There have been quite a few requests from others to see the items I use to create my bentos, Mr. Blog! So I think we should give the public what they are asking for since I don't get this much attention often~
First of all, you don't NEED these snazzy and super cute utensils to bento. All you have to do is be creative! But they really do help, especially if you want to do kyarabento! Kyarabento is the super cute ones with little characters, hence the word kyara/キャラ, as the prefix in this situation. I started off doing much of my work with a tiny pair of scissors and tooth picks for my details. What I would suggest for a bento start-up/budget kit would be as follows;
My Cute Food & Bento folder on Pinterest is by far the largest one I have and this is for a reason. Inspiration and ideas! I hoard those images like a mad woman obsessed with cutesy edible things. Wait, I am a mad woman. And I am hoarding. Anyways! It may seem difficult at first, Mr. Blog, to come up with your own ideas but emulating those other designs actually got my creative juices flowing in the bento area. As I figured things out I began branching out on ideas and alternate methods, making the entire process much more entertaining and way less tedious.
I'm not going to get much deeper into bento itself as the internet has a pretty wide list of information to glean on the topic. Instead I am now going to show you my current vast cabinet of bento making cutes.
Behold~ My stash!
Sandwich cutters always save time and make things cute/interesting fast~
They are pretty easy to find at Walmart, where all these came from, and a priced around 3 USD for each one. The only exception in my photo is the far left one. That one cuts and seals the contents inside the bread and was about 5 USD.
Cookie cutters are a nice way to add shapes and variety quickly without having to hand craft every piece. I use them for everything from veggies to actual cookies.
Egg molds are a pretty common bento item. I bought these at the local asian food market. They are pretty simple to use and I have found other items besides eggs to smoosh into them with similar results! Some of these are rice, chicken or tuna salad, and sweet potato chunks.
These are molds specifically designed for rice smooshing, also known as onigri. I use them alternatively as cookie cutters from time to time as well.
To the left is an actual nori/seaweed cutter. This is actually designed for the crafting of bento and can be on the pricey side even when purchasing online. I feel that it was well worth the effort though since I do not have to cut out faces all the time anymore with the tiny scissors. To the right is just your regular everyday cheap paper punch. They work just as well. I keep my "bento paper punches" separate from any actual paper crafting though for obvious reasons. They nori punch was around 20 USD and the paper punch was 1 USD. Utilize the paper punches if you can find cute ones!
Now, Mr. Blog. This is a rather sophisticated bento tool here. This is the Cute Z Cute! And I LOVE it. I use it for many, many things. Toast, sandwiches, eggs, cheese, cookies, rice, the list goes on for miles. I even use the facial features as tiny punches for circles and lines as free form designs. This bad boy was 20 USD but I haven't regretted the purchase yet~
Above from left to right is; 1. microwave donut mold 2. red cosmetic travel containers 3.tiny drawing condament bottle 4. Mio bottles (emptied) and 5. metal cookie cutters
The donut mold was ordered from J-List (I actually linked J Box here because that is the all ages version of the website. J-List is the same site with an "adult" section included) and just a cute little whim that I got when ordering some designer food picks and baran wrappers for my stash. I'm pretty pleased with it as it is designed to go into the microwave! It came with a (japanese) recipe to use for the batter but I usually make a 3-2-1 cake mix and that works out just fine.
The travel cosmetic containers and the Mio bottles are for mostly sauces and salad dressings. Mio caps snap on and off if you take the plastic wrap away.
My little mustard bottle has a tiny opening so it makes for a great tool to draw with on foods. I usually fill it with barbecue sauce since that stands out the best on most foods and I do not care much for just plain ketchup.
The metal cutters are a nice alternate to the little plastic ones since I can cut through raw veggies with these better. You know what that means? Cute cucumber salads~
This strange looking critter above me is apparently a pie mold. I found it at the thrift store for .97 cents and was mostly enamored that it was star shaped. I love star shapes best! I had to use my Google-fu to figure it out and I haven't officially used it to make pocket pies as of yet. The side is used to cut the proper sized shape to insert into the press and the tiny star on the side is to allow for an air vent in the crust. I CANNOT WAIT TO USE THIS!!!
So, as you can see, my collection is becoming greater and greater as I piddle around and find nifty things. This is not all my items, I have so many I split everything up into different posts to occur in the future. Otherwise this post would be massive and I would surely drag it out like a rambling moron. I hope you enjoyed digging in my cabinets, Mr. Blog. Would you be interested in seeing how I use these things? Would tutorials be something for me to work on? Let me know! I always have wanted to try my hand at some instructional blogging.