Friday, October 4, 2013

Make your own wash tape - tutorial!

Commercial Washi tapes
If you aren't familiar with Washi tape, it's a paper tape made with Japanese Washi paper patterns.  The tape has gotten so popular that now it's available in all kinds of patterns. The backing on Washi tape is not very sticky and I often have to glue it down to keep it in place.  Since it's a paper product, it has a translucent quality that plain printed tape does not have.
I got the idea for making Washi tape from a Joggles  tutorial, which showed making Washi tape with tissue paper and rubber stamps.  However, this tape is made using your own art images.  And the best thing about it is that it takes advantage of the Thumbnail Principle.  You know what I mean, in the old Flickr system for posting things your work initially appeared in a small thumbnail size version, and, voila!  It was instantly improved and way better looking.  I consistently call myself the Queen of the Thumbnail (as well as the Mistress of Longears - one cannot have too many titles!)
Here's how it's done:
Use Photoshop, iWork Pages or Word or Excel to make the vertical height of  your image equal to the desired width of your tape, anywhere from 1 1/2 inches to 1/2 inch or narrower.  Copy the image over and over in rows on a printable document.  It helps to space the rows so that they nearly touch each other.  That will make cutting the strips easier.
Printed without photo editing - a bit pale!
 Print the page on your printer.  If the image is pale like the one above, scan it into a jpeg and edit it in Photoshop or i Photo to intensify the colors.
Then print it on paper.  You can use several kinds of paper, but I prefer the translucent papers.  I used vellum which had a white leaf pattern printed on it, plain laser print vellum and tracing paper.  My printer had a hard time handling the trace paper.  It had no problem at all with the leaf-printed vellum, which is technically not recommended for laser printing.
The first row is 1 1/4 inches tall and is printed on the leaf-patterned vellum .  The row below is printed on laser vellum, ordered from Amazon.  Paper Source used to have it, but have not had any for a while.  The first row was printed without intensifying the colors in photo editing.

Next, apply a double-sided tape to the back of the printed page.  For this, I used 2 different products:
Scor Tape - available from Joggles and Peel-n-Stick that I bought ages ago at a JoAnn's or Michael's store.
To apply the tape, just peel off the protective coating from one side and stick it down to the back side of the printed page.  Cover the entire back with tape.

Finally, turn the page to the right side and cut the strips of washi tape!  When you want to use it, just peel off the other protective paper and stick it down!  This tape is a bit thicker than the real thing, but it has your very own imagery! 

Some of the final tapes

 If you try this, please post your results!  I'd love to see them.


  1. This looks so fun, Jeanette. I especially love your fall leaves and moth tape, and garden pots. I might try something like this but use my Xyron (laminator and sticker maker) for the sticky part. Great ideas - thank you!

  2. Diana- That's a great idea; I'm sure it will work!