Last Goodbye - Making a Pet Memorial




Introduction: Last Goodbye - Making a Pet Memorial

About: Mostly harmless

The day you know will come - but you can't prepare for it in any matter.

After hopefully many years you have to say goodbye to your beloved pet, family member, best friend :(

For me it is unbelievable sad and I cannot write this unaffected.

In the last 2 years I had to take farewell to my dog "Saruman" - 12,5 years my best companion

and around new year, to the queen of this house "Lillan" - she ruled us 13 years, but her age was unknown, at least 15.

If you're one of these persons like " come on, it's just a pet" - this instructable isn't for you.

I truly loved them and had a hard time when they were gone.


For me it is important to have a spot in my garden, where I can put my best friends to a respectful rest.

this instructable is about making a pet grave into a memorial.

I guess Saruman and Lillan did not belong to any human religion - so this memorials are made with materials from their surroundning and their personal preferences :)

I hope you will find this useful one day and can see it as a form of your grief work - it helped me a lot.

PS: I would love to see something similar on my grave, made by someone who loved me - instead of a fancy, bought gravestone...

Step 1: Materials

all materials I used are degradable:

for the basket:

some unstained wooden board - pallet wood works fine


willow rods ( fresh or dried and soaked )

filling of the basket:



pine cones

whatever you find in your surrounding, or things you collect where you used to walk with your pet...

Tools needed:


cordless drill with a 10mm (0,4") wood drill bit

a circular object with desired diameter of the basket, as template - I used a plastic lid with 36cm (14")




Step 2: The Wooden Base

cut the boards slightly longer than the diameter of the planned basket

f.ex.: the plastic lid i used as template was 36cm (14"), so I cut the boards about 44cm (17")

continue until you have enough boards to cover the template

cut 2 more pieces and lay them across the previously cut boards

use them to join the boards with nails.

The pictures will help you along if you're having trouble with the description.

Step 3: Planning the Basket

with the wooden base done,

trace your template on it with a pencil.

Now divide the circle into 16 equal parts, and mark them -

I first drew two lines through the middle - one vertically and one horizontally - you'll end up with 4 equal parts,

divide each part in half - 8 parts, and one more time each part in half - 16 parts.

it is ok to eyeball the parts, this is not rocket sience.

Step 4: Drilling Holes

drill a 10mm (0,4") hole in every mark you previously made

Step 5: Harvesting Willow

For this project you don't need fresh cut willow rods, alternately buy dried rods and soak them at least 24 hours before use.

For harvesting:

Willow trees are many different species under the "salix" (latin ) family, they are pretty much all suitable for this project. - If you can bend it, it will do the trick!
finding willow here in Sweden is very easy, I don't know about other countries - you may have to ask around - you may buy it from a landscaping gardener. In some countries it's not allowed to harvest willow in early spring, because insects depend on the catkins in bloom, so be sure to check that before harvesting.

I harvested wild willow nearby my house.

you'll need at least 8 rods around 8mm (0,3") thick ( take some more, in case it breaks)

and a big bunch of longer, 3 to 4mm (0,12" to 0,15") thick rods

Step 6: Basket Base

I wanted the basket about 17cm high (6,7 ")

so I cut the 8 thicker rods in pieces with a length of 40cm (15,7")

carefully bend the pieces to a round shape and push them into two holes - like a small portal

If it breaks try another piece

continue until you have 8 "portals" in the same height.

Step 7: Weaving the Basket

take 3 or 4 thin rods at the time and weave them into the "portals" - under and over

- it's easier to weave with the thicker ends of the rods!

push the rows down from time to time.

continue until you have a height from about 13cm (5,11")

your basket is very sturdy by now and we're ready to continue.

Step 8: Prepare the Grave

due we had to bury Lillan during winter, the grave wasn't nice at all :(

remove the soil for about 5 cms (2") and rake it even with a shovel

place the basket directly onto the soil

cover the wooden base and fill the basket with 3cm soil

Step 9: Fill the Basket

I decided to cut a heart of the moss we removed when digging the grave.

I collected pine cones in our garden.

also Lillan enjoyed brown, dry leaves, so I gathered a bucket of that as well :)

Step 10: Lillans Basket

now I feel that the queen would be satisfied...

and so am I

RIP Lillan

Step 11: Sarumans Basket

the basket shown is by now almost 2 years old, but is still looking good.

I filled it with pine cones, that I collected in our garden and on spots that I visited during my long walks with him.

also I harvested a big bunch of white moss with soil - from a spot we visited only days before he was gone :(

some seashells from good memories...

RIP Saruman

Step 12: In Good Memories...

This was the hardest instructable i ever wrote, but I'm glad I did it - maybe it can help you someday.

to honor my furry friends - Saruman, Lillan and also Azrael, who disappeared...

~I hope you enjoyed your stay~
sincerely, Mimikry

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    1 year ago

    I'm so sorry for the loss of your beautiful fur babies, Saruman and Lillan. What a beautiful memorial. We just lost our Bentley on 6/19/21 and I'm trying to find things to make to memorialize him. He loved the backyard, which is where we helped him cross the rainbow bridge, so this would be a great idea. Thank you for sharing.


    2 years ago

    This is such a lovely project and I know how hard it is to lose a friend like this. We have a forest garden here in France with our poultry living freely and I have a lot of them but each and every one gets a floral offering when they go. You write at the beginning about someone making a memorial for you. Well some years ago my father-in-law died and we decided we wanted to make our own wreath - unfortunately I had to use a standard florists frame because of the amount of handling wreaths get but the rest of it was natural. My husband wanted something that reflected his Dad's interests - he loved working with wood and also he liked making 'country' wines. So I got elderberries and rose hips and the branches and leaves of as many of the woods he loved as possible and we thought it turned out really elegant and natural and we could talk and reflect on his life as we made it and that it meant a lot to us. My only regret was that the base was not beautifully natural like those for your lovely pets. I don't know what funerals are like in Sweden but in the UK it is like a conveyor belt/supermarket style - with little that is personal so making a wreath and having your own ceremony is so important and is also a celebration of the life of the person or pet. Thanks for sharing this very personal project. All the very best, Sue


    Reply 2 years ago

    hej Sue, a comment like yours means a lot!
    thank you! I agree many funerals are more about money, show and shine but not really personal - a DIY memorial or wreath is not about saving money, it's about grief and relieve. I like what you did for your father in law! - more worth then any bought flowers and it shows how precious the person was to you.
    - but of course, not everyone is crafty, and also a florist made wreath can be personal.

    Life is too short to last long!


    2 years ago

    i lost my two dogs snowy and pip this morning and done this for both.


    2 years ago

    These are so sweet and thoughtful! I lost my pup Roscoe (he was 13) a couple months ago - I know just how you feel. I might try something similar to remember him by. He loved being in the grass more than anything. :)

    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    2 years ago

    That's a very sweet and beautiful memorial.


    Reply 2 years ago

    thank you :)