10 Creative Memory Jar Ideas for the Ultimate Tribute

From rainbow memory jars to virtual tributes, there are lots of creative ways to honor your loved one.

Published August 8, 2023
jar with notes

One of the most touching tributes you can create for your loved one is a memory jar. It's a simple project, and it becomes a lasting way to remember someone you love. There are lots of ways to make your memorial jar unique and special too.

How to Make a DIY Memory Jar

It's super easy to make a memory jar for a celebration of life, funeral, or other event to remember a loved one. Here's how to do it.

  1. Get a clear jar in any size you like (bigger jars hold more memories, but smaller ones look more full if you don't plan to put a lot of memories in).
  2. Cut small slips of paper or card stock.
  3. Have a pen or pencil handy so people can record their memories.
  4. Write memories of your loved one on the slips of paper and put them in the jar.
Quick Tip

If you're making a memory jar at a service, include a sign for people explaining what you want them to do. This can help everything go smoothly. You can even set out an example so people get inspired.

Creative Ideas for Memory Jars

memory jar decorated with heart

While the basic process of making a DIY memory jar is really simple, there are lots of ways to personalize your jar or the memories it contains. Whether you're making the jar for a memorial service or doing it to remember a loved one in a different situation, try one of these creative takes on it.

1. Photo Memory Jar

Print up photographs of the loved one and ask people to write memories on the back of the pictures (or write your own). The memories can go with the pictures or just be anything that was special about the person.

2. Memory Jar Guest Book

Instead of a guest book at the funeral of memorial service, use a jar for guests to record their favorite memories of the deceased. They can include their names if they wish. This can be a wonderful gift to the family.

3. Memory Jar With Prompts

Instead of blank slips of paper, use prompts to help people record their memories. Print a prompt on each slip and leave them next to the jar with a pen. Here are some great example memory jar prompts you can use:

  • One of the funniest memories I have about [Name] is....
  • [Name] helped support me when I needed them. One time....
  • I loved it when [Name]....
  • My earliest memory of [Name] is....
  • On the day we met, my first impression of [Name] was....
  • The most important lesson I learned from [Name] was....
  • I will think of [Name] every time I see....

4. Holiday Memory Jar

The first major holiday after your loved one passes away can be incredibly challenging, but a memory jar can help. Decorate the jar with holiday greenery or ribbons and write holiday-related memories on the papers. Next year, you can read through them.

5. First Year Memory Collection

paper notes in a jar

The first year without someone you love can be so hard, but you can use a memory jar to keep them close in your heart. Keep the jar on a shelf in your home and write a memory each time it comes to you. It might be every day or only once in a while. Saving the memories this way can feel like a ritual that helps you cope with your grief.

6. Love Memories in a Jar

Instead of standard slips of paper, cut heart shapes for the memories. Then have people write something they loved about the person on each heart. The jar will be full of these thoughts and memories of love, and it will be a comfort later when you read the slips.

7. Decorated Memory Jar

painting a jar

You don't have to go with a standard clear jar for this tribute. You can customize your own with some great decorations that make it super personal or artistic. Try these ideas:

  • Tie the person's favorite flowers to the jar.
  • Decoupage the jar with photos of the person you're honoring.
  • Stencil or paint the jar with your loved one's name.
  • Use a Mason jar and paint the inside with your loved one's favorite color.
  • Add a ribbon or string and tie on a tag with the person's name.
  • Glue buttons or old jewelry to the jar to give it beautiful artistic flair.

8. Jar of Virtual Memories

If you are holding a memorial service virtually, consider making a virtual memory jar. People can email memories to you, and you can write them down on slips of paper for the jar. Or you can make the entire jar virtual in the form of an online memorial.

9. Pre-Planned Memory Jar by the Person

If someone is terminally ill or getting older, they can create an especially powerful moment for their memorial by making their own memory jar. Include everything really important -- all the best moments in your life. You can also include memories about the people you love. This is a wonderful gift to give to loved ones.

10. Rainbow of Memories in a Jar

rainbow memory jar

Instead of using white slips of paper for the memories, cut pieces of card stock in all the colors of the rainbow. This can be a wonderful and playful variation on the standard jar -- perfect for someone who enjoyed whimsy.

Quick Tip

In addition to being part of a memorial service, a memory jar makes a wonderful gift for someone who has lost a loved one. Get memories from everyone who knew the person and give the jar as a gift for a special holiday.

Share Memories With Love

Memorial jars are a great way to come together as a family or community and honor someone who has passed away. No matter how you choose to make the jar, it's the memories that count. As long as you're sharing them with love, you're doing it right.

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10 Creative Memory Jar Ideas for the Ultimate Tribute