What is washi tape, and how do you use it? If you have been into arts and crafts, there is a big chance that you’ve seen these adorable, colorful, and beautiful tapes around. Compared to other crafty tools, these decorative tapes haven’t been around that long. In 2006, the washi tape phenomenon started in Japan, but it didn’t hit crafts and novelty stores around the world until a few years later.
If you’re curious about everything washi-related and want to learn how to use washi tapes, then you’re in the right place! Here’s what you’ll find in this quick but comprehensive 10-minute read:
- What Is Washi Tape?
- Brief History
- What Is Washi Tape Used For?
- Washi Tape Uses
- How to Use Washi Tapes
- Different Washi Tape Sizes
- Washi Tape Ideas
- Washi Tape Crafts
- Handmade cards
- Scrapbook pages and layouts
- Art journal
- Mixed media art
- Traveler’s notebook
- Where to Buy Washi Tapes
What Is Washi Tape?
What is washi tape? How did it come about? What does the word “washi” mean? Is washi tape removable? First, let’s fill you in with a few must-know facts about these beautiful decorative tapes.
Aside from paper, these tapes are probably one of the most versatile paper crafting supplies in your stash. From the Japanese characters “wa 和わ” which means harmony, and “shi 紙し” which means paper, the word washi simply translates to “paper” in Japanese. Whereas regular paper is made out of tree pulp, this traditional Japanese paper is made out of local fiber and processed by hand. It is also made in a manual and traditional method. This paper can be made from any kind of plant but is typically made from ganpi, kozo, mitsumata, or sometimes hemp.
The following are commonly used in the manufacturing of this paper:
- Fibers from the inner bark of the gampi tree
- Mitsumata shrub (Edgeworthia chrysantha)
- Paper mulberry (kōzo) bush - this is the most commonly used fiber
Now that you have a better understanding of what is washi tape, let’s find out how it became popular. In 2006, the Japanese company Kamoi Kakoshi Co. Ltd. received an email from a small group of women. The group had used the firm’s industrial masking tape to develop and design their book. In this email, the women expressed their desire to visit Kamoi Kakoshi because they planned to use the company’s masking tapes in their next book. Unfortunately, the company didn’t think anything of it and decided to ignore the email.
Unfazed, the women took matters into their own hands. They created another book filled with stunning and colorful pages designed with Kamoi Kakoshi’s masking tapes and sent it to them. This finally caught the company’s attention, and the group was allowed to tour the company. Upon these women’s request, Kamoi Kakoshi also started producing more masking tape colors. Since then, a variety of vibrant colors and cute washi tape designs were added to the company’s product line.
Do you want to know more about washi tapes? Check out this ultimate guide!
What Is Washi Tape Used For?
Even if you’re not into arts and crafts, you’ve probably seen a few washi tape crafts and some cute washi tapes. Washi (the traditional Japanese paper) has so many applications - from art and everyday objects to clothing and cuisine. On the other hand, Washi tape is widely used in bullet journaling, handmade cards, scrapbook pages, art journals, and other DIY crafts.
Washi Tape Uses
Nowadays, you can easily find fun and exciting ways on how to use washi tapes - thanks to the Internet and social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram. For instance, you can simply use them to jazz up a simple object or furniture around your house. Once you get the hang of it, you wouldn’t believe how easy it is to create your own washi tape art, even if you don’t have an artistic bone in your body.
Here are ten quick and creative ways to use these crafty tapes around your home!
- Paper crafting such as handmade cards and scrapbook layouts
- Bullet journaling or any kind of journal
- Upcycling old objects
- DIY home decor
- Creating washi tape wall art
- Decorating gadgets such as laptop, tablet PC, and mobile phone
- Sealing envelopes
- Covering notebooks and old books
- Cut out washi tape designs and use them as stickers
- Organizing and labeling stuff around the house, such as chargers, cords, condiments, and other unlabeled bottles
How to Use Washi Tapes
How do you use washi tapes? Do you need a tape runner? Do you cut it with scissors like any other tape? Or do you tear it with your hands? Is washi tape removable? Because of its paper-like texture, those who haven’t used these tapes before might find it a bit strange. Don’t worry! We’ve got you! Here are three easy steps on how to use washi tapes:
- Pull the tape away from the roll, making sure to add a few centimeters more than your desired length.
