Any crafters who’ve taken so much as a peek at Pinterest or a casual stroll past their local arts supplies shop in recent times couldn’t fail to miss it: washi tape.
Also known simply as craft tape, the trend from Japan is simple to use and comes in unending variations – everything from glitter to neon, or patterned with everything from Christmas trees to ducks.
Professional artists use the tape to make impressive murals and optical illusions. But hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts also love it.
DIY expert Susanne Schiefelbein, who has written a book about the coloured sticky band, thinks she knows why: “You can get great results with very little effort, whether you’re an experienced crafter or just starting out.”
Washi tape refers specifically to a type made from rice paper that comes from Japan. And as Schiefelbein stresses, you can stick it onto just about anything: greeting cards, textbooks, wrapping paper – even furniture. Moreover, it can be either permanent or temporary.
“Masking tapes are incredibly versatile. You can always find a use for them on small or large surfaces,” says Schiefelbein, who claims she always has a roll on her person. “You could pretty much tape over the whole world, if you were so inclined.”
The attraction of the material lies not just in the numerous designs, but also in its ease of use. And unlike plastic tape, washi tape is made from plant fibre.
“Masking tape can be easily torn off of the roll, applied to diverse surfaces and removed without leaving traces,” explains trend forecaster Claudia Herke of style agency bora.herke.palmisano.
Herke says that although knock-offs are fine for messing around, it’s worth splashing the cash on high-quality washi tape – especially if you’re planning to revamp expensive objects such as furniture.
A classic, simple DIY washi project is greeting cards.
To make one, for example, with birthday candles on it, take a blank card, stick on several strips of tape vertically, and finish by drawing a flame on top of each one. Alternatively, you could spell out the recipient’s name with the tape.
Since you can write on the rice paper tape, it’s also useful for labels – think notepads, folders, jam jars and boxes.
You can also enhance or refresh furniture with a colourful washi border, and even cover the top of a cheap sidetable with it entirely.
What’s more, interior design consultant Katharina Semling says that if you use the good stuff, you needn’t fear it damaging your furnishings.
“Real craft tape is a natural product that lets the material breathe and leaves no traces of glue,” she promises. – dpa/Melanie Oehlenbach