Miniatuart Ghibli models, made by Sankei here in Kyoto, Japan, are kits of laser-cut paper pieces that you assemble to create intricate 3-D dioramas of your favorite scenes from Studio Ghibli movies.
While they might seem intimidating because they are breathtakingly intricate and tiny, these models are totally doable and just require a bit of time and patience—with magical results! Whether it’s Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro or another Ghibli classic, you’ll be swept into the fantastical world of Hayao Miyazaki and emerge refreshed and recharged.
Here are four reasons why Miniatuart models are the perfect way to de-stress right now.
1. The Pleasure of Flow
A flow state, sometimes called being “in the zone” is the pleasurable mental state when you’re fully absorbed in an engaging activity. Since Miniatuart paper models have a clear goal, are slightly challenging (but not overly so!) and involve meditative acts of cutting and assembling, we think it’s an awesome way to experience a state of “flow”. This might just be the escapist, therapeutic activity you didn’t know you needed.
2. “Travel” to New WorldsOne reason Ghibli films are so popular is the phenomenal realism—the worlds in the movies are just so meticulously detailed and enchanting. By actually recreating a part of a Ghibli movie, you can truly get a taste of the magic and feel like you’re transported into its beautiful world. To enhance the experience and let your imagination run free while you work, we recommend playing the matching Ghibli movie or soundtrack in the background!
3. Delightful Control
Miniature crafts can provide a serotonin boost with the sensation of control and productivity that it provides. In The Guardian, author Simon Garfield writes about this allure of miniature art:
“The ability to enhance a life by bringing scaled-down order and illumination to an otherwise chaotic world – a world over which we may otherwise feel we have little control – cannot be overvalued. The fascination of holding in our hands something completely realised at an impossibly reduced scale is a wholly fulfilling one, and the satisfactions of inquisitive observation will never tire.”
4. Tactile Satisfaction
Ready to begin? Here are the tools you’ll need:
- Cutting mat
- Fine tweezers
- Craft knife
Note: Some of the Miniatuart kits can be colored; for this, we recommend colored pencils rather than ink based colors, as they can bleed and spill into other parts of the paper.
With winter fast approaching, now’s the time to discover a relaxing craft for super cozy home time and Miniatuart models are just the thing for relaxing. And if you have any Ghibli fans in your life, these make for fantastic Christmas presents too. With over 30 different models recreating scenes from My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and more, there is something for everyone!