- Gently press down the tape onto the surface that you’re using, making sure to smoothen out any “bubble” or “bumps.” You can use a bone folder, a ruler, or an old credit card for this.
- You may either use a scissor to cut the tape or tear it just like you would a piece of paper. Cutting it with a scissor will give you a cleaner and neater edge.
The video below shows a few unique ideas on how to use washi tapes on your handmade cards.
Different Washi Tape Sizes
Washi tape crafts are all the rage these days! What used to be a simple, thin strip of decorative tape has evolved into a must-have, versatile supply in every crafter’s stash. Bullet journals, scrapbook layouts, washi tape wall art, handmade cards, and more - there’s a plethora of washi tape projects and inspiration readily available online.
Before you start your shopping spree, it’s best to find out which washi fits your needs. Yes! Not only do they come in a wide range of colors, designs, and patterns, they also come in various sizes. More reasons to love them, right?
Here are the different washi tape sizes and some ways to use them.
Washi Tape Sizes
DIY crafts and washi tape projects
50mm - 75mm
100mm - 150mm
Extra Wide Tapes (up to 12 inches!)
Washi Tape Ideas
If you have been into DIY crafts for a while, then you’ve probably come across a few washi tape ideas. A quick scroll through Pinterest and Instagram will show you the endless amount of washi tape art readily available for both beginners and experienced crafters. In fact, there’s probably one too many that it could get a bit overwhelming. Don’t fret! We’ve got five easy washi tape projects to help spark your creativity and get you started.
- Are you into making handmade cards? Use them to cover your card front for a quick but gorgeous background.
- Are you running out of scrapbook paper? Need more colorful patterned paper for your crafts? Create your own patterned paper by mixing and matching different decorative tapes.
- Make your own unique embellishment and decorations! Use these tapes as a decoration or an embellishment on your next handmade card, scrapbook page, or journals.
- Want to add instant color to your die-cuts? Die-cut images out of colorful and cute washi tapes! This will not only add color to your die-cuts, but it will also make them stand out.
Not into creating handmade cards or scrapbook pages? Not a problem. Add some pizzazz to your favorite notebook, journal, tumbler, and gadgets! Decorating daily objects around your home is one of the easiest washi tape crafts.
Washi Tape Crafts
You don’t need to spend too much on redecorating or designing your home. A simple washi tape art can help you transform a space from ho-hum to wow! You also don’t need to be artsy or creative. Simply grab your fave tapes and try some quick, easy, and adorable washi tape ideas, like in the video below.
The variety of colors, patterns, and designs are some of the reasons why these tapes have grown in popularity. These used to be cute and fun little decorations in notebooks, planners, school projects, and journals. Social media channels such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook have helped catapult these designer tapes into the limelight. In recent years, hobbyists and craft enthusiasts have started creating and sharing washi tape ideas and crafts, instantly turning these tapes into must-haves. Here are a few more washi tape projects that you can easily try today!
- Handmade cards
- Scrapbook album
- Bullet journal or art journal
- Mixed media art
- Traveler’s notebook
Where to Buy Washi Tapes
Gone are the days when you would have to order these tapes from unknown online stores halfway across the world. A quick Google search will tell you exactly where to buy washi tapes. Arts and crafts stores now offer a plethora of cute washi tapes in a variety of sizes. You can easily find and buy washi tapes in online crafts stores too!
Altenew’s wide washi tapes are quite the game-changers in the paper crafting industry. These are wider than the average tape and can easily cover small to medium-sized items and surfaces (even furniture!). They also come in a range of designs, colors, and patterns such as florals, geometric shapes, gold foil, nature, stripes, galaxy, ombre, and more!
Washi tapes are super versatile and more forgiving than most paper crafting tools. Even if you’re a beginner in crafting, you can quickly and easily learn how to use washi tapes to create a gorgeous DIY project, decorate your stuff, or zhush up some space in your home.