How-to: Make Washi Tape

DIY washi tape

I keep seeing amazing washi tape craft projects all over the place and wanted to join in the fun! The trouble with washi tape is that it can be pretty pricey. It’s also made with all new materials and shipped across the world to stores here in the U.S. Rather than drop a bunch of cash on something that didn’t totally fit into my crafty philosophy, I decided to try out making my own! Here’s how to make washi tape.

If you’re not familiar with washi tape, it’s decorative Japanese paper tape. You can use it to wrap packages beautifully, in scrap booking, for art projects, to spice up your gift wrapping, or anywhere else that you’d use clear tape.

My inspiration for this project was the fabric paper tape from Annekata. She used glue to attach fabric to the back of brown paper packing tape. I wanted my washi tape to be a bit more traditional, so I decided to try using double-sided tape and a couple of different sorts of paper to see what worked best. Since I wasn’t planning to use the tape right away, I needed to create a backing. Wax paper worked perfectly!*

Ready to whip up some washi tape?

DIY Washi Tape Materials

  • junk mail, magazines, or other scrap paper
  • natural wax paper
  • double sided tape
  • paper scissors
  • rolling pin or brayer

Directions

1. Go through your scrap paper to find designs that you want to use on your washi tape. I tried two different weights of paper: a heavier weight glossy paper and book pages. The book pages worked much better, but you can use either, depending on what you want to use the tape for.

2. Stick your double-sided tape onto the paper. REMEMBER: You want to stick the tape to the opposite side from the design you want to use. You can do one strip of tape or several – however much or little you want to make!

3. Lay the wax paper over the tape, and use your rolling pin or brayer to gently smooth it in place. You’ll want to roll over it a bunch of times, so that everything is nice, smooth, and even.

4. Flip your paper sandwich so that it’s wax-paper-side-up. You should be able to make out where the edges of the tape are, because they’ll be slightly darker than the rest of the page. Use your paper scissors to carefully trim away the excess paper.

DIY washi tape back

See how it’s slightly darker at the top where the tape is?

5. You’re ready to use your washi tape! When you’re ready to stick, just peel away the wax paper to expose the adhesive, and tape to your heart’s content!

washi tape backing

* A note about wax paper – a lot of conventional wax paper isn’t actually coated in wax, but a thin layer of plastic. If you can find natural wax paper, like in the photos above, that’s ideal. I found mine at Sevananda, a natural foods co-op near my house. You might have good luck finding natural wax paper at Whole Foods or another health food store.

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