GET THE TOOLS
As for tools I use, these are some of the tools and resources that I personally own and highly recommend. I’m a big believer that having multiple containers and rotating often makes them all last a long time.
It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by all the merchandise out there, and to either overspend or be turned off to bento altogether. A lot of these products I’ve amassed slowly, over time through discounts or reviews for the vendors. I also don’t own a lot of bento accessories since I know I’m not organized enough to keep track of them, but also because they really aren’t necessary. Really. Ways you can cut corners are:
- Use standard toothpicks. You can even dress up standard toothpicks with stickers for fun factor.
- Take good care of your containers. Spring for one or two good-quality, stainless steel containers; they’ll last you much longer than a series of plastic ones. The Easylunchboxes are one of very few plastic items I highly recommend because of their quality.
- Stalk discount sites like Zulily that carry major brands at great discounts. Here’s an example of things you might find on Zulily on any given day.
- Buy items on clearance. Seasonal cookie cutters, cake pop molds that double as smoothie or hard-boiled egg molds, and silicone ice cube trays are all great tools for bento and food art.
- Think outside the box. A heart-shaped cookie cutter on its side can be a bird. Upside down, it can be the face of a dog. A tulip shape upside down becomes a ghost. You get the idea; make the most of what you already have, and you’ll be surprised how much you can do freehand.
I’m part of a network of other bento bloggers who are extremely creative and clever. Some have a special focus, like gluten-free or allergy-free foods. See the main page here, and the sidebar lists all the individual blogs you can visit. Mine is still in the process of being listed. I think my bra needs to get frozen first or something.