3D cat portraits made using felt wool

One quick glance at this amazing craft and you would think that it is simply a photo of a real cat. Using felt wool, a Japanese artist creates exceedingly realistic portraits of cats for owners who want a keepsake of their cats, especially for those who have passed.

Realistic cat portraits made using felt wool

Sachi, the master behind the realistic cat portraits, often goes by Wakuneco. She started felting as a hobby back in 2015 before she amassed a huge following of over 260,000 subscribers on YouTube. Upon gaining fame, Netflix featured her on their documentary, Cat People.

Her alias, Wakuneco, comes from the Japanese words waku (枠; frame) and neko (猫; cat) which, when put together, translates to “cat in a frame”.

3D Cat portraitsImage credit: @wakuneco

Sachi’s careful and detailed process

To ensure that the end product resembles the cat subject as close as possible, Sachi goes to great lengths to craft each portrait. Typically, she starts off by obtaining photos of the cat from the owner. In the case of Cat People, however, she went to the owner’s house to take the photos.

3D Cat portraits
Image credit:

Sachi edits the photo to a more neutral tone, and prints it out so that she can refer to it when she begins the felting process. She relies heavily on the photos to ensure that the colours that she uses are as accurate as possible. 

3D Cat portraits
Image adapted from: Netflix

Sachi sketches out the cats to actualise her artistic vision, as well as to get the correct proportions to make the felting process smoother.

3D Cat portraitsImage adapted from: Netflix

Due to the amount of effort and care she puts into them, it can take Sachi a few months to complete each portrait. She even pays extra attention when building the base, as she wants to ensure their endurability. 

3D Cat portraits
Image credit: @wakuneco 

For some of the customers’ whose pets have passed, they would send their cats’ fur to Sachi, who would then incorporate them into the felt wool. This is truly the perfect keepsake of their beloved cats.

Learn how to felt your own cat portraits

Sachi also uploads her creation process on her YouTube channel, giving viewers a glimpse of what it takes to produce a portrait of such quality. For those who are interested in making their own portraits, she also has videos that teach her viewers basic needle felting techniques. 

Here’s how she makes the hyper realistic cat eyes:

【Vlog】#01_猫の目づくり 羊毛フェルト制作動画日記 Make the cat's eyes
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【Vlog】#01_猫の目づくり 羊毛フェルト制作動画日記 Make the cat's eyes

Video credit: Wakuneco.わくねこ羊毛フェルト

Realistic 3D cat portraits made out of felted wool

For pet owners whose pets have passed, felted wool portraits might just be the perfect memento of your beloved fur babies. If you are looking to commission Wakuneco for a cat portrait, do keep a lookout on her website as she only opens commissions periodically.

Alternatively, you can watch her video tutorials and craft your own pet portraits. After all, it does add to its sentimental value should you choose to create it yourself.

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Cover image adapted from: @wakuneco and @wakuneco

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