Difference between ~~でできる and ~~で作る

Two example sentences:

このシャツは絹でできています。“This shirt is made of silk.”
このぺんは鳥の羽根で作られています。“This pen is made from a bird’s feather.”

In the English translations we can see a slight difference in nuance - made of vs. made from - but I’m wondering if this nuance present in the Japanese. For both the English sentences, you can use of and from interchangably and not change the meaning of the sentence.

Does this reflect in the Japanese? Or is there more nuance and slight differences between ~でできる and ~で作る?

Appreciate the help!

Having the nuance of something “being made of” vs “made from” is usually done by using {で/から}できる:

  1. (Something)でできる - Made out of/Made of (Something)
  2. (Something)からできる - Made from (Something)

I don’t think [the difference between ~でできる and ~で作る] is related to of or from, for of it must essentially be directly related, like made of wood for something still wooden. (made of eggs → you still see eggs, made from eggs → eggs in the mix)

I looked it up in the wisdom dictionary,

ーできる can be used as 作られる, and meaning “be made (of, from, with)”, “be built, be constructed”, “be formed”, “be organized”.

で「から」作る has examples 「パンは小麦から作る」 “bread is made from wheat” and 「この箱はガラスで作られている」“the box is made of glass”.

Not so much different, the first is always potential/passive in meaning, and with the second you can also used it “actively”, with more focus on actually doing it I guess.


Oooh, this is wonderful. Thank you! It clears up much of my confusion.

I think DiMono is correct as well, at least looking at the examples.

Good examples above. I also wrote up an explanation of this for myself a few months ago as to how I differentiate the meanings:

To describe what materials a noun is made of or made from, でできる or からできる can be used. Their use can kind of correspond to the English equivalent - でできる is used to say “made out of”, and is appropriate when it’s fairly obvious that the item is comprised of that material (like a log cabin, for example). からできる is used to say “made from”, and is appropriate when it’s not immediately evident, like in describing gasoline or plastic.

Furthermore, both できる and できている can be used, as well. できる is used for general statements, such as “Wine is made from grapes.” できている is used for specific statements, such as “This ring is made from dragon glass.” It helps to remember that ている is describing a current state.

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This makes me wonder how you say “to make with” (to refer to the tool used to make the object) or “to make by” (to refer to the action used to create the object). Is it still ~でできる and ~で作る?

For example, “A pie crust is made with a rolling pin by slowly spreading and flattening out the dough.” Or, “This decorative snowflake was made by cutting holes in paper with scissors.”

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