Picrew.me Kimono Avatar Creators

If you’ve spent any time on any large social media platform lately, odds are you’ve seen avatars made using the Picrew.me site. It’s an enormous repository of avatar creators that started in Japan but has since spread worldwide. No matter what kind of avatar you want to create, you can find something for it.

However, it is quite large and a bit overwhelming to browse, especially since the interface and a lot of the creators are all in Japanese. Fear not though, I’ve gone through and found all of the best kimono-themed ones for you to play with, and a few little extras at the bottom!

How to use Picrew.me

If you’re new to Picrew and feeling overwhelmed by all the Japanese text and buttons, don’t fret! The interface is very straightforward, and here’s a little mini-tutorial that will hopefully help you out.

  • 1. Confirm/begin your avatar
  • 2. Scroll through here to see all the options to customise
  • 3. Choose item colour (if applicable – this one isn’t always available)
  • 4. Choose item style
  • 5. Save/complete your avatar
  • 6. Randomise – The first pink button randomises all features, the second pink button randomises the feature you’ve currently selected. The grey button at the bottom cancels all randomisation, the yellow button at the top confirms them.

For organisational purposes, I’ve separated these into female avatars, male avatars, and other things. I realise this gendering isn’t ideal, but the list got overwhelming without it. However, I do encourage you to use whichever avatar creator you like best!

Female Avatars


https://picrew.me/image_maker/15599
This is the most popular one, and for good reason. There's a huge number of customisation options for every single layer. You can change the girl's appearance colours and patterns, add ruffles and textures, insert accesories, you name it. I could easily spend hours playing with this one. Sadly, only "natural" hair colours here, plus one shade of pinkish strawberry-blonde, but there's so many other options that it doesn't bother me too much.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/84345/
This little cutie may not have many character customisations (two skin tones, two hair colours, a couple of eye styles) but the awesome number of kimono and hakama combinations you can do makes her a worthwhile addition to this list. From super traditional to modern and sexy, you can layer different tops, bottoms, and accessories to get a ton of unique styles.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/9889
This particular doll isn't kimono-specific, but there are enough options for me to include her. There's a ton of customisation for the face and hair, multiple kimono you can change the colours of, different hand poses, and other assorted cuteness!
https://picrew.me/image_maker/46794/
A really elegant manga-style avatar. In true manga style there's no colour to this one, only shades of grey, but plenty of face, hair, and kimono options that more than make up for the monochrome aspect. This one is listed as a "monster" maker and so has horns, fangs, etc, but as you can see you can also totally make a human girl.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/35860
Create your own oiran avatar! Sexy and elegant, this one's got a few kimono options, both in a more normal high-collar style and the low, draped collar of the oiran showed here. Creating a unique hairstyle might be the most appealing part of this one.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/16001/
A very simple but very charming little avatar that includes a variety of obi options and haori. The base offers a fair bit of customisation, which is nice. The kimono options aren't super varied, but adding in a haori gives you more opportunities for coordination.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/15557
This Taisho-inspired beauty might be one of my favourites. I love this style of artwork, and the kimono options are fantastic for a vintage fan. Pretty much everything you can come up with using this generator ends up looking like a lovely 1920s advertising poster!
https://picrew.me/image_maker/29910
Here's another one that offers some very Taisho-feeling kimono, but with a more modern art style. The really neat thing about this particular avatar creator is that it uses photos of actual textiles to make the kimono, obi, and haori. It's a really cool feature.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/18630/
This one's a little simpler than some of the previous ones, but super cute. There are options for haneri, kimono, and a few different types of coats.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/20990/
Have you ever wanted to experiment with the many layers of juunihitoe, but didn't want to deal with the expense or hassle? Have no fear, this avatar maker is out to help! There aren't a huge number of options here, but the real draw is playing with all the layered collar combinations you can make.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/48855/
Another elegant one with a kind of vintage vibe. You can't change the hair or eye colour on this one, but you can change the hair style and there are a few options for eye makeup. The main draw, however, is definitely the outfits. Lots of choices for kimono, and separate options for haneri, obi, obiage, obijime, and obidome, mean that you can make tons of different outfits.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/11253/
This one only has a few colour and style options for each section, but it was too cute not to include! There are kimono with and without hakama, as well as some slightly more fantastical and historical options.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/68061
There's no customisation available at all for the base, not even the hairstyle, but there are plenty of cute vintage-style kimono, obi, and haori to layer and play with here. There's also some alternative options for undergarments, like a blouse instead of a juban.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/20934
Bride generator! There isn't much in the way of colour and pattern here; everything is white, red, or black. However there are lots of facial expressions, so you can make your bride anything from sweet and innocent to legitimately monstrous (horns and blood splatter included)!

Male Avatars

https://picrew.me/image_maker/10347/
A very cute, stylised little samurai or ronin guy. Mostly historically-influenced options for both his hairstyles and his outfits, but a fair level of customisation nonetheless.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/24195/
A handsome man in kimono! Need I say more? Tons of options for face and hair, customiseable kimono and accessories, The example I've made is pretty fantastical but you can make more normal-looking ones as well.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/18771
This is another one that's not kimono-specific, but there are lots of options, and something about the whole "Bad Boy" aesthetic that makes me laugh. The description of this one basically translates to "Make Your Own F**king B**tard", and the facial expressions really do evoke that feeling. It's too amusing not to share.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/8803
This is another historical-based one, which feels like a common theme for the male avatar creators. It's actually got more of an ancient Chinese feeling with some of the outfits and accessories, but as you can see it's also possible to make a kimono-style ensemble.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/26613
Another handsome historical-inspired dude. This one has a lot of fun accessories and options, even if the avatar and kimono themselves aren't super varied.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/15097
This one's actually rather androgynous, so it could easily work for any gender, but the styling of the kimono is more masculine. There's actually a little story implied in this one, parting with a loved one. With or without that in mind, it's fun to play with and makes some really lovely avatars.

Other

https://picrew.me/image_maker/42620
What's this? Not an avatar! This is a really sweet little Japanese scene/garden generator. There's houses, castles, and temples as well as plenty of scenery options. You can even choose which animal you want in your scene!
https://picrew.me/image_maker/51936
This is a very simple one to create your own Hinamatsuri set. There are a few different faces, and different colours for the kimono, headpieces, and backgrounds. Not much to play with but still quite charming.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/79981
Make your own adorable little kitsune companion with this generator! Plenty of options for colours, accessories, ears, tails, and markings. I actually got sucked into playing with this one for nearly half an hour solid while working on this entry!
https://picrew.me/image_maker/122741
Do you know Daruma dolls? Here you can make a custom one in a variety of colours. There are a bunch of different faces, including ones with no eyes, one eye, and both eyes, so you can choose the right face for whether you have made your wish come true or not. Too cute!
https://picrew.me/image_maker/64765/
Izekaya meal generator! This one is a surprising amount of fun. You can choose the contents of each dish as well as your drink.
https://picrew.me/image_maker/95777/
Make your own tamago gohan (egg and rice) bowl with this cute little maker. You can choose your table, bowl, and chopsticks as well as the rice and toppings.

I hope you had tons of fun playing with these amazing kimono avatar creators! I would love to see what you make with them. 💖

Say Hello to Akane!

Everyone, please say hello to Akane!

I found this little lady on a shelf at my favourite vintage shop. She’s not particularly old; she’s made of a sort of soft vinyl instead of ceramic and gofun, and seems relatively mass-produced. Nonetheless I was utterly charmed by her and knew I had to bring her home. I was drawn immediately by her bright red kimono, which inspired me to name her Akane (茜), which means deep red and is a traditional girls’ name.

Unfortunately that kimono was pretty much all she had! There was a piece of cardboard wrapped in pink satin tied around her waist like a sort of obi, and a scraggly little piece of twine in her hair, but she had no real accessories or anything, so I decided to make her some custom pieces as well as give her a bit of a glow-up. I did take photos of the whole process, but since it was done more to relax and unwind I took the photos on my phone, wherever I happened to be working so I apologise for the quality and messy background of some of these.

Her face shape is adorable, but it felt very flat due to a lack of shading. She did have some pink blush on her cheeks but aside from that, she honestly looked like a cute potato. She also had lower eyelashes but no upper ones, and nearly invisible eyebrows. Using a combination of actual cosmetics and chalk pastels I gave her some shadows and contouring, deepened the flush on her cheeks, and gave her eyelashes and more defined eyebrows. It’s a subtle change, but she’s gone from a potato to a peach. You can also see the false eri I sewed for her to give the impression of a proper under-layer.

