How to Use Cremation Ashes in a Memorial Tattoo

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How to Use Cremation Ashes in a Memorial Tattoo. Considered morbid by some and the ultimate form of memorializing a deceased loved one by others, using cremation ashes in a memorial tattoo has been done, but may not necessarily be a wise decision. You will run into several obstacles when pursuing this venture including refusal by many tattoo artists and several health-related concerns. Do your homework before making the decision to include someone's bodily remains in a tattoo.

  • Research health issues surrounding the use of cremation ashes in tattooing. Due to the body's tendency to reject impurities introduced into the system, tattoo ink mixed with cremation ashes may be rejected as being an impurity. At the very least, this could leave you with an unflattering tattoo that may or may not be fixable. Worst case scenario, the ashes could cause an infection that may or may not make you very ill or cause infection or scarring in the tattooed area.

  • Prepare ashes for tattooing. When a body is cremated, the residual bone matter will not be a fine dust but more like small pebbles or a sand-like substance. You need to sift out the larger pieces to glean just the finest particles to mix in the tattoo ink. There are some who have also found various ways to grind the entire remains into a finer powder.

  • Bake the ashes prior to use. It's been suggested that you bake the cremation ashes you'll be using in order to "sterilize" them. However, it's also been said the temperature at which the body is cremated should have eliminated any germs or diseases that might have been present in the body. You'll be hard pressed to find any scientific information about the validity of either claim.

  • Search for a tattoo artist willing to use cremation ashes in a tattoo. Because of the uncertainty of the advisability of introducing these foreign bodies into your skin and the lack of experience in adding cremation ashes to tattoo ink and then using it in the tattoo, many tattoo artists are going to be hesitant to do the procedure.

  • Be prepared for negative feedback. Adding someone's remains to your body via your skin seems to be considered pretty taboo by a large portion of society. If you advertise that your tattoo includes cremation ashes, you could get some hurtful comments, so be ready for any backlash. If you're confident in your decision then you'll have to find a positive way to deal with negative opinions.

  • Decide if it's a wise choice. Although you may feel your memorial tattoo will hold even more meaning if it contains some of the deceased loved one's bodily remains, it may not be the safest route to take. Be sure to research the topic thoroughly and if possible, get the advice of a doctor and any tattoo artists who've previously completed the process before making your final decision.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you decide to exclude the ashes, you can still get a wonderful memorial for your loved one permanently inked on your skin. For more information about creating a memorial tattoo sans cremation ashes, read the eHow article, "How to Design a Memorial Tattoo."
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