What is washi tape anyway?

The Secret Of This Craft Supply Solved!

You've probably seen it on Pinterest a million times or read about it on your favorite DIY or crafting blog, but what is washi tape anyway... and why is everyone so in love with it? Well, be prepared, because your washi tape obsession is about to begin!

OK, dish it! What is washi tape?

Often called wasabi tape by mistake, washi tape does originate from Japan, so we can see how the two terms are easily confused! But, washi tape has nothing to do with the spicy condiment that you eat with your sushi. The best way we can describe washi tape is that it feels like masking tape — very, very pretty masking tape. It's made of paper, but is not as delicate as you would expect. Plus, it comes in patterns and designs that will make even the most dedicated crafters swoon and varying widths to allow you to create some fun and intricate washi tape designs.

Washi tape is typically made from natural fibers, such as bamboo or hemp, but most commonly from the bark of trees that are native to Japan — the mulberry, the mitsumata shrub or the gampi tree. Most washi tapes are strong (as strong as duct tape in some cases!) and functional as well as pretty, making them wonderful for both everyday and decorative use.

I need some now! Tell me where to get it!

Wishy Washi Tape

Since washi tape has blown up in the past couple of years, it seems like every craft manufacturer and Etsy store is incorporating their designs into a washi tape line. The cost of a roll of washi will vary, depending on its quality and design, but in general, a roll of washi will run you around $5. Wishy Washi Tape carries dozens of varieties of washi tape, including packs of solid colors ($35), which are a good way to get your washi collection started.

Deluxe Tower of Washi Tape

Naturally, washi tape has hit Etsy as well and as you can imagine, some Etsy sellers are taking washi tape to the next level. This Deluxe Tower of Washi Tape ($45) from Etsy seller [StickerStop] is another fun way to get your washi collection started... and keep it organized! The tower comes with 35 rolls of the tapes of your choice.

Days of the Week Washi Tape

Cute Tape is another online retailer who sells hundreds of washi tape options. These Days of the Week Washi Tape ($4 per roll) are popular for scrapbooking projects or even making a DIY calendar for your home! And at under $5 each, you can easily pick up all three colors without breaking the bank.

What can I do with it?

OK, so you have your washi tape in hand... but now, what are you suppose to do with it? For the craft challenged, we suggest you go to Pinterest and never look back. Enter "Washi Tape" into the search bar and you will be blown away at all the projects people have used washi tape for.

To get you started, here are some of our favorite ideas:

Wrap a gift in simple wrapping paper — white or brown kraft paper works great — then go to town using washi tape in the same way you would use ribbon. Don't be afraid to mix and match different tapes, widths and designs!

Let washi tape help keep you organized — put it to work in on your calendar or day planner in the same way you'd use a highlighter! Many washi tapes are quite transparent, so you can use a little tag of tape to draw attention to important dates. Try putting down a piece of washi, then using a permanent pen to write on top of it. Your calendar is going to look gorgeous!

If you're a scrapbooker, washi tape is going to be your new obsession, and we hardly have to tell you how you can put it to work when making books to hold memories. Most washi tapes are acid-free, making them scrapbook-safe!

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Comments on "What is washi tape anyway?"

Marilyn Trent October 17, 2013 | 5:19 AM

Thank you for the information on Washi tape. Have not used this before. Can it be put on material and can it be washed, or hand washed. Thought I saw some craft using this on material, but did not know what washi tape was. Thank you for sharing.

Marilyn September 21, 2013 | 7:19 PM

Where can I buy washi tape?

Ali August 23, 2013 | 3:23 AM

@Joelma, you can wash Washi Tape! For example, I used some Washi Tape to mark my water bottle every 8 ounces (to track how much I drink a day) and I've run it through the dish washer many times this summer. The Washi Tape has stayed put, but it's also still able to be removed cleanly.

Emily Sullivan May 23, 2013 | 11:03 AM

Nice article, thank you for sharing your information! I can't get my head around why I need washi tape though. I'll come around one of these days :)

LadyAurora May 15, 2013 | 11:25 AM

Do you know what the adhesive is made with? Is it the same adhesive as duct tape (latex-based)?

Becky March 15, 2013 | 2:46 AM

My hubby takes a lot of meds for a spine problem, and being an organizer, I bought those little pill organizers to sort pills by the days of the week. After I filled all the little pill compartments, I decided I would organize all the different prescriptions into like-types, but realized I didn't have any rubberbands to hold the bottles together. He'll be so surprised when he gets the bottles out next time and sees them grouped together with different colors and patterns of washi tape! I gighled so much while I was taping them together!!

Mary March 04, 2013 | 6:29 AM

If you like hanging your kids' artwork and school papers, then you'll love this tape.

Eileen February 28, 2013 | 5:30 AM

With scrapbooking, if I decide to redo a page, can I peel the washi tape off without ruining whatever it was attached to?

Joelma November 28, 2012 | 6:09 PM

Hi I wonder if it possible to wash a piece decorated with the washi tape? Thank you

Ambelleina November 09, 2012 | 8:38 AM

@Coralie: Washi tape is just like masking tape, so yes it is adhesive. It is tape! Hehe. It has decent sticking power, but don't expect it to hold up any significant weight, but I would say it's comparable to floral tape without that irritating outside stickiness!

Coralie Milne November 07, 2012 | 9:20 PM

Just wondering if washi tape sticks to itself or has an adhesive backing? I would like to use it for covering wire - do you think this would work. I use floral tape now but I find it a little "sticky" because of the wax coating. Thank you. Coralie.

Jessica May 29, 2012 | 2:24 PM

I've never heard of this washi tape and cannot wait to get ahold of it! I love the different colors and shades they come in. I was blown away when I typed it into Pinterest, and saw washi tape wrapped around everything from vases, presents to notebooks! Why wasn't this around sooner?! Being in a sorority, I can already tell coming fall all my friends will be having this around their place when it comes to crafting. While some of the purchases above seem pretty pricy, (when buying more than a couple) I would definitely love to purchase a couple colors I could get the most use out of. I'm shocked I've never heard or seen this on Pinterest or from someone else, since this seems to be the next big thing. I can't wait to share this with my friends and family-something to add to our crafting projects indeed!

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