Washi Tape: The Ultimate Guide to Uses, Ideas, and Craft Projects

The essence of Japanese artistry is encapsulated in the versatile adhesive washi tape. With its myriad colors, patterns, and textures, washi tape has transformed the crafting world, offering a bridge between traditional Japanese aesthetics and modern-day creativity.

What is Washi Tape?

Washi tape, often called Japanese masking tape, is a decorative adhesive crafted from traditional Japanese paper known as "washi." 

This paper, made from the fibers of trees native to Japan, has been an integral part of Japanese culture for centuries, utilized in origami, screens, and lamps.

Its journey began in 2006 when Kamoi Kakoshi Co. was inspired by a group of women who repurposed masking tape for bookmaking, leading to the birth of washi tape.

washi tape
printed washi tape overview

Washi Tape vs. Masking Tape: Understanding the Difference

While both washi tape and traditional masking tape serve adhesive purposes, they differ in several aspects:

  • Material: Washi tape is made from natural fibers, giving it a unique texture and translucency, while masking tape is typically made from paper or synthetic materials.
  • Adhesiveness: Washi tape is repositionable and doesn't leave a residue, making it ideal for decorative purposes. In contrast, masking tape has a stronger adhesive quality.
  • Design Variety: The true charm of washi tape lies in its vast array of designs, from intricate florals to bold geometric patterns, whereas masking tape is usually plain.

Comparison Table: Washi Tape vs. Regular Adhesive Tape

Feature Washi Tape Regular Adhesive Tape
Material Made from natural fibers, giving it a unique texture and translucency. Typically made from paper or synthetic materials.
Adhesiveness Repositionable and doesn't leave a residue. Stronger adhesive quality, may leave residue.
Design Variety Vast array of designs, from intricate florals to bold geometric patterns. Usually plain or with limited patterns.
Translucency Distinct translucent quality. Varies, but often opaque.
Purpose Decorative and functional. Primarily functional.

Dive into the World of Washi Tape Uses

The versatility of washi tape is boundless.

Home and Office Organization

  • Labeling: Use washi tape to color-code files, stationery, or kitchen items. It's a stylish alternative to traditional labels.
  • Calendar Marking: Highlight essential dates or tasks in planners or calendars.
washi tape for marking

Crafting and Artistry

  • Scrapbooking and Journaling: Accentuate memories by adding washi tape borders or using it to attach keepsakes.
  • DIY Decor: From wall murals to customized furniture, washi tape can breathe new life into any space.
  • Gift Wrapping: Enhance gift bags or boxes with patterned washi tape, making the wrapping as memorable as the gift itself.
washi tape for scrapbooking

Personal Items

  • Tech Customization: Decorate phone cases, laptop covers, or chargers for a personalized touch.
  • Bookmarks: Create temporary bookmarks that won't damage pages.
decorative washi tape

Unique Creations

  • Washi Tape Art: Craft intricate designs or patterns on canvas or paper.
  • DIY Jewelry: Design lightweight earrings, bracelets, or pendants.
washi tape for arts

Comparison Table: Uses of Washi Tape vs. Regular Adhesive Tape

While regular adhesive tapes are functional, washi tapes offer both functionality and a creative edge.

Use Case Washi Tape Regular Adhesive Tape
Home Décor Wall murals, furniture customization, and temporary wall art. Limited to functional uses like sealing or holding items.
Crafting Scrapbooking, DIY jewelry, and card-making. Limited crafting uses due to plain design.
Labeling Stylish labels for jars, files, or containers. Plain labels.
Bookmarks Temporary bookmarks that won't damage pages. Not commonly used due to potential residue.
Gift Wrapping Enhance gift bags or boxes with patterns. Sealing gift wraps.

Why is Patterned Tape So Popular?

The allure of patterned tape, especially washi tape, lies in its ability to transform mundane objects into works of art. With just a strip of tape, you can breathe new life into everyday items, turning them into personalized pieces that reflect your style and personality.

Patterned Tape

Visual Appeal

The vast array of designs shows a pattern for every mood and occasion. From elegant florals to quirky geometric shapes, there's a design to suit everyone's taste.

Easy Customization

Whether decorating a notebook or jazzing up a gift box, patterned tape allows easy customization. It's a simple way to add a personal touch to any item.


Compared to other decorative items, washi tape is relatively inexpensive. This makes it a popular choice for those looking to decorate on a budget.


Beyond its decorative appeal, patterned tape also serves functional purposes. It can be used for labeling, organizing, and even minor repairs.

Tips and Tricks for Using Washi Tape

To get the most out of your washi tape, consider the following tips:
  • Surface Preparation: Ensure the surface is clean and dry. This ensures better adhesion and reduces the chances of the tape peeling off.
  • Layering: Don't be afraid to layer different patterns and colors. This can create a unique and dynamic look.
  • Storage: Store your washi tapes rolled up, preferably in a box or a drawer, away from direct sunlight to prevent fading.
  • Removal: One of the benefits of washi tape is its easy removal. However, if you find it a bit stubborn, gently heat it with a hairdryer for a few seconds. This will make it easier to peel off without leaving a residue.
  • Experiment: The beauty of washi tape lies in its versatility. Don't be afraid to experiment and try new ways to use it.
custom printed washi tape
aesthetic washi tape

Quality Matters: Choosing the Right Washi Tape

With the rising popularity of washi tape, the market is flooded with options. However, not all tapes are created equal. When selecting a washi tape, consider the following:
  • Adhesiveness: Quality washi tape should stick well but also be easily repositionable.
  • Translucency: Authentic washi tape has a distinct translucent quality.
  • Design Clarity: Patterns should be clear and vibrant.


Washi tape is more than just a crafting accessory. It's a testament to the beauty of Japanese art and culture, a blend of tradition and modernity.

Whether you're a seasoned crafter or someone looking to add a splash of color to your life, washi tape offers endless possibilities. Dive into the world of washi tape and let your creativity run wild!
Jerome Wu

Jerome Wu

About the Author

Jerome Wu, a renowned expert in the stationery field, crafts insightful content for Interwell Stationery. With over a decade of industry experience, Jerome brings a deep understanding of stationery trends and innovation.

Connect with Jerome for blog collaborations or inquiries at jerome@interwell.cn.

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