Updated: Jul 20
Just like human beings, coffins come in all shapes and sizes.
In most cases, a coffin is present for a funeral service and becomes the focal point of the funeral ceremony. Therefore, it can say a lot about the person who is inside.
Did they always say, “Just send me out in a cardboard box”? Then a cardboard casket might be the perfect choice. Were they more traditional and expected a certain style? Did they have a love of woodworking or would have appreciated more of a hand-crafted looking coffin? What about a woven wicker casket, that is environmentally friendly and Fair Trade made? There is so much to think about.
At Picaluna we are fortunate to have the support of a number of excellent coffin and casket suppliers, who provide everything from hard wood, to MDF with a veneer, from woven caskets to cardboard caskets and coffins.
Firstly, do you know the difference between a Coffin and a Casket?
A Coffin – generally has six sides. It is wider at the shoulders and tapered at the feet. We see them made of cardboard, solid wood or MDF with a veneer.
A Casket – generally has four sides and is more of a rectangle shape. These can be woven, rounded on the corners, made of raw timber, solid timber, white cardboard (Daisy Box), raw cardboard too. So much to think about.
Coffin costs range from $135 for a simple cardboard Cremation coffin, through to thousands of dollars for metal coffins and caskets.
One of the most powerful tributes to a loved-one is when those close to them, gather together to decorate a coffin in their honour. Many families have said, that once they breakthrough the discomfort of approaching the coffin, they find the act of painting and decorating the coffin in preparation for the funeral, to be a very healing process.
Over the past five and a half years at Picaluna Funerals, our Funeral directors and celebrants have been privileged to watch families transform their grief through this final act of love at the end of life.
So, for a bit of funeral inspiration, let us share with you a few ideas that may assist you and your family at this challenging time. Whether it be at a Home vigil, or at the Funeral service as part of the ceremony, the act of community and family decorating the coffin can be such a healing process.
At Picaluna Funerals we love seeing the heart-felt, colourful, creative and memorable designs of a painted coffin. This can be a simple as using the foundation of a white veneer coffin and painting it a significant colour. Through to creating stencils and designs of colour-blocking. To paintings of special symbols or depictions of moments in a person’s life.
Usually the painting of a coffin takes time and preparation. Talk with your Picaluna Funeral Director about time frames and the best way of fitting in with your funeral date and giving enough time for priming, painting, drying, delivery and return.
A simple cardboard casket can be completely transformed with the addition of photos of favourite places and meaningful elements from a person’s life. Stickers can fully cover a coffin or create a collage. Think about the surface of the coffin or casket you are using and the choice of adhesive. This can be important, particularly if you have a foundation of a cardboard coffin, where it may not be ideal to use a water-based glue.
There is so much scope for colour and memorialisation with the use of photos and pictures.
The decoration of a coffin or casket often achieves its best result where there is a basic design mapped-out. Think about the coffin in the space it will stand for the funeral ceremony. Also keep in mind the different angles it will be seen from.
You may also like to consider incorporation some decoration of the coffin as a ritual within the funeral ceremony. Mourners may be invited forward to write a message on the coffin. Talk with your funeral director about the best kind of pens or markers to use on the surface of the coffin to achieve the best outcomes.
There are so many elements you can use in decoration. At Picaluna Funerals, one of our favourite additions to a coffin is a bit of sparkle or bling, particularly if that is something your loved-one was renowned for.
Use your imagination. Use your creativity. These are your personal moments of loving the person you have lost.
In New South Wales under the NSW Health Act a coffin is a requirement, except with special exemption for community or religious reasons. https://www1.health.nsw.gov.au/pds/ActivePDSDocuments/PD2013_048.pdf
Clause 63 of the Public Health Regulation 2012 provides that unless otherwise approved by the Director-General of NSW Ministry of Health the body of a deceased person must not be buried or cremated unless their body had been placed in a coffin and the lid of the coffin securely sealed.