Washi All About?

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

Washi-Washi-Washi Rah-Rah-Rah!!

Sorry - that’s what plays in my head whenever I say the words washi tape! I can’t help it!

So - What IS Washi tape?

Quite literally it is Japanese paper - “Wa” means Japanese and “shi” means paper (in Japanese) It is a low tack masking tape that can be used on multiple surfaces and, being low tack - isn’t permanent and doesn’t leave any residue or marks (usually) - but the difference from your average low tack decorators masking tape this stuff is PRETTY!!! And usually much smaller.

Fun fact - Only us westerners call it washi tape - in Japan it’s just masking tape 😂

So, Washi tape had a massive surge a few short years ago - at least that’s when it appeared on MY radar, it’s been around for rather a long time (about 15 years) but a trend in scrapbooking and “journaling” elevated the popularity of the humble little reels up to a social media sensation status. And why wouldn’t it? They are beautiful!

Seriously you don’t even need to be a user of this stuff to appreciate the sheer beauty of some of them - they are after all little pieces of art. Literally there are designers that just design washi tape artwork.

So as I mentioned scrapbooking and journaling - a lot of people associate washi tape exclusively with these crafts. BUT I am here to tell you that just isn’t so!

Washi tape is useful for all sorts of crafts - but that’s one thing that is constant - crafts. It’s a tape for the creative task. You don’t mend a pipe with it, plug a leak, fix a cracked screen or put it over a cut - it’s a crafty aid - and you don’t have to be particularly crafty either, but when you have that flash of inspiration, washi tape can be your friend!

In this post I’m going to share with you the ways you can use this stuff - there are samples that I have put together and lots of links to amazing accounts and other bloggers that have worked miracles with washi tape - please do use them you won’t be sorry!

Also there is some more information about the history and the creation of washi tape - I am quoting others that have done all the research already and the links to their original posts are included, if you have the time do give their sites a visit because they are amazeballs and a real feast for the eyes and creative mojo!

A quick plug for my Etsy shop - The Chromatic Studio - I sell washi tape! No surprises there eh? BUT I also make and sell some of the items you will see, so if you're in the mood for a browse and in the market for a gift or a treat then use the links to go to Etsy and buy or you can window shop right here on my website and see what lovely stuff I have available - just use the navigation tabs.

If you’re not in the mood for a lot of reading just now - skip down to the fab photos and project ideas!

Let’s get started!

First up - What is Washi Tape from

Unlike western paper which is made from tree pulp, washi comes from Japanese shrubs. Typically, it’s made from ganpi, kozo, mistumata or sometimes hemp, but it can be fashioned from almost any plant

The fact that washi tape is made out of highly renewable resources and is biodegradable means it’s a great addition to your new sustainable lifestyle. So yes, you can recycle your Washi Tape!

No need to wield any sharp scissors, washi tape is easy to tear by hand which makes it a great kid-friendly resource and for the scribblers out there, it’s easy to write on if plain paper is too “done” for you.

How it’s made - Head here to to read! It’s fascinating.

The Origins and History

From The Tattoo Project

Washi Tape, or Japanese masking tape, first originated in Japan by the business Kamoi Kakoshi Co., Ltd. under the name MT masking tape. It all started in 2006 when puzzled Kamoi received an email from a little group of women who developed a book making use of their industrial masking tape. The email stated that they would like to tour their facility before working on a second book utilizing their masking tapes. Confused Kamoi didn’t initially respond to this curious email, and later received a package from the ladies; It contained colorful, beautifully designed pages all carried out in masking tape! Kamoi ultimately agreed to let the ladies tour their facility, and their marvel and fascination at the tape creating process filled Kamoi with fantastic pride. Later, they received a second book filled with a lot more stunning pages from 17 different artists, all employing their masking tape to develop a thing of beauty! The females requested that Kamoi produce much more masking tape colors. Kamoi didn’t hesitate after a big art exhibition in Tokyo and plenty of media coverage; they took the plunge and began to work on producing the excellent rolls to use for crafts and design! They not only created numerous far more colors, but also designs that were cute and functional.

