Known as a “commemorative tattoo,” using the cremation ashes of a loved one to be physically integrated as part of your tattoo has always intrigued me. I decided to share what I had found out – and then we can consider how this could be applied to hand poking at home.

A Commemorative Stick and Poke tattoo…

AW! What a sweet way to remind yourself of a beloved person or pet…by carrying them with you, always! Become ONE with the being you loved. When I think of my kitty passing, I would jump at the chance to keep her with me in this special way. Maybe the most mini paw print outline?


How do you make the ink?

From what I gather on the internets, making this highly custom ink is a booming business. Strangely connecting two unlikely bedfellows – funeral homes and tattoo shops. This is how it’s done: a very small amount (let’s say a teaspoon) of fine ashes can be mixed into a 1/2 oz. bottle of ink. If it were mixed in one of our adorable recycled glass jars, You’d only need a dusting. Shake thoroughly to mix.

NOTE: Make sure to use the finest powder from the Urn – maybe run it though a flour sifter first? No other ingredients are necessary to make your this very custom commemorative after-life ink. There are companies that will re-sterilize and mix the ink for you. But could this be done at home? …Perhaps the next question we should ask….

Is this safe?

Luckily, the oldest stick and poke tattoo ink was made with the the black bits of charred wood, so using ashes gets back to the roots of this ancient, widespread practice. Cremation occurs at temperatures above 1800F, so this is charring whatever was there, and taking it back to just Carbon. Today, black pigment is made from Carbon Black. As long as the ashes were handled properly after sterilization and put immediately into a sealed, clean container or Urn, they should be bacteria-free. It’s best to verify this with your crematorium. You can always toast it again at home just to be sure ;-)

It appears that the use of cremated remains in tattoo ink poses no known health risks beyond the usual risks involved with getting a tattoo.

So far, this is looking good for home tattooing.

Will the tattoo look or feel different?

This is subjective. I read reports of people feeling the tattoo was itchy while healing. If a relatively small amount of ashes are in the ink, the tattoo will look the same as if the ink were unadulterated. Also, the lower amounts cut down on the reactivity of some sensitive skin.


If you miss can’t bear to be apart from Fluffy or Rachel or whomever you love, consider putting them inside you for life!


I think this is a DIY friendly. What do you think? Any experience with this? Please comment/share on our Instagram/Facebook post here.

Poke Safely out there folks.


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