The craze for Washi tape is as strong as ever and its uses seem almost unlimited. There are decorating schemes that use washi tape on furniture and walls as well as the more usual stationery and craft projects.

What is Washi Tape?

Washi is Japanese paper, traditionally made from fibres such as mulberry, rice or bamboo and the original washi tape was simply called Japanese masking tape. Over the years, the original plain colours of the tape have exploded into a multitude of decorative designs and though the term washi tape should indicate that it’s a translucent tape made with Japanese washi paper, it’s become a catch-all phrase for all types of decorative tape, even unlovely plasticised tape.

Is it easy to make Washi style tape?

Make decorative sticky tape like washi tape

It’s surprisingly simple to make your own decorative tape and the big advantage is that you have a very individual tape. You can choose a paper (Japanese or otherwise) of your own design and cut it to a width that is best for your project. Use fabric as an alternative. We started to make our own decorative tape to use up some of the paper that gets discarded in the printmaking process like the prints that weren’t up to scratch or the paper used to lift excess ink from the printing plate but it’s so addictive to make that we may start designing prints just to use for making tape.

It’s best to use a thin paper so that your tape is flexible. I particularly like using tracing paper and tissue paper.

How do I make Washi style tape?

Here are the two best and easiest ways to make your own decorative washi style tape.


Paper, double sided sticky tape, scissors, cutter for making decorative tapee

To make your own decorative sticky paper tape, you will need some patterned paper, double sided sticky tape and scissors or cutting blade.

Rotary cutter used to make strips of decorative tape

Stick one sticky side of your tape onto the back of a piece of patterned paper.

Neatly cut into strips and store. When you’re ready to use it, simply peel off the backing strip and stick your tape down.

You can also use this method to make sticky fabric tape.

fabric decorative tape

To make fringed fabric tape, lay the tape along the grain of the fabric. Trim to size, remembering to leave a margin for the fringe, and then pull the threads to make the fringe as above.

If you don’t want your fabric to fray, cut it on the bias to lessen fraying.


A sticker or label maker that applies a thin layer of adhesive to paper is ideal for making decorative tape. I use an ancient Xyron 510 that applies the adhesive to a strip of paper about 12 centimetres wide that can then be cut into strips of varying width.

I find this much easier than using double sided sticky tape as I can use delicate tissue paper. Also the backing paper is far easier to remove than from my double sided tape.

make your own decorative tape using Xyron 510

Feed the patterned paper through the machine, cut and detach.

Peel of the top layer of film and cut your adhesive backed paper to size.

decorative adhesive tape made using xyron 510


Choose repositionable or permanent adhesive according to your project.

Use tissue paper or tracing paper for a translucent tape.

Don’t cut into strips until you know the width you need.

You might also like to read

Five Quick Ideas for Using Washi Tape

Ten Creative Ways to Recycle Scrap Paper

Making monoprints

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