Did you know that making the best hue of washi tape can be a difficult procedure? As a result of the consistency of the rice paper, producing the perfect color, especially light colors, is challenging to produce due to the fact it is simple to obtain a dull hue. It was a lengthy and arduous method, but eventually Kamoi produced washi tapes in colors that resembled flowers in a field. They called it mt, since, properly, that is what everybody inside the firm referred to it as! They decided to give the colors standard, archaic Japanese names and chose packaging that could be aesthetically pleasing. Thus, washi tape was born! It really is loved and cherished by numerous in the arts and crafts community as a staple within the creative paper craft method.

Today, you will find even more manufacturers of this cute craft tape. Kamoi might have been the very first, but they paved the way for companies like Classiky and MARK’s who’ve helped inside the development with the decorative tape revolution.

RIGHT! Now the science bit is done let's get down to the fun stuff!


Okay, washi tape as you by now know can be applied to ANYTHING. I've put together some very quick and easy makeover projects that you can get started with, after my modest doings scroll on further to see some truly amazing ideas!

Paper Clip Flags

A great way to funk up and make paper clips even more useful - Especially good with washi tapes that have messages on. You can write on the tape what memo you need, keep your reciepts in order, add a gift certificate to a greetings card with one, embellish a handmade card............. Just select the section of washi you like, cut double the length, wrap it around the stem of the paper clip and press together - then snip the ends into whatever shape you like! When you're bored with it tear it off and try a new pattern!

Spruce up Storage Jars

These little glass jars were left over from a sample set and made the perfect receptacles for little stationery gifts. I simply chose a colour theme, then applied some double sided tape in a vertical line where the tape ends would meet, then another piece over the top with a washi tape strip to cover the join - Double sided tape is a great way to make your washi more permanent! See other available pre decorated jars to buy here.

Handmade Envelope with Notecard

This is a great one and really makes that message super special and personal. A simple sheet of brown paper folded and bound with washi tape to make an envelope, a blank postcard with some pretty paper, a sticker and some washi tape - Voila! you have a unique greetings card to send to your friends and family. If you want to make your own envelopes I have a digital template for FREE in my own, new store in the Free downloads section, you will also find note card kits in the Stationery with style section on Etsy! Use the photos above to go there! Don't forget you can make the tape more permanent using double sided tape under your washi tape or you can apply a small amount of glue to your envelope first then put washi over the edges after. And this method works just as well with pre made envelopes.

Pretty Up Your Tech

The most simple way of using washi tape - just add it to something to give it a mini makeover. This is a power bank and my mobile phone cable - I use these 2 together a lot when I'm taking photos of products but can't stop to plug my phone in to the wall - putting matching tape on means I don't need to look around for the right cable anymore - why not try this with your mobile phone plugs and cables?

Alternatively why not put some on your phone case? Stand out from the rest and make yours unique and the prettiest in the room - make sure the tape goes all the way over the edges and to the inside of the phone case, this way the edges won't start to lift with use and will last longer.

Stationery With Style

Similar to paper clips idea but more robust - These bamboo pegs make great memo clips, responsibly sourced and sustainable it's good for your carbon footprint too! You can tailor make a set for your needs or as a gift. Washi tape with days of the week on are great for pegs. Why not go a step further and mount them on to a memo board as permanent memo clips? Same with the bulldog clips. I sell sets of the bamboo pegs in my store in the "Stationery With Style" section.

RIGHT! That's it for my little bit now I'm going to wow you with other peoples amazing creations!

Check out some of these brilliant ideas from around the web, click on the images to go see more of these ideas..........

And let's not forget Instagram!

From left to right - @journal.junk.e / @breanna_studies / @caleighjournals

Hopefully that's given you some inspiration or just a bit knowledge that you didn't have before - regardless of whether you think you are creative or not I bet you can find something that could do with a bit of masking tape beauty!

Have fun and thanks for reading

Amber c

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