crafts

“2.5D Mask” lets you spend the day as an anime character, frighten pets and small children

On a budget? Stuck for a Halloween outfit? How about turning yourself into a “2.5D” hero and scaring the life out of everyone you encounter with this series of free printable masks?

Join us after the jump to find out how you can become a beautiful, yet kind of creepy, manga character without spending a penny.

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Kit Kat’s papercraft train set is so cool we almost don’t need the chocolate it comes with

Living in Japan, we’ve been kind of spoiled by all the special Kit Kat flavors the country gets. We love a sweet snack as much as anyone, but when almost every region of Japan has its own version of the chocolate wafers, it takes something a little more unusual than matcha green tea Kit Kats to really grab our attention (not that those don’t taste delicious, of course).

So Nestlé Japan’s latest plan is to give us not just something to munch on, but a cool papercraft kit too, with this special Kit Kat bundle that also lets you build a model train.

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Sapporo police speechless after discovering one man’s creative use for a bomb: a door stopper

In this age of mass consumption where wasteful packaging is overused and people pour perfectly clean water over themselves for attention on the Internet, one of the best ways to counteract our increasingly wasteful society is to simply reuse items that would otherwise be headed for the dump.

But one wannabe environmentalist in Sapporo may have taken his pledge to save the earth a little bit too far when he “recycled” an old Japanese Imperial Army bomb into a rustic, and extremely dangerous, door stopper.

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Kamikiri, the amazing Japanese art of paper cutting mastered by Akira Nagaya【Photos】

Earlier this month, we talked about Japanese artist Akira Nagaya. An expert in kamikiri, the art of crafting intricate paper cutouts, Nagaya first caught our eye with his takes on classic anime icons such as Totoro, Son Goku, and Pikachu.

Japanese animation isn’t Nagaya’s only inspiration, as we can see in his other creations that capture the delicate beauty of nature and the changing of the seasons.

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Here’s how you can knit yourself a bowl of ramen【Video】

Ramen is easy enough to make with a package of Cup Noodles, but knitting a bowl of hot soup takes a lot more skill. A talented artist who goes by the name betibettin on YouTube has produced a video showing us just how he accomplished this feat. You’re especially going to want to see how he makes the noodles and soup broth!

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Artist creates awesome anime artwork by carefully cutting a single Post-it note 【Photos】

While origami is Japan’s best known paper craft, its less famous relative, kamikiri, has been around since the 19th century. In contrast to the intricate folding techniques of origami, kamikiri, literally “paper cutting,” involves creating an unbroken cutout from a sheet of paper.

Chiba-born artist Akira Nagaya is a kamikiri master, and many of his designs are inspired by centuries-old imagery such as the phoenix, fuujin wind spirits, or the Seven Gods of Fortune. Occasionally, though, Nagaya turns to more modern muses, as with these amazing kamikiri versions of some of anime’s biggest stars.

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Online shop will make cute, custom-crafted cat earrings from a photo of your pet

For serious cat lovers, it’s hard to be apart from their beloved animals for even a moment, but there are some places, like offices or restaurants, where you just can’t take your pet with you. If you’re looking for a way to always feel connected to your kitty, we suppose you could make a sweater out of its fallen hair, but before you grab those knitting needles, there’s an alternative that’s a little less labor-intensive (not to mention a bit less crazy).

All you need to do is snap a photo of your cat, and have it made into a pair of custom-crafted earrings from this Japanese online store.

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Amazing papercraft Totoro house has 1,800 roof tiles, immeasurable love for Ghibli

While the house is definitely a bit of a fixer-upper, I think most anime fans who’ve watched My Neighbor Totoro have occasional daydreams about living in the quiet, peaceful country house into which main characters Mei and Satsuki move during the movie. Of course most of us have school, work or family responsibilities that keep us from packing up our things and moving to the Japanese countryside, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could have your own little version of the Totoro house?

That’s apparently what one papercraft master thought, and after years of folding, he’s finished his remarkably accurate recreation of Studio Ghibli’s most iconic residence.

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Niconico Video user crafts miniature violin-playing Darth Vader out of paper just because he can

Fandom often inspires people to invest vast sums of money in the object of their obsession. Often when you visit a real enthusiast’s home, you’ll see so much merchandise that you start to wonder whether they also thought to invest in insurance to protect them if any of it was lost or stolen since the goods’ combined value can in some cases amount to thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars.

In many ways, the amount of merch a person owns can act as an indicator of how big a fan they are, but what’s even more impressive than dropping exorbitant amounts of cash on a hobby is investing time and energy. Take, for example, this Niconico Video user from Japan who, rather than simply visiting a store or online shop to purchase a swanky new Darth Vader figurine, decided to make one out of little more than a pile of craft paper, and the end result is simply stunning.

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Felt crafting gets bonus cute points with Natsume’s Book of Friends’ Nyanko-Sensei

If you’ve spent enough time loitering around Etsy or Pinterest, you might already know of the ludicrously adorable world of needle felting, and people’s propensities for adorable needle-felted animal crafts. (A cursory search on Etsy also turns up felt Pokémon and Ghibli critters.)

For those just plunging into the world of felt crafting, though, there are plenty of books and kits out there that can show you the way and provide you instructions. Including this one from MOE magazine and crafts author Susa Suna Tomoko (previous works include a book on felt dogs, cats, and woodland creatures).

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Now you too can imprison a wizard with real-life “Frozen” handcuffs

Frozen is really big in Japan – perhaps even more so than in the West. It’s big enough that not only are there multiple Japanese versions of the film’s biggest hit song number, “Let it Go” – to cover a variety of different regional dialects – but at least one obsessive Japanese fan went to huge lengths and poured a ton of money into recreating the special wizard handcuffs that film lead Elsa is briefly entrapped in during the movie.

