Let’s say you’re a cat owner, and you commission an oil painting of your furry little friend. And the only reason you got an oil painting is because there isn’t something even more realistic. Well friend, your prayers have been answered, with Wakuneco!
Wakuneco literally means “cat frame” in Japanese, and it’s a 3D, furry portrait of a cat. It’s also the name of an artist. Wakuneco only began making 3D cast portraits in 2015, but she’s already attracted a huge Instagram following.
Except for the eyes and the whiskers, Wakuneco portraits are made entirely with felt. Which is remarkable because of how realistic they look.
The process is called “needle felting.” Each portrait is made of many layers of wool, which are repeatedly punctured with a needle, eventually becoming three dimensional objects. (If you’d like to learn how to make your own, here ya go)
One palm-sized portrait takes Wakuneco the artist about a month to complete. Each project begins with an email from the pet owner, who sends multiple photo of the cat they want depicted.
The artist spends many, many hours shaping and detailing the portrait, paying particular attention to the unique details in each cat’s features. She then mounts it in a wooden frame.
Plenty of cat owners buy 3D portraits as a way to memorialize pets have passed on. Others just like them as a fun memento of their still living animals. (However, don’t get one of someone else’s cat, as that would be weird.)
Wakuneko is also very active on her Youtube channel. She shares the secrets of how to make 3D felt kitties in several how-to videos, including on specifics like how to make realistic whiskers. Definitely worth checking out.
Unfortunately, making your own 3D cat portrait might be the only way to get your own for the near future. As of July 2018 the company only ships to Japan, though that could change. Check out their Facebook if you wanna know more.
In the meantime, you can enjoy more portraits, plus the photos of the original cats below: