Welcome to the underground arts movement, bringing your story to your people when they need it most.
What’s your funeral going to be like? Will IT be anywhere near as interesting as you are?
We create beautiful hand painted caskets, coffins and urns to honor and love the people in your lives.
Who Are We?
My name is Paula Clayton, I am an artist, and the owner of Dead Gorgeous Box here in Chicago, Illinois.
We believe no-one else gets the last call on your story.
No-one gets to tidy you up at the end there and make sure you’re finally acceptable to their world view.
You get to shine: you’re a beacon, an inspiration to those you leave behind.
Your story hasn’t stopped, you can still inspire a glint of rebellion, and bring the spark of subversity to the hearts around you.
You are not a thing, an object to be disposed of.
You are not irrelevant or inconsequential –– your story brings smiles to our souls and wealth to our lives.
Shout out your worth, have faith in what you have to say because you are woven into the lives of many, and touch more hearts than you realize.
If it can take paint, it can take art. At DGB, we transform functional boxes into pieces of art for you and the people you love and cherish.
I have over two decades of experience collaborating with clients and other artists in creating a feeling of love, joy, and connection with art.
A bit of paint and some conversation-- we make a plan together to sort out what’s best for you.
We can customize your special wood box to your personal taste. Yes, you are part of the process.
If you’re short on time, though, we have eight artistic designs available now, limited edition, hand-painted options in stock.
Where Are We?
We're on the NW side of Chicago, and happy to deliver your casket to you at no extra charge if you are in the Chicago area. Call us for details. You'll need two lifting-persons on delivery day.
What We Do...
Our caskets, coffins, and urns are all made by wood-loving people, who care for the world we are part of.
Our caskets are handcrafted in Wisconsin by local craftsmen and women. Our urns are made by a wooden product manufacturer in Idaho.
Both are family businesses using sustainably sourced local timber and no chemical treatments. These people luuuurv wood, and work to be as sustainable as possible for their business and their families.
At DGB, we know both our clients and staff appreciate eco-safe environments and products. All boxes (caskets, coffins, and urns) are made by people who are real people, creative wood loving types who also care for the world we are part of. They too are artists.
The paints we use are water or alcohol-based, with no or low VOCs. We work with this stuff. We don’t like the nasties either.
We do use acrylics, though - which does mean resins and plastic. Usually fairly minimal… though depending on the style and look you want, when we are in the midst of full-on, intense creativity and working single-mindedly with sparkling bling or grungy, earthy, crusty goop, that’s more. We do love the extra stuff. The shiny colors, sparkles. The grunge, faux rust, and texture.
Our eco-est option is the one that looks like wood burning. It’s actually beer and pigment, sealed with shellac (beetle juice), so no plastics involved. Also, we can customize with this method-- using earth tones and muted colors. (see the eco casket)
And, finally, there are some metal bits. Small. Untreated where possible and kept to a minimum (nails, hinges, latches). These bits will decay at about the same rate as the wood.
It’s up to you, your comfort level, and your standards. You do what sits best with you.
We have our window-seat base design casket and live-edge urn 'blanks' available to get started as soon as you give the word.
We chose the window-seat option as an excellent paintable option to both make use of, and hide, your casket until final use. All-up, it will take about a month to go from "Go" to your doorstep.
Design time: do you know exactly what you want? Great! Let's move on! ... or, not quite? No problem, we can help.
Painting time: 1 - 2 weeks depending on your design.
Just sitting there. You're kidding, right? Nope... it needs a good 7 days after the last clear coat to sit and the paint to cure. Have you ever put a vase down on a windowsill that was just painted yesterday? Then picked it up in a week and it's left an indent, or worse, ripped the paint off? Eek. That. That's why it gets to sit around for a week.
Shipping: allow 10 days.
Arrival! Congratulations - you've joined the Underground Arts Movement!
You're absolutely NOT limited to the window-seat design, though.
We can special order fancier caskets and coffins, no problem. Different styles like the traditional curved lid casket look very stately and impressive, but you can’t sit on them. And shipping costs change some.
You might want a coffin. We do a nice toe-pincher, sturdy and simple. Flat surfaces very paintable. You can sit on that. But it definitely looks like a coffin, no 2 ways about it.
Prices are dependent on the materials needed as well as how individualized the design is.
Our standard caskets run from $5,000 thru $8,000 and are suitable for traditional burial, natural burial, or cremation.
Our standard urns run from $520 thru $2530. Also suitable for traditional internment or natural burial.
Commissions start at $6500 for a basic window-seat casket design. Add $1500 to upgrade to a fancier build of casket or a coffin.
feel free to contact us on any issue like:
“I like the idea of a unique, individualized casket, but what does that mean?”
“I want a casket that’s painted like a landscape of Mars. Can you do that?”
“I’ve already picked out and paid for my casket. I like it, but can you paint it to be more creative and personal?”
“I’m a funeral director, and your idea is genius! How can we work together?”
Give us a yell. We can work with you and get you what you want. That’s the whole point of our business. You should go out in a style that suits you. We can throw around ideas together and use what works best for your needs.