Quick tip: Easy cute bento components with stickers


As I’ve stated here many times, I love looking at charaben/kyaraben (cute bento) masterpieces, but I can’t see myself devoting that much time and effort. I’m also a bit nervous about handling food that goes into a bento box too much - and the less experienced one is, the more fiddling around is needed.

I ran across this method of adding color and cuteness to bentos while perusing Amazon Japan (as I do regularly). It’s so easy and obvious that i was a slap-my-head “why didn’t I think of that!” kind of moment. The book in question is called ラップdeおむすびおべんとう (rappu de omusubi obento: Obento omusubi (onigiri) with plastic wrap), and it basically introduces the concept of making onigiri wrapped in plastic wrap (Saran wrap), and using stickers to decorate them on the outside. I haven’t actually bought the book yet, but the idea itself is such an obvious and easy way to decorate any bento or lunch box component.

I often read on Japanese charaben/kyaraben blogs that the main reason why they take so much time to create cute bento is to encourage their kids to eat. Well, what can be more fun than opening up your lunch and finding a brownie with googly eyes on it, or a smily-face sandwich? And even a steamed carrot may be more appetizing with a smiley face on it.

In the photo above, I’ve put sticker faces on a small sandwich, a brown rice onigiri, a carrot and a brownie. It took me about 5 minutes to do all four. Anything that you might wrap in plastic wrap can be decorated with stickers. The easiest way to make your own stickers is to use printer-label sheets, draw or print on your designs, and cut them out (a paper punch is handy for circles). Or maybe your kids can make their own, for you to stick on their lunches. You don’t even have to do faces - if your kids are anything like my niece and nephew, stickers probably breed around them, reproducing themselves like bunnies. Take a few of your kid’s favorites and stick them on!

Some tips and caveats:

  • The plastic wrap on the surface you want to decorate should be as smooth as possible. Press them on securely so that they won’t come off and possibly get lost in any surrounding food.
  • Make sure that the stickers are on the outside of the plastic, and on the top surface, not touching any food directly.
  • Take extra care that your bento is totally cooled down before packing it with stickerized components, otherwise the ink may run and other unpleasant things.

Have fun!

(Note: The lighting in the photo makes it look as though the beasties are looking towards an eerie light from a UFO or something that is drawing them in. I was going to try to fix it but I left it as is…)

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What a cute and simple idea!

What a cute and simple idea! I may have to do this because it’s so easy and requires nothing too difficult! It’s a good way to ease yourself into bentoing.


i would have NEVER thought of that! that is an awesome idea. thank you so much for the tip.

whoa! I loooooove this idea!

whoa! I loooooove this idea! ^___^


How incredibly cute! And its something I can do. (Even to a regular American boxed lunch.) Thanks for sharing!

great idea. thanks for

great idea. thanks for sharing! and i do agree that the food is gravitating to a beckoning alien light. hahahaha…

Congratulations! another

Congratulations! another great idea!


Seems like the japs just love putting smiley faces on everything. (>.<)

don’t use jap pls. some of

don’t use jap pls. some of us think it’s racist.


Extremely sorry if anyone is offended by that. >.< I didn’t think otherwise while abbreviating.

What a great idea! Thanks

What a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

Been visiting your site

Been visiting your site every day for a month now. I love all your bento ideas. I’m vegetarian and greatly appreciate the vegetarian/vegan recipes.

I think this is a great idea! BUT I don’t know… they are too cute, I don’t want to eat them. I’d feel bad.. haha.

Now that I can do! Great

Now that I can do! Great idea.

Quick question…I’m new to bento. So far the only thing bento-ish that I’ve done for my kids is CA rolls and the usual (and increasingly boring) sandwiches along with the assorted vegies, etc. A lot of your recipes sound great if heated. Is bento intended to be eaten cold?


Unless it’s specifically

Unless it’s specifically stated otherwise, all the bentos here are meant to be eaten at room temperature - and taste good!

Re: Quick tip: Easy cute bento components with stickers

Cute, but it seems like a waste of plastic wrap...

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