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Maneki Neko / Lucky Cat

Maneki Neko / Lucky Cat

Marty Noel Chenyao | Fake and Basic

Here’s a twist on the basic cat costume.

You’ve probably seen Maneki Neko (“beckoning cat”) statues waving near the cash register in Chinese or Japanese-owned establishments. Lucky cats are believed to bring luck and prosperity to businesses — and they’re super cute besides. A raised left paw is said to bring in customers; a raised right paw is associated with money and good fortune. Both paws in the air represent protection.

Marty Noel Chenyao | Fake and Basic

I dressed up as the white Maneki Neko, but lucky cats come in many different colors. If you want to make this look in another color, substitute the white felt with felt of that color.

Difficulty level



Cat ear headband

Red felt

White felt



Hot glue gun


Giant bell

Red ribbon

Green bib

Green scarf

Clothing items and accessories

White dress

Gold heels

Marty Noel Chenyao | Fake and Basic


Cat ear headband

1. Lay the white felt on a table or other hard surface. Place the headband on top of the felt, lining one of the headband ears up against a corner.

2. Use the pen to trace around the ear. Make sure to also trace out the curve of the headband at the bottom. The felt will cover the ear part of the headband completely.

3. Cut out the ear piece with the scissors. Use this piece to trace and cut out four more white ear pieces.

4. Take one of the white ear pieces and trim about 0.5 cm off the edges all around. Use this to trace and cut out four red ear pieces.

5. Make sure that the white ear pieces match up with the headband! All the tracing and cutting can lead to tiny imperfections that end up not working out. Make new white ear pieces if necessary.

6. Ensure that the red ear pieces look good against the white ones. Don’t be afraid to re-do these, too.

7. Glue the red ear pieces to the white ear pieces with the hot glue gun. Wait for them to dry before going on to the next step.

8. Carefully squeeze hot glue onto one of the ear-edges of the headband. Place one of the finished ear pieces on top. Be quick — hot glue tends to dry rapidly!

9. Repeat with the other ear, and then do the same to the other side of the headband.

Marty Noel Chenyao | Fake and Basic


1. Take the red ribbon and cut a length that can comfortably wrap around your neck.

2. Thread the bell through the ribbon.

3. [Optional] Take the jingle out of the bell (trust me, I’m aware of how grinchy this sounds) by carefully prying open one of the corners of the bell, taking out the jingle, and bending the corner back into place.

Green bib

1. Tie the edges of the scarf together so that it makes one big loop.

Marty Noel Chenyao | Fake and Basic

Putting it all together

1. Take the collar and tie the red ribbon around your neck.

2. Wrap the scarf around your neck like so.

3. Once the glue on the headband has dried, put the cat ears on.

Marty Noel Chenyao | Fake and Basic

Marty Noel Chenyao | Fake and Basic

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© 2019 by Marty Noel Chenyao
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