What is Washi Tape? An Overview of Paper and Tissue Tape.

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In the past 12 months or so, “washi tape” has taken over the scrapbooking and stationery world. For those who haven’t heard of it, I thought I’d give you an overview of just what it is and perhaps why you might want to try it.

For starters, “Washi Tape” comes from Japan, is a paper tape that comes in pretty colors and patterns. It comes on a roll like regular sticky tape, and is often translucent. You can find it in 1/4″ widths up to 2 1/2 inches, and it feels more like masking tape than true “paper.” Since hitting the crafting world by storm, many major scrapbooking companies have come out with their own versions.

7 Gypsies brand

Hambly Screen Prints Brand

"Smash" brand by K & Co. (An EK Success brand)

Tim Holtz idea-ology

….you get the idea. So here are how some washi tapes look on light/dark papers, so you can get a feel of translucency.

I should also say that I’m purposefully avoiding covering paper ribbons or trims- paper embellishments that have adhesive on the back. They are usually text to cardstock-weight paper, and are a different creature altogether.

So hopefully now you have a better idea of these washi/tissue/paper tapes, and will start thinking of some fun ways to use them! Here are a few photos of how I’m using them in my daily crafting:

Dress up a little journaling pocket.

 

Add some "pow" to a book cover.....

...or add a quick embellishment to a blank journal page.

You can also use it like regular sticky tape, and turn plain deli paper into elegant gift wrap!

Have you been bitten by the Washi Tape bug? How do you like to use it?

If you’d like to learn how to make your OWN washi/ paper tape, visit my tutorial HERE.

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About Jenny Barnett Rohrs

Chief Craft Test Dummy, Craft Evangelist, Founder, Editor, bottle-washer, trouble-maker, and creative whirlwind.

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20 Responses to “What is Washi Tape? An Overview of Paper and Tissue Tape.”

  1. Kat Says:

    Okay. The one thing I would use it on is plain wrapping paper. I like to use beige/brownish recycled paper and the tape would splash it up a bit. Thanks for the post and info. Always wondered what it was for!

  2. Frank Palmer-Goldstein Says:

    I wanted to use some on a wooden box project to decorate around the edge of the lid, but the tape doesn’t stick well on a surface that isn’t 100% flat, so I wound up sticking it down onto a thin layer of Mod Podge (matte) and then sealing it with another thin layer.
    I do like using it on paper, but always on the lookout for more diverse uses.

  3. Karen Says:

    This was a helpful article, thanks! I was wondering if it sticks permanently or if it will peel up. I live in an apartment with white kitchen cabinets and I am trying to find something that sticks but not permanently to do something to add some interest to the kitchen. I cannot paint anything, but I could maybe put a border on the cabinets if it is removable when/if we ever leave here. Thanks!

  4. Jenny Says:

    Karen- washi tape is removable, but I’m not sure if it might grow more “permanent” over time. I don’t think it would peel up, though. However, making or buying vinyl stickers would be a safe way to add some pizzazz to you painted cabinets, and would be easy to remove. See my post here on how I cut vinyl decals for my son’s skating helmet: http://www.crafttestdummies.com/crafts-for-kids/cricut-vinyl-upcycled-bike-helmet/

    Good luck! -Jenny

  5. Signe Ivanovitch Says:

    Eva told me to check out this post when I asked about Washi Tape. You answered all my questions about it,. Thanks!

    Thanks again Jenny for the lesson!

  6. LaBoheme Says:

    @Karen I have just the thing for you.

    Here is a post about decorating with fabric and cornstarch!

    http://manhattan-nest.com/2010/06/01/the-doors/

    This guy used it on windows, but it would totally work on walls or cupboards too. It sticks securely, but comes off with just water!

  7. Donna Coker Says:

    I keep seeing crafts calling for Washi Tape, but had no idea what it was you answered all my questions. Thank YOU

  8. Kathy Says:

    I’m looking at putting this tape on products I sell. I’m trying to find out if there are any problems with copyright or other legal reasons I can’t use it.
    Thanks!

  9. Jenny Says:

    Nope- no legal issues. However, remember the adhesive on washi tape is of the “removable” type- it might peel up if you don’t use a sealant.

  10. mehgan Says:

    I need to tape off 1/2″ lines to make a grid on a painted wooden board. But I can’t find 1/2″ masking tape. Would this stick well to a painted wooden surface, and then be a good tape to paint over and peel off for a nice clean line?

  11. Jenny Says:

    It is a repositionable tape and you could theoretically use it as a masking tape. But I can’t vouch for a nice clean line-it’s not very strong and could rip when peeling off. Stick with Frog Tape for textured surfaces for best results.

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