You can see different terms for washi tape throughout the site such as decorative tape, cute paper tape, decorative adhesive tape, deco tape, masking tape, washi masking tape, washi adhesive tape etc.
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They all mean the same thing here – washi tapes.
Though the materials used may be different, one common thing is that you can find beautiful colors, patterns, texture and designs printed on these masking tapes.
Washi is 和紙 (和 means Japanese and 紙 means paper). It is a kind of paper made using fiber from the bark of the gampi tree or other alternatives like, bamboo, rice, wheat and hemp. More information here.
Have you used any normal masking tapes before?
As you can see below, these are the tapes I have in the house… yellow masking tape, transparent tape, double-sided tape, black tape and cellophane tape (black tape is not in the picture).
I’m really not a tape person and will try to avoid using any kind of tapes whenever possible as mentioned. Just don’t like the stickiness. I remembered I had a skinny double-sided tape which I used for some craft projects.
Because the width is really skinny and sticky, I had a problem removing the white paper of the tape after sticking on one side. It didn’t help much even if I used tweezers. I almost wanted to throw into the dustbin!
On the other hand, the cellophane tape and transparent tape will turn yellowish over time. I can always see yellow stain/spots found on the wall or paper. Of course, they are many other better quality tapes for different purposes and the price tags are certainly high.
Since our purpose of getting them is just to cover things up if something spoiled or use it like glue, therefore we just buy the normal ones and the prices are certainly the cheapest possible.
The adhesive tapes (from the picture above) that I like to use is 3m Scotch double-sided tape and the yellow paper tape on the left (or beige? Not sure what the real name is).
The common characteristic for both of these tapes is that I can tear them by hand just in case I can’t find any scissors or just don’t feel like using any cutter!
Before encountering decorative tapes
My dad likes to use the yellow paper tape if there’s any spoiled or broken item found in the house. He’d use the yellow tape to write and stick on the item to let us know to be careful.
Similarly, he also likes to put a date on all sorts of things when we start using something. For example, he’d write the date and stick on the bottle of the peanut butter jam so that we can trace how long it takes to finish the jam. Or, stick the tape on the wall and put a date after changing the light bulb. Hence, we all know how long the bulb can last!
So I think it’s rather useful. You can see the yellow paper tape has high usage.
Let’s come back to the initial question…
What is washi tape? What is it for?
Why do I talk about all these normal masking tapes?
I’d say washi tape is similar to normal adhesive tape. Both of them are tapes, right?
If your friends were to ask you… what exactly is deco tape? You can tell them it’s similar to normal masking tapes like what you use in the house or office.
However, washi tape is much more different in terms of material, stickiness and functionality such as the following:
- Made from Japanese washi paper
- Thin enough to tear off by hand yet strong enough to adhere
- Re-use the tape because it’s easy to peel and reposition
- Work on almost all surfaces though oily, dusty, wooden or rough surface might have some slight issues (for instance, clear off the oily surface or peel off gently from wooden surface)
- Show off your beautiful handwriting on washi tape, i.e. you can write on it
- Lots of different designs, patterns, colors, textures and pictures
- Make things prettier other than being practical
So, which one do you want to go for, normal tape or washi paper tape?
Do you really need it?
My take on this is yes and no. It’s entirely up to you.
I’d love to tell you to forgo the normal tape and only use washi tape or vice versa. But as with many other things in life, different things have their purpose and function.
Sometimes I use the normal masking tape just to cover certain spots that prettiness is not quite required. Plus, the general ones have a stronger adhesive and can stick better wherever you want it to, for instance, the double-sided tape mentioned in this article. Having a problem removing the residue as the tape is very strong.
Sometimes I use washi tapes on the wall, table, journals, books, cabinet, paper etc. This kind of tape is low tack adhesive. Just tear and stick.
To sum up, both of the tapes have different functions and ways of using them. If you only need for normal use or to cover the hole, usual adhesive tape can do just fine.
However, if you want something to make things prettier or beautify the white wall or blank planner, then washi tape is the answer.
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