Washi Tape: How To Get Crafty with the Kids, Cheaply and Mess-Free

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People have often described me as “crafty” and “creative.” While I’ve doodled some doodles and I’ve written some poems, I’m not a painter or anything super-cool like that. I just like to create from not-so-raw materials, making things pretty or special, usually for a gift or home-decor need.

I’ve let my crafty ways slip by me in the years since becoming a mother. I rarely have time to create a quality project, and I dread the cleanup. Add the thought of my kids invading my crafting time, and Captain Anxiety nearly throws away every art supply she owns. You’d think a creative and fun-loving woman like me would gladly share her artsy side with her children, but no, not this lady. I can be so unbelievably stingy with my craft supplies; I don’t know what comes over me!

Best news ever? I realized the errors in my greedy ways before it was too late (all art supplies are intact and safe in their bins and boxes), and I started setting each child up with her own stash of crafting supplies. Lily, my youngest, has tons of stickers, felt pieces, foam shapes, bits of ribbon and paper for randomly sticking to paper, and she loves it! Joce has gotten sophisticated with her appreciation for crafting, which I LOVE, and so I’ve begun a sewing stash for her. She also has a good selection of painting supplies and jewelry-making doo-dads.

Whew! Crisis averted! I have successfully allowed us all to craft without them actually touching MY stuff. Which still makes me feel horrible. But! This brings me to my newest crafting addiction: Washi tape.

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I am in LOVE with all things Washi tape!  I am always late to the game (crafting, fashion, food trends, etc.) so chances are you’ve probably already heard about this stuff. Just in case you haven’t, let me introduce you to my new friend, Washi tape.

“What is Washi tape?”

This is the question I’ve been asked the most since unveiling my complete adoration for the stuff.

The best way I can describe Washi tape is that it is really pretty masking tape that originated in Japan. I’ve seen it in different widths, and each brand I’ve tried out thus far has a slightly different texture, adhesive quality, and transparency. Some Washi purists say it isn’t Washi if it isn’t transparent, but plenty of other quality, non-transparent products challenge this statement. The most common attributes I’ve noticed in my short but passionate relationship with Washi are the papery texture, the surprising sturdiness, and the ability to re-adhere the tape after lifting it from a surface.

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So pretty! Some Washi I received as a gift in March.

I first met Washi tape via a Facebook group I’m in for subscription box enthusiasts. A flash sale from Paxton Cove was posted, and I figured for such a good deal, I’d give the stuff a try and maybe revamp my crafty self.

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My Washi haul from Paxton Cove: 10 rolls for $6.89 shipped.

Once I clicked Place Order, I started getting the itch. You know, the itch you get when you Must. Craft. Now!  So I did what any sane person would do: I clocked out for my lunch break and went straight to the Target in Lexington. I bought two rolls (for $2.99 a roll — not a good price), just so I could start playing with Washi as soon as humanly possible. That was two months ago and I’ve had a ball!

This is around half of my Washi collection.  I need a better storage system...
This is about half of my Washi collection. I need a better storage system …

“Sure, it’s pretty, but what do you DO with it?”

I’ve done some very simple applications over the past couple months and I’m pretty pleased with the results. I made an assortment of items that turned out so much cuter with the simplest application of some pretty tape. The easiest and most appreciated way I’ve used Washi so far is by jazzing up my thank-you notes, envelopes and packages. It is a really fast way to add a pop of color and texture to some snail mail that will bring a smile to someone’s face (or really impress the Accounts Receivable lady at Time Warner Cable).

Both of the scrapbook pages have Washi borders.
Both of the scrapbook pages have Washi borders.
Valentine's goodies for the Husband back in February and some stationary cards for a gift for a Mama friend.
Valentine’s goodies for the husband, back in February; and some stationery for a mama friend

“Well, it sounds fun and looks really pretty. Where can I buy myself some Washi tape?”

Anywhere that sells scrapbook supplies. I have found it in the West Columbia/Lexington area at Walmart and Target. I got really jazzed when I escaped to Hobby Lobby and found their Washi 50% off, making it $1 per roll. It’s some really beautiful stuff. You can also search online to find just about any design your heart desires. Just be sure to keep an eye on roll lengths to make sure you’re getting a good deal.

A few online spots that I frequent are PeachyCheap, CraftySteals and Jane. I’ve gotten my best deals by joining co-ops online. While the quality of the Washi varies, so does the price; and I’ve done well judging what is worth paying more for and what isn’t.

These are three of my favourite rolls so far.  The yellow is from Walmart, the keys is from Hobby Lobby and the pink pattern is from Target.
These are three of my favorite rolls so far. The yellow is from Walmart, the keys is from Hobby Lobby and the pink pattern is from Target.
A co-op order of 'plastic Washi'.  This is more like coloured scotch tape but was super cheap at only $.10 per roll.  These now belong to the kids.
A co-op order of ‘plastic Washi’. This is more like colored scotch tape but was super cheap at only $.10 per roll. These now belong to the kids.

“Thank you for all the information, but why do YOU Washi?”

I feel like Washi is an inexpensive way to easily craft in the little spare time I have. It’s also something I can happily share with my children, since it’s cheap, easy to use and mess-free, which are all WINS in kid crafting!

Lily (who will be three this month) has a pretty arbitrary method of using her Washi but always ends up with something cute that is her own. Joce (who is eight) has more precision and usually ends up with very cool results. We recently spent a mere half-hour together on a Washi project and we had fun while making something pretty and useful for our home. Here are some action shots from our “Washi Switch Plate Covers” project.

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Joce & Lily getting their Washi on …
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Her vision unfolds!
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We concentrate hard when we Washi.
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“Mama! Look!”
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Creating a different look by alternating the Washi strips in different directions
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All done! I think the kid is prettier, but that switch plate cover is mighty cute too!
The end results.  Can you tell who Washi'd which switch plate cover?
The end results. I think they are all fantastic!

I’m trying to find inspiration through Pinterest (here’s my current Washi Pin Board if you’d like to follow me) and general Google-ing, but I’d love some ideas from any Washi pros out there! So answer me these questions:

Do you use Washi tape?  How do you store your Washi tape (or any of your craft supplies, for that matter)? What has been your favorite Washi project? What is the best deal you’ve gotten on Washi tape, and what is the most you’re willing to pay for a roll?

 

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Megan decided at a very young age having children wasn’t for her and she never knew what she wanted to be when she grew up, always feeling lost and empty. As a teenager a life altering experience changed her heart completely. Three pregnancies, two foster children and lots and lots of babysitting later, she figured out what she wanted to be – a mother and a wife! No matter the struggles and juggles, she wouldn’t have it any other way. As a self confessed introvert who struggles to be an extrovert at the expense of social awkwardness, Megan enjoys swimming, reading, cooking (sometimes), the elusive nap (all the time), really good cookies, hosting Mom’s Nights In (and out!), game nights, and the color black. (Notice there was no mention of laundry!) Megan isn’t much for talking about serious things but when she does, she is fierce advocate and tries to create awareness for Drug and Alcohol Addiction, Anxiety Health and the need for Foster Parents in her community. She is a twenty-something-ish mother of two girls, Jocelyn (born July 2005) and Lily (born April 2011). Originally from Upstate South Carolina, Megan moved to the Midlands in June 2010, and has been happily married to her husband David since May 2011.

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