Undertakers preserve tattoos of dead loved ones in skin-crawling new trend

A pair of undertakers in the US are offering bereaved families a unique way to remember dead loved ones — by preserving their tattooed skin.

Michael and Kyle Sherwood, from Northfield, Ohio, say the inked-flesh can be framed and displayed to keep alive the memory of those who have passed away.

Beginning a four-month process, the Sherwoods start by cutting the tattoo out of the body at the funeral home within three days of the person dying.

This can be done before or after the embalming process has taken place.

Once the skin has been removed, it is treated “with the same dignity and respect as with any funeral preparation process,” Kyle said.

To finish, the piece of preserved art is framed and can then be hung on a wall for display.

Funeral directors Michael and Kyle developed the idea after a friend requested that they preserve his father’s tattoo as a memento.

Kyle explained to 9News: "One of my dad's friends told him he would like his tattoo preserved.

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“Being the guys our friends come to with death-related questions, we kind of laughed about it at first.”

The friend, however, was serious, and it got the father and son duo thinking that they might be on to something.

Kyle continued: "With the art in tattoos and how much they mean to people, why not keep them after they die?"

“People put ashes in urns on mantles and visit stones with their loved one's names on them. Why not keep their tattoos as a memorial?”

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“Save My Ink Forever” was born a short time later. Its Facebook page has over 15,000 fans and boasts a host of rave reviews.

The practice has caused a bit of stir in the local community, with conservatives comparing the Sheerwoods to notorious serial killer Ed Gein who was renowned for digging up corpses and making trophies out of them.

Kyle said he and his father aren’t bothered about the backlash, adding that their main concern was providing a service to bereaved relatives.

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He concluded: It's the family we care about — who am I to say how they should remember their loved one?

“Most super conservative people disagree with tattoos in general and have no idea what they mean to people.”

According to the company’s website, the service is now available in the UK.

Save My Ink Forever will only preserve tattoos that have been done professionally.

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