Next up was fixing her hair. Her bangs were quite uneven, but much worse was her hair in the back. I’m not sure if someone tried to trim her hair at some point or if she was made this way, but her hair was very lopsided in the back! I straightened it out and snipped away any broken or kinked hairs I could find. Then I tucked these cute little plum blossoms Kansai_gal sent me. They’re actually from packaging or something but I like that I’ve given them a second life. Since her head is vinyl I was able to just push a straight pin through them and they’re very solidly anchored in there.

With the cosmetic aspects taken care of, I got to work giving her a proper obi. I used some scrap kimono fabric and sewed a cute little tsuke-obi, and used some of the same textured white fabric from the eri to make an obiage. The whole thing attaches with a magnet and then a length of gold cord works as an obijime. Her socks are a bit of a cheat – they’re simply two fingers off a pair of white cotton polishing gloves! They fit her more perfectly than anything I could have sewn.

I’ve never named a doll I’ve fixed up before, but none of them have captivated me nearly as much as this little girl has. All the others reside in a display cabinet but she lives on my bedside table. Maybe I should sew a little zabuton for her to sit on. XD

Zen Garden Miniature Diorama

First off, please let me apologise for the lack of updates recently. The weather is still miserably hot, and it’s killing both my ability and my motivation to do much of anything. Work has also been busier than usual. I may not have found the time to change the mannequin lately, but I did want to share this little miniature project I completed recently.

The more I make dioramas and miniature-scale things, the more I realise how much I love it. The Japanese-themed dollhouse was such a pleasure to make that I wanted to do something else with a similar influence. These gorgeous glass and metal terrariums I found at the craft store seemed like an excellent place to start.

I laid in a base of rocks and fine sand to serve as a neutral foundation for everything. The tree was made from scratch, I started with a wire armature, covered it in tape, then covered the whole thing in textured clay. I painted that in shades of brown to mimic bark and then glued on clusters of foliage to give the whole thing a windswept bonsai look. The little pond is resin, with a base of blue glass beads, stones, and tiny shells.

The Buddha is antique ivory. It was my grandmother’s, and my father used it as a teething soother when he was a baby. Eventually I will find a suitable replacement that’s a little smaller and holds a lot less sentimental value, and possibly a tiny stone lantern, but for now I think he looks rather at home there. Looking at the whole thing relaxes and grounds me, and I couldn’t be happier.

Japanese-Inspired Dollhouse

 

Something a little different today! If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Instagram, odds are good that you’ve seen little bits and pieces of this Japanese-inspired dollhouse project I’ve been working on for quite some time. It’s finally complete, and it’s so satisfying to see everything together.

I started with this Romantic Nordic Cottage kit, but essentially only used the base structure and wiring kit. I liked the clean lines and open feel of it, and thought it would suit a Japanese aesthetic well. I kept the basic layout the same and used a few of the pre-cut pieces but also added a lot of custom furniture and accessories. I made a functional tansu and a sort of tokonoma out of popsicle sticks and stained with cherrywood stain markers. The markers made things so much easier, the small tip is the perfect size for this scale. The walls were covered with an assortment of embossed paper in neutral tones instead of using the busy and overly shiny print-outs included in the kit.

The bedding, hanging kimono, zabuton cushions, and chair upholstery are all actual kimono fabric scraps, as are the items inside the tansu. I tried to use pieces that had smaller-scale designs, to fit the general scale and dimension of the house. While I tried to make or at least alter nearly every piece, I bought the sushi, edamame, and dishware at a miniature expo. The decorative bowls and small cooking pot in the kitchen came from there too.

The original kitchen included in the kit had no sink, and the oven front was nothing more than a print-out I was supposed to glue onto a piece of wood, but it looked very unfinished. I used some heavy reflective paper to make a metal sink and build an oven door out of more of the same paper and some matchsticks. I even put on a tiny tea towel, made of shibori fabric.

The aquarium is quite possibly the thing I am most proud of. It was my first time working with resin, and I’m so pleased. I built the structure out of more popsicle sticks, used some gorgeous chiyogami paper from The Rare Orchid as the background, and I decorated the inside with some plant matter, teeny tiny shells, and polymer clay goldfish. I also had so much fun making the kokeshi doll in the little decorative shelf. Pretty sure that’s the tiniest face I’ve ever painted!

I really loved doing all the tiny detail work and decoration. I used a lot of beads and minuscule little knick-knacks I had lying around, and these sorts of things really help the whole thing feel like a real, lived-in home. There’s prints in the kitchen, including some vintage Japanese advertising and an adorable Sushi Cats print, and the art hanging in the tokonoma is by Ichiro Tsuruta, whom I’ve mentioned here before.

