So you’ve decided on a bento box and want to try your hand at those adorable lunches you see all over Pinterest. The next essential you’ll need? Bento tools. Some are lifesavers, while others are just icing on the cake and nice to have. Think of it this way: bento accessories are like the shoes of the bento world. You can stick with the functional or go for adorable statement pieces. And while having multiple styles isn’t necessary, the right ones pull everything together.
My personal collection is actually quite modest, which is proof that you can make good lunches without spending a lot on accessories. I do recommend at least one item from each category, however, so that you have a basic toolkit on hand. I’ve rounded up some of the most popular picks from my go-to sources, Amazon and allthingsforsale.com.
1. standard, $10.99/dozen
2. triangle, $8.09/dozen
3. flower-shaped, $9.99/dozen
4. square, $7.05/dozen
5. heart-shaped, $9.99/dozen
6. 3-piece fruit and veggie set, $4.99
7. squirrel and sheep set, $3.99
8. 4-piece animal set, $4.25
- Use them for anything you want to separate, especially wet or drippy food like cut fruit, chicken salad, etc.
- Size is everything. Make sure the height matches your box so that contents don’t spill out.
- Pack re-heatable food in these if your kid has access to a microwave.
- The basic circle shape is the most versatile, becoming squares or triangles depending on what’s pushed up next to them.
- Check Target’s dollar spot; these pop up there often, but are thinner than the name brands.
1. animals, $1.05/10
2. mustaches, $9.99/18
3. leaf shapes, $8.50/10 (check allthingsforsale to come back in stock at a cheaper price)
4. bamboo forks, $2.99/100
5. music notes, $3.50/16
6. eyeballs, $3.99/10
7. alphabet, $3.50/26
8. light sabers, $5.60/dozen
- Picks add quick and easy cuteness. For example, stick the eyeball picks into a sandwich or strawberry for instant characters without cutting or shaping anything.
- Three- or four-prong picks are easiest for toddlers and younger kids.
- Check Michael’s, JoAnn, Walmart or Target for cupcake picks on the cheap.
- Make your own with stickers and standard toothpicks.
- Use wooden skewers to make fruit or cheese kabobs; simply cut to fit the bento box.
- Hard-boiled eggs are a good protein source in a pinch.
- Extra-large eggs work best; peel while still piping hot and insert into molds, then place in an ice water bath for best results.
- Save money and buy #2, #3, and #5 as a 6-piece set on Amazon for $6.58.
Top row: angry birds, $4.25/4 | Lunch Punch puzzle set, $14.50/4
Middle row: CuteZCute animal faces set, $13.14 (see my review and sample lunches) | fondant alphabet and numbers, $15.23 | Charlie Brown, $7.49
Bottom row: camera, $12.99 | dinosaur, $5.98 | classic shape set, $7.13
- Cutters are great for sandwiches. Use soft bread: super grainy bread yields poor results. Microwave or flatten bread that’s lost its softness.
- Fruit, vegetables, and cheese are other great candidates.
- Two-piece cutters (like the Angry Birds set) leave fun details on the surface. Google “plunger cookie cutters” or “stamp cookie cutters”.
- Use large cutters for sandwiches or slices of cheese, and fondant ones for small details.
- Score seasonal sets on clearance at big-box stores.
- Etsy boasts tons of unique cutters thanks to artists with 3D printers. Some vendors even offer personalized options. Boetech, for example, will recreate your kid’s artwork or face! I can see it now: Mugshot Meals…
FINAL WORDS: A craft organizer is a great idea for stashing your tools. Staying organized will cut down on prep time and keep tabs on your inventory. Happy shopping!