So, I’ve wanted to do this project for a long time now. I’m obsessed with all things miniature and cute and, let’s face it, when it comes to cute – the Japanese do it best. Read on to find out the details of our kawaii-inspired bento party!
1. Find a food cutter!
Admittedly, I’m a little intimidated by some of the detailed and intricate food sculpting in traditional bento boxes. The good news is, you don’t have to be quite so ambitious! Simply find a bento food cutter that you like, and instead of rice and seaweed (which can be tricky to sculpt) use it on white bread sandwiches filled with Nutella (for color contrast). The cutters are surprisingly easy to use on the sliced bread and work out perfectly! I found a cute bear face at Daiso, but you can also scour Amazon for some gems (e.g, how cute is this panda cutter!?).
2. Fill your bento box with goodies!
Rather than using actual bento boxes, I’ve opted to use colorful kids divided plates. These were reasonably priced ($3.50 each) and come in slew of pretty colors.
You can put whatever you want in your bento! We’ve included the bear sandwiches, tiny egg cookie snacks, Japanese (and other) candy and also cute Japanese erasers as party favors. Daiso, one of my absolute favorite stores, has all manner of cute and colorful treasures for only $1.50 each. They are a GREAT source for kids party favors and colorful Japanese candy. They also have food cutters, food picks and all manner of colorful bento accessories. It’s worth a good explore!
Typically, bento boxes will include mini plastic grass as a garnish. At Daiso they come in cute colors like pink, yellow and mint! I’ve used these as name cards for each setting by adding some tape and writing names in marker.
3. Add more cuteness!
“Kawaii”, or ‘cuteness’ is a well-established part of pop culture in Japan. Cute animal characters are the prevailing motif – think Sanrio’s iconic “Hello Kitty”. Apart from the bear sandwich, we transformed colored paper cups and mini balloons into “kawaii” style animal characters using simple paper cutouts. Cho Kawaii!
Crafting by Justine Pon