60+ Things You Can Decorate With Washi Tape

In 2006, three artists from Tokyo asked to tour Japan's Kamoi Kakoshi masking tape factory. As part of their request, the artists sent the company a miniature portfolio of art that they had created using Kamoi Kakoshi's industrial masking tape.

Up until that point, no one at Kamoi Kakoshi had ever considered the artistic application of its product. So when the artists requested colored masking tape, the company, recognizing a golden opportunity, were happy to oblige, and created the original 20 color set of washi tape.

Eight years later, colored masking tape now comes in hundreds of colors and patterns and is sold and produced by companies around the globe under the generic term Washi Tape. "Wa" means "Japanese" and "shi" means "paper" in Japanese.

In addition to its huge variety of colors, washi tape has several additional benefits. It is made from natural plant fibers like bamboo and wheat, so it is less toxic to the environment to produce than duct tape, and is biodegradable. It's also less sticky than it's tougher counterpart. It's easily removable and doesn't leave a sticky residue, so it's ideal for decorating temporary spaces.

Unlike paint, washi tape doesn't require special training or cleanup to use, but it can give professional, paint-like, finished details to otherwise boring objects.

Don't believe the hype? Just check out these these 60+ projects you can create with washi tape.

1. Pimp Your Ride

Richard Drew, a 3M employee, created masking tape in 1925. Drew designed masking tape specifically for auto body workers who complained that the heavy adhesive of regular tape destroyed the paint job on freshly painted cars.

But why use auto paint, when you can use washi tape to personalize your bike, your car, your delivery van, or city bus instead?

2. Wall Paper Tape Your Dorm Room

Dorm décor has come a long way since I was in college (before the earth cooled). That said, most universities still forbid repainting dorm interiors. For anyone who isn't a fan of high gloss Navajo White, washi tape is a great way to add color to your walls, ceiling, floor, and doors on a student budget.

3. Accent Interior Architectural Details

Sometimes a little washi tape goes a long way. Use it to make an archway pop, create an accent wall, showcase a banister, turn a staircase into a sculpture, or add molding to a room that has none.

4. Spruce up Your Bathroom Plumbing

Make the storage area under your sink a little more inviting by wrapping ugly drainpipes in cute washi tape.

5. Rejuvenate Grungy Laminate Kitchen Cabinets

Masking Tape, the washi tape division of Kamoi Kakoshi, is so happy to show you how to spruce up a tiny apartment kitchen with their product.

6. Washi Tape Your Washing Machine

And dryer. And dishwasher. And refrigerator.

7. Upcycle Trashed Furniture

My neighborhood is the neighborhood of lonely old nightstands and end tables. Washi tape hides scratches, coffee rings, and bad paint jobs on dingy tabletops. For a more permanent surface, apply the tape, and then coat with a clear marine varnish.

8. Hack Your Ikea Furniture

Make your generic furniture unique with washi tape.

9. No Furniture? No Problem!

While you search for the perfect bed, why don't you experiment with different headboard styles?

10. Colorize Your Cubical

You spend eight hours a day here. Why not make your cubby as cute as possible? Transform the dry erase board into a large calendar. Fix the filing cabinet. Even if redecorating the walls and furniture at work is strictly verboten, you can still get your secret decorating thrill on with these custom drawer organizers.

11. Customize Your Computer

Take a design cue from film editors who color-code their keyboards to help them remember hot key short cuts, and use washi tape to customize your laptop. But why stop at the keyboard when you can transform the compter exterior too?

12. Why Limit Yourself to Just One Kind of Keyboard?

How about piano keys?

13. Channel Milton From Office Space

I collect vintage staplers. So, I had a visceral response to the red stapler running joke in Office Space. Years ago, I practically started a rumble at work when the HR lady at my former design-obsessed office "confiscated" my olive green, 1970's, 711 model Swingline stapler because it didn't conform to the company-mandated "only black desk accessories" rule. Not only was this stapler-napping carried out during my lunch hour, when my office supplies were alone and defenseless on my desk, but the HR lady had the nerve to leave me a pointed memo that described my vintage stapler as "cruddy" and "old."

To make a long story short, my fight with the HR lady went all the way up to the head of the company, who, after listening to my impassioned defense of classic American design, granted my desk supplies an exemption to the "only black" rule.

Most people do not have to engineer a "staple-off" to prove the value of their office supplies to their employers. And even people who are allowed to select their own non-black staplers from the office supply catalog have slim pickings. There are cute staplers and there are functional staplers, but it's hard to find staplers that are both cute and tough enough for office work.

Cue the washi stapler.

While you are at it, why not turn all your boring office supplies like your clip board, your binder clips, and your plain binders, into theft-worthy, fight inducing, design doodads during your lunch hour with a few rolls of washi tape, that you slyly added to the office supply order?

Not that I've ever done this.

14. Meta Jokes Are the New Irony

Don't forget to give your tape dispenser a washi makeover. Or repair your nerdy glasses with washi tape. (Extra points if you use this tape to fix your specs).

15. Make Manila Less Vanilla

Trust. Your manila files will look so cute. Upcycle used mailing envelopes by using washi tape as a combination wrap-around address label and envelope re-sealer.

16. Bridezilla

Just once, I'd like to be able to wear a bridesmaid's dress this awesome.

Use washi tape to create swoon-worthy wedding props.

17. Give Your Windows a Treatment

Customize dingy Venetian blinds or louvered closet doors. Just stick the tape onto each aluminum or wood slat. Coordinate the color with the rest of your décor, or turn your homely blinds into a design feature by creating stripes or plaid patterns with the washi tape.

Continue a tape mural onto a window.

Fake etched glass for real privacy.

Keep birds from crashing into your windows.

18. Show Off Your Collection (With Your Collection of Washi Tape)

Upcycle thrift store frames. Create a custom matte. Frame a photo. Hang a picture.


How cute is this butterfly collection?

19. Restyle Your Ceiling Fan

I have a love/hate relationship with ceiling fans. They certainly make life more pleasant, but man, most of them are just fugly. What's with the 80's Holly Hobby Styling? Replace the weird tulip lamps with a drum shade for a clean, mod look or make your fan the focal point of a room by decorating the blades.

20. Let There Be Lig… Washi Tape

Washi tape elevates a simple light bulb to art. Revamp dated floor lamps. Hang twinkle lights. Decorate paper lanterns. Add pattern to the interior and the exterior of lampshades.

21. Take Charge of Your Chargers

Do you live or work in a communal space? Is there someone in your life who is always "accidentally borrowing" your chargers? Wrap washi tape around your phone and laptop chargers so you know at a glance which plug belongs to you.

22. Organize Power Cords

Washi tape makes organizing power cords a cinch. Label messy cords or color coordinate them to match their machines. Upcycle toilet paper tubes into cord wranglers for extension cords and Christmas lights.

23. Switch Up Your Switch Plates

Often the ugliest things in a room are the switch plates for lights. That off-white plastic never looks clean.

24. Match Your Toenails to, Well, Anything Else

Washi tape makes custom nail art easy.

How do you decorate with washi tape? Feel free to supply links to your projects in the comments.

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