Decorate bentos with your own stickers
As I've stated here on these pages several times, while I greatly admire the artistry and skill of kyaraben/charaben artists, I rarely have the time to do such cute things. Not that I don't like to get artsy and crafty - I do. But there are much easier ways of doing that. Why bother with cute touches to your bentos? Why, to put a smile on someone's face of course, including your own.
I've talked about using simple geometric shape stickers to make 'faces' on your bento or lunchbox items before. This takes sticker usage a bit further.
I'm a bit obsessed with cute onigiri faces at the moment (if it weren't obvious from my last couple of posts). I've been making a variety of them for all kinds of moods. I took six of the onigiri face designs (see some of more at the top of this article) and ordered a couple of sticker books from Moo.com. I could have included more designs - they allow up to 90, so you could have 90 different stickers.
The stickers are made of glossy vinyl, so they don't run or anything. Still, I'm not sure if they are totally safe if they are in direct contact with food, so I generally use them on on the outside of plastic wrap and things. Here is the 'sad face' onigiri in use to keep on a lovey-dovey Post-It note (hey, I'm aiming for the Expensive Box Of Chocolates here):
Here I use a couple of stickers back to back on the end of a toothpick to make a customized pick. Hint: the stickers stay on a lot better if you can flatten the round toothpick a bit, with a hammer or something.
So if you're like me, and want to add some fun and smiles to a bento recipient but don't have the time or patience for charaben, consider making your own stickers! Of course, the stickers can be used for non-bento applications too.