s more, we believe that cardboard coffins can be beautiful too! Especially when relatives and friends get involved in decorating and personalising them. At Poppy’s, you’re welcome to take the coffin home to decorate yourselves, or to use our Friends and Family room.

The process of decorating the coffin is often as important as the end result. Gathered around the coffin, people share memories, laugh, cry, reflect and say goodbye in their own way.

For many, decorating the coffin is a way of paying tribute to the uniqueness of the person they love who has died. And all ages can take part, including very young children.

Cardboard coffins are durable and strong, while being lighter to carry than a wooden coffin. They are also suitable for natural burial. The cost of a cardboard coffin starts at £160, depending on the shape and design that you choose.

Our cardboard coffins come from Poland. They are made from recycled cardboard, with a chipboard base for extra strength, and a biodegradable lining.

So, what can you do with a cardboard coffin? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Paint it.

Cardboard coffin painted with irises

You don’t have to be a great artist! Painting can simply be about adding a splash of the person’s favourite colour to their coffin, or it can express something deeper about who they were in life.

However, if you are an artist, or the person who has died was, this is a particularly special way to connect with what was important to them.

For cremation or natural burial, you will need to use only water-based paints.

2. Write messages on it.

Cardboard coffin with children writing messages and drawings on it.

Use pens or paint to write a loving message; share a favourite quote or family catchphrase; add a joke; draw a picture or a doodle; or simply write your name. There are no limits on what you can write, and all ages can join in.

You can even invite people to add their own messages to the coffin during the funeral ceremony itself so everyone is included.

3. Cover it.

Cardboard coffin covered with Met Police flag

You can place flowers or items with personal significance on top of a cardboard coffin. Or you can drape a flag over the top, representing a nationality, organisation or even a favourite football club.

4. Decorate with photos, newspaper cuttings or cartoons.

Cardboard coffin with photos and sheet music glued on to it.

The sky is the limit here! Use ordinary craft or household glue (as long as it’s solvent-free) to stick significant newspaper cuttings, favourite cartoons, letters, photos, or whatever you choose onto the coffin. These can help tell the life story of the person who has died.

5. Just add music.

Cardboard coffin decorated with sheet music and red painted heart

Sticking sheet music to the coffin is also a popular choice. Whether the person who died was a musician or music lover, choosing and finding their favourite music is likely to bring back memories for friends and relatives.

6. Order a special design or favourite colour.

Cardboard coffin in white, printed with piano keys design

Cardboard coffins come in different colours and with many different designs. In some cases, you can commission your own designs to be printed on the coffin.

These designs are another way to celebrate a person’s interests, career or the things they were passionate about in life. We can talk through options or share ideas if you are looking for inspiration.

7. Leave it plain and simple.

Cardboard coffin with flowers on in hearse.

Some people choose a cardboard coffin because they are attracted by the simplicity of it. There is no need to decorate the coffin at all if you don’t want to. Always do what feels right for you.

Find out more ways to personalise a funeral or read about which coffin is the most eco-friendly.

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