Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bento Fish Jewelry

Allow me to introduce my salty new necklace and earrings.

Made from soy sauce fish!  Have you seen these things?  Inexpensive, adorable tiny bottles.  Most often used for bento box lunches.  Are they not the niftiest?

I bought mine at Seattle's famous Uwajimaya store.  You can find soy sauce fish at specialty food stores, Japanese gift shops or online.  I am quite giddy over these briny gems.

The secret of the blue earrings is madly fun.  With the cap removed, pinch a fish between thumb and forefinger, then dip the opening in paint.  Release the pressure and suck up about a quarter of a fish's worth of color.  Squoosh the paint around to cover the inside completely, and let it dry.

Now the color is sealed inside!  Snip off the neck like so:

The color is up to you.  Any paint should work - I'm agog to experiment some more.  I really want try it with antique gold enamel, glitter paint and, ooh, neon coral!

Converting them into jewelry is easy peasy.  The plastic is so soft, a thumbtack is enough to poke any holes you need.  I made simple wire loops to add pearl 'bubbles,' and attached them to fishhook earwires.

The clear pendant was even simpler.  I poked sideways holes on either side of the mouth, then inserted a big jump ring as a bail to attach the necklace.

Since these fish weigh nothing, I added a heavy crystal bead and some glass pearls to the fishtail for ballast.  I found the prettiest fish clasp to finish it off.

You know you need this cuteness in your life.  So find a Japanese gift shop - seize the carp - and make some jewelry! 


  1. Oh em gee I saw people using these in jewelry creations on Flickr but I love yours the best (of course) and what a neat trick to color the fish. I will have to check the Asian Grocer the next time I am in town for these. I love the clear fish pendant the most. Have I told you lately you are my fave blogger? Have a sweet day and thank you for sharing!!!! :)

  2. Okay, I hate fish, but these are stinkin cute.

  3. I do need some cuteness in my life! I love your bento fish jewelry and now I have to go find some of those cute little fish and then paint them. Thanks for the idea and the painting tute!

  4. OK, you MUST get your creations into these stores. You'd sell a gazillion dollars worth of earrings and they'd sell a gazillion dollars worth of bento boxes. What a partnership!

  5. These are brilliant Michelle! My girls use these little fishies in their lunchboxes sometimes when they have sushi - I'll have to show them this - they will LOVE it!!

  6. Such a cute idea with the soy sauce containers!

  7. Seems fishy to me. I've never seen these fishies. Love the idea of painting them from the Inside!!

  8. Mich, you are the bomb! I even live near a Uwajimaya (in Portland). I will be there tomorrow, maybe with bells on, to buy me some lucky fish. I'm sure they're lucky. Thanks, Kate

  9. ARE YOU KIDDING ME????? Every time I stop by here, I'm all: "That Michelle is a dang genius!" I had no idea those little fish even existed, but like Kate, I live near Portland's Uwajimaya, so I will soon be a proud owner. Your paint trick is insanely wonderful.