For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a decorator. I used to color in the white spaces on my marble notebooks, and the carpet in my childhood bedroom was a mess of glitter and colored glue (I’m sorry, mom). I like pops of color and I like embellishments, but I also like precision. I want things straight, even, symmetrical and neat. Abstract designs are not something that sit right with me.
So when I discovered washi tape, I thought it was the best thing ever. Washi tape is Japanese in origin, a decorative paper tape with a million applications. It can be used to decorate even if you have absolutely no artistic talent and it’s very precise – plus it’s fairly inexpensive, at just a few dollars a roll. It can be ordered online or found in craft stores and even at Target.
So why washi? Well, it comes in a ton of colors and designs, and is easy to remove if need be.
My office is an interesting space. The walls are pale blue, and the dark hardwood floor is partially covered with a white area rug with a colorful button print. The furniture is minimalist IKEA tabletops and bookshelves, and my decor is…unique. My husband’s desk and bookcase are covered with anime figurines and comic book characters. Every section of my space is stuffed and stacked with craft supplies with a few notable pieces of decor, like my grumpy cat pictures and a framed portrait of a cat dressed as Anne Boleyn. I wanted to pull things together a little, so I used a blue, grey and white chevron washi tape on the edges of my desks, on the light switch plate and accenting my wall shelf. It coordinates nicely, matches the walls and is semi-permanent.
Important note: if your washi decor tears (or your teething toddler decides to gnaw on the edge of your desk), you can just peel it off and either redo it, or not.
Other ideas – washi blank notecards or gift boxes to give them some personality. Just lay it where you want it, trim and press. Use it in scrapbooking, or decorate 6″ ceramic tiles to make coasters. Decorate vases or your cell phone case, or cover cardboard letters or small canvases for sweet decor. Use it to cover tin cans to make pretty pencil holders, or stripe it onto glass votive candle holders or plain picture frames to make inexpensive gifts. Wrap your pencils, decorate your keyboard – the possibilities for using washi tape are truly endless.
Oh, and you can write on it with Sharpie markers, so it’s great for labeling things also. There’s no real mess, it’s removable, it’s inexpensive, and you can use it on almost anything. You can find books of ideas for washi tape projects, or just search on Pinterest if you’re looking for ideas.
Washi tape doesn’t handle water well, naturally, and it can be scratched off, so it isn’t great for areas that get rubbed or scraped. Otherwise, use it nearly anywhere. As I’m typing this, I’m looking at the frame on my whiteboard and thinking, “hmmm…I could washi that.” And I just might.
My only warning is that if you’re like me, it’s easy to get carried away. I need every color! A design for every holiday! Extra roles of my favorites! So unless you’re a craft hoarder (I am!) be conservative with your initial purchase. Washi tape is only a few dollars a roll, but it can still add up!
So next time you’re looking for a quick craft or an inexpensive gift, take it easy…just washi it!