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Bring the beach to your room this summer with these cute new “fan accessories”

We don’t know you guys, but we’re already starting to wish summer only lasted a week or so, and have started spending most of our waking hours in close proximity to our desk fans so as not to melt in the heat and humidity.

Thankfully, though, we now have something to entertain us while we sit with our faces inches from the fan trying to resist the idiotic compulsion to jam pencils in it. Now on sale in Japan, these “fan accessories” let you transform your household appliance into a relaxing beach scene, with miniature gulls, ships, shark, surfers and more that attach to your fan via lengths of coloured card, wafting along in the cool, life-restoring breeze it creates.

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Fan makes awesome Final Fantasy art with just a screen door, ink, and a toothpick

Back in the heyday of Nintendo’s NES, video game hardware wasn’t advanced enough to handle the kind of polygon-based visuals that are the industry standard today. Instead, artists had to bitmap their characters.

Bitmapping involves laying down squares of color, called pixels, to form an image. It’s essentially a digital mosaic, and with enough time and dedication, you could perfectly recreate the cast of your favorite 8-bit classic using a sheet of graph paper.

Or, as one retro fan in Japan recently did, a screen door.

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Takehiko Inoue helps make record-breaking sheet of Japanese Paper

Takehiko Inoue, the creator of manga such as Slam Dunk, Vagabond and Buzzer Beater, helped craft the world’s largest sheet of washi (Japanese paper) on May 23. Working with a team of 20 other people, he produced a sheet measuring 3.3 meters x 10.7 meters (or 10’10” x 35’1”) at the Ueyama Paper Mill in Echizen, a town in Fukui Prefecture known for its washi artisans. The sheet of paper was dubbed the Heisei Choujaku Daishi, or “Long Great Paper of Heisei” (the current Japanese era).

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Amazing shows of craftsmanship to make you feel woefully unaccomplished

It’s our opinion that everybody needs at least one good hobby that they can really devote themselves to. Being good at something other than sitting at a desk and banging out Excel spreadsheets will not only make you feel more whole as a person, it’s also pretty sexy when you can whip out a guitar and casually riff out “just something you thought up over the weekend.”

The sexy part doesn’t really apply to, say, basket weaving, but hey, if it fulfills you personally, have at it.

Of course, we wasted our innate writing talents on weird Asia news and useless listicles instead of polishing up our young adult vampire novel writing skills, so when we saw this huge collection of people who are really, really, really good at one particular craft, it sort of made us feel a deep existential sadness as we reflected on what we could have been doing if we’d just applied ourselves.

So, beware, unless you’ve already mastered an impressive hobby yourself, these amazing shows of craftmanship will probably make you feel like a horrible waste of flesh:

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Awesome origami artist recreates the creatures of Monster Hunter 【Videos】

Although it’s had only limited success internationally, in its home country of Japan, the video game series Monster Hunter is a massive hit. New titles have been released for the series at a pace of more than one a year, and the franchise can count 17 titles since it began in 2004.

Monster Hunter is popular enough that you could argue that it’s become one of Japan’s national pastimes, so maybe it was only a matter of time before someone thought to combine it with another of the country’s favorite cultural activities, the paper-folding art of origami.

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Beautiful Disney princess greeting cards fit for any regal occasion

Japan still hasn’t gone all-in on the concept of digital communications, and in many situations there’s still a lot of value attached to physical, paper documents. Sometimes this can be puzzling, like the time I applied for a job at a prestigious technological institute which required a hard copy of my resume, as email applications weren’t acceptable.

For personal relationships, though, it’s nice to see so many people in Japan still willing to put pen to paper in order to write a heartfelt message to a friend or loved one. Many even take great care in selecting the perfect stationery, and those looking to add a touch of classic femininity to their correspondence will be hard-pressed to find a better choice than these elegant Disney princess greeting cards.

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Fan sews amazing felt versions of Totoro, Sailor Moon, Final Fantasy Black Mage and more

As someone who learned to drive a car before he could ride a bike, there are a couple of things that slipped through the cracks on my path of acquiring basic life skills. Sewing, for example, is still an arcane art to me. After all, why go to the hassle of making my own clothes, when there are plenty of stores perfectly willing to take my money in exchange for a new shirt or pair of jeans?

But maybe I’m missing the point. After all, knowing how to sew doesn’t just mean you can design your own wardrobe, it also means you can create awesome anime and video game figures made entirely of felt.

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Impress house guests with toilet paper origami!

Hotel and restaurant bathrooms have really done a number on us by introducing a new level of hospitality through toilet paper etiquette. When the next sheet of paper on the roll is folded into a neat triangular point, we’re made to feel that extra bit special, safe in the knowledge that the area has recently been attended to, as if the place was just done up in anticipation of our arrival.

One lady in the United States has taken the triangular toilet paper fold to a whole new level, incorporating traditional Japanese origami concepts to produce a book of cute, funny and surprisingly beautiful designs to dress up the toilet roll in your bathroom. From swans to candles, who knew toilet paper could be so adorable?

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How to peel an orange: Is mikan art the new origami?

When it comes to Japanese handicrafts, almost everyone has heard about the amazing shapes achievable with origami. But how many people are familiar with Japanese orange peel art?

In the cold winter months, it’s an unspoken tradition for Japanese people to curl up under a kotatsu (heated table with a blanket thrown over it) and eat mikan (Mandarin oranges). However, many people have found that just eating these winter treats is not enough to satisfy them, and cutting away the peel into complex shapes has become a common art form. You’ll be amazed by the creatures that can come to life from a single orange peel!

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