By: Debra Steilen
It’s cute. It’s crafty. And it’s completely crush-worthy. What are we talking about? The crafting world’s newest obsession: Washi tape.
How does washi tape differ from other tapes? For one thing, this ultra-thin paper tape (which originated in Japan) is often made from natural fibres such as bamboo and tree bark. But the key details for crafters are these: Washi tape comes in solid colours (that include metallics), amazing patterns (polka dots, chevrons and beyond) and various widths to kick-start your creative juices. You can probably find washi tape at your local craft stores and online.
It’s easy to rip washi tape right off the roll with your fingers, or you can snip it with scissors or a utility knife for a cleaner edge. Plus, washi tape is relatively inexpensive. Expect to pay only a few bucks for rolls that hold from 10 to 16 yards (30 to 50 feet) of tape.
What Can you do With Washi Tape?
This gotta-have crafts product is both strong and repositionable, so use it to:
- Embellish stationery or envelopes
- Wrap gifts
- Enhance scrapbook and journal pages
- Adorn notebook covers
- Wrap around plastic party cups
- Label electrical cords
- Dress up bulldog clips
Tip: Not satisfied with your design? Just pull off the tape and start again — your background material will be undamaged.
Ready to get started? These simple projects are sure to whet your washi appetite.
1. Made-in-minutes Cupcake Toppers
Tie the buffet table into the rest of your party décor by creating cute cupcake toppers with toothpicks and washi tape.
Square paper punch (optional)
- Rip off a 10-centimetre (4-inch) piece of washi tape. Fold it around the top end of a toothpick, aligning all edges
- Using scissors or a square paper punch, cut a V-shape notch into the free end of the tape to create a notched pennant. Or, angle both sides to a point to create a classic triangle-shape pennant
- Insert the finished topper into the cupcake
2. Trendy Washi-Tape Twist Ties
Use these fashion-forward twist ties (made from washi tape and wire) to secure treat bags, gift bags and more.
Clear cellophane bags
Washi tape in colours and patterns you desire
Lightweight silver-tone wire
Treats or gift items
- Using wire cutters, cut a 12 1/2-centimetre (5-inch)-long piece of wire and straighten it
- Rip off a 17 1/2-centimetre (7-inch)-long strip of washi tape. Place it sticky side up on your work surface
- Place the wire in the centre of the length of tape, keeping the wire relatively straight
Tip: If you need to reposition the wire? Hold down one end of the washi-tape strip with a fingertip and use tweezers to remove the wire and reposition it.
- Rip off a second 17 1/2-centimetre (7-inch)-long piece of washi tape. Carefully place it sticky side down on the first piece of washi tape — with the wire in the middle
- Align the two pieces of washi tape as closely as possible for a polished look
- Using scissors, cleanly trim off the excess washi tape from both ends. Cut straight across the tape, cut the tape at an angle, or cut a V-shape notch in the end of the tape for extra pizzazz
- Put the desired treats or gift items in a cellophane bag and secure the top with a personalized twist tie
Tip: Make a ton of these twist ties to use for last-minute gift bags or to package birthday treats for your child’s class. Longer twist ties can be used to bundle pencils or markers.
3. Pretty Washi Tape Pillar Candles
Use your favourite washi tapes to transform a plain candle into a dazzling decorative accent.
Flameless pillar candles (available at crafts stores)
Washi tape in your desired colours and patterns
- Starting near the base of the candle, wrap a strip of washi tape all the way around — pressing as you go to smooth out wrinkles and air bubbles
- Trim the strip of washi tape with scissors, leaving enough excess tape to overlap the edges for a polished appearance
- Stop with one strip of tape, or add additional strips following the same steps. Overlap the strips, or separate them to suit your design
- For added interest, create different widths of washi tape by placing a strip, sticky side down, on a cutting surface. Cut the strip into pieces lengthwise using a utility knife and metal ruler. Since washi tape is repositionable, you'll be able to lift each resulting strip from the cutting surface and use it to decorate your candle
Tip: You only have to buy the flameless candle once. Change the candle’s appearance in a flash by removing the old washi tape strips and replacing them with new ones.
4. Stylish Washi Tape Smart Phone Case
Don’t get caught with last year’s model. Instead, take a few minutes to personalize your phone case with washi tape.
Clear or plain-colour phone case
Sharp manicure scissors or utility knife
- If working with a used phone case, clean the surface with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol to prepare it for decorating
- Tear or cut off the first piece of washi tape, making it long enough to cover the back of the case, wrap around the sides, and end inside the case
- Position the washi tape in the centre of the case and wrap it around to the sides, smoothing the tape with your fingers as you go to avoid wrinkles and air bubbles. Wrap both ends around to the inside of the case. Trim off any excess tape
- Working down from the centre strip, attach more strips of washi tape in your desired colours and patterns (leaving room for one last piece of tape to be added later).
- Overlap one strip over the next, smooth each strip as you work, and wrap the ends of the strips around to the inside of the case
- Turn the case so the area you just decorated is at the top. As before, work down from the centre piece of tape. Overlap each strip and wrap the ends around to the inside of the case. Leave room at the end for one last piece of tape
- Now you’re ready to cover the top and bottom of the case with washi tape. Proceed as before, but use manicure scissors to make tiny snips in the sections of tape that will cover the phone cover’s rounded corners. One at a time, fold the snipped sections of tape over each of the four corners to the inside of the case as if you’re upholstering the world’s smallest seat cushion. (The snips will help the tape fold smoothly for a more polished appearance)
- Using a manicure scissors, cut out the openings in the phone case that reveal the charging port and camera — or any other openings your phone cover may have. Either cut the exact shape of each opening, or cut a small “X” in the tape covering the opening, then fold the resulting triangular flaps down
- Smooth the tape a final time before returning your phone to its case
Tip: Washi-tape covered clothespins make great bag clips.
Tip: Transform a washi-tape-covered clothespin into a refrigerator magnet by gluing a super-strong magnet to the back.
What’s your favourite way to use washi tape? Log in or register and share your craft ideas in the comments section below!
Debra is a Midwest-based expert on crafting, home design (especially kitchens, baths and storage), and holidays. She spends her free time renovating and decorating her 1909 Craftsman home — and wrangling her two golden retrievers.