The tatami flooring is actually tatami repair stickers! The tile in the kitchen is adhesive vinyl cut into 1cm squares, and the flooring in the dining area is  more of the same imprinted heavy paper used on the walls. To give everything a more polished look, I finished off the edges with more stained coffee stirrers. It’s hard to see, but the bathroom is also “tiled” with more self-adhesive vinyl, and I made a mirror with the same reflective paper used in the kitchen. There are little bottles and toiletries made of beads. The initial kit just had clear acrylic walls in the bathroom, but that felt very exposed to me so I used some semi-opaque paper and decorative wire mesh to give a feeling of privacy.

This project was a labour of love, and reinforced how much I love working with miniatures.

 This post contains affiliate link(s). If you choose to purchase, I receive a small rebate or commission which goes to the continued maintenance of this site. 

Tsukihana, Custom Geisha Monster High Doll

Hello everyone! I’d like you all to meet Tsukihana! Back at the beginning of the year I got a bee in my bonnet and decided I wanted to customise a doll. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve likely seen sneak peeks and progress shots, but she’s finally complete and I’m so excited to share her.

She started life as a Draculaura doll I bought on the cheap off eBay. I chose Draculaura because I liked the shape of her face, and her skin colour was close enough to a normal human skin tone that it wouldn’t be too difficult to tone down the few visible bits. I also wanted a doll with primarily black hair, but that ended up not mattering in the end.

I started out with her face. I stripped down the original paint, toned down the back of her head and neck with soft pastels, and used white chalk paint as oshiroi. The face details were a combination of pastels, watercolour pencils, and acrylic paint. The Draculaura doll’s face sculpt reminded me very much of a now-retired geiko named Mamehana, so I referenced the following photos of her quite heavily while painting. (1, 2, 3).

My next step was to change the colour of her hands from pink to a more natural tone. Somehow during this process, I lost her hands. I looked for them for literally months, but they’re just… gone. In the end I gave up and bought a replacement set on eBay. I toned them with brown and yellow chalk pastels that helped neutralise the bright pink tone.

When it came to repainting the face and body, I found Dollightful  and Poppen Atelier, two very helpful YouTube channels with lots of information on customising Monster High and similar dolls. Initially, I’d planned to style her original hair using these traditional katsura styling videos but in the end her hair proved too stubborn and poofy, and it looked pretty awful no matter what I did, so I chopped it all off and sculpted a hairstyle out of clay. It’s primarily based on the tsubushi shimada, but I had to take a few creative liberties. Her kanzashi are beads and charms I had lying around.

The outfit was a co-production. Makiko of JaponSakura (who also made this beautiful Pullip kimono) was kind enough to custom-make me a plain black hikizuri-style kimono and coordinating obi using the fabric I selected, since it reminded me of the moon. Once I received it, I painted the plum and bamboo design around the hem and the custom crests myself, I thought since it was such a small scale, using regular acrylic would be fine, but if I were to do another custom like this I’d definitely invest in fabric paints instead. The crests might seem a bit proportionally large by modern standards, but any smaller and they would have just looked like blobs. Her momi (the red fabric wrap geisha wear beneath the obi), juban sleeves, and underskirt are just scraps of red fabric I hand-sewed and tacked into place. The zori are a pair of MH shoes I repainted and modified slightly – they originally looked like this. I removed some of the strap bulk and painted some white to make it disappear a little. I did debate reforming her feet so they would be flat, but I was hesitant to experiment that much and risk ruining the doll. Makiko also included tabi with the kimono but they made her feet too bulky to fit in the shoes, so in the end I just sanded some detail off her toes and painted her legs with the same chalk paint I used on her face.

Her shamisen was improvised, made from foam board, stir sticks, and gorgeous washi tape from The Rare Orchid. I got a bunch of beautiful paper and tape from them, a full review is coming!

This beautiful lady has been a labour of love. For my first custom doll, I think she turned out spectacularly. I don’t think I’ll be doing this on a regular basis, as she was a significant investment in time, workmanship, and materials, but I might make her a friend or apprentice maiko in the future. I’m also seriously considering turning a Skelita Calaveras into a very stylised Jigoku Dayu but that will definitely be a much longer and more detailed project if it ever comes to pass.