7 Things about Washi and Washi Tape: Japan

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Source: Saaleha Bamjee

It is without a shred of doubt that you indeed have come across it on many occasions or read about it on your favorite crafting blog. A question pops, though, what is this Washi and Washi tape that so many are acquainted with and rave about all day long? Lucky for you, we have come up with a detailed list of all that you ought to know about Washi and Washi Tape together with crafty ideas you will cherish as you interact with this famous Japanese paper and tape. Simply watch out that you don’t get too attached to it that you forget other endeavors also exist.

1. What is Washi?

Source: 準建築人手札網站 Forgemind ArchiMedia

First of all, Washi is a Japanese word, wa meaning Japanese and shi meaning paper. Washi is a style of paper that was first made in Japan. Most of the times, people tend to refer to it as Wasabi, an honest mistake of course, and one which is understandable enough considering the name Washi itself originates from Japan. The perfect way to go about describing Washi take is talking about how it looks like or rather that it feels much more like a masking tape. It is typically made from paper but not as delicate as anyone would anticipate. Additionally, it is usually available in a million allusive shapes and patterns such that every crafter gets a funny or splendid idea on exactly what to do with it.

2. How Washi and Washi Tape are Actually Made

Making Washi
Source: Hideyuki KAMON

The production of Washi has no significant difference from that of the ordinary paper. The striking diffence is that Washi making relies majorly on long and sophisticated manual techniques. The entire process often happens in the cold winter where the cold temperatures inhibits the destructive bacteria, prevents and minimises decomposition and helps the fibre contact giving the paper a crispy feel in the end.

Washi tape on the other hand is a paper made from the long inner natural fibers of three plants; kozo, mitshumata, and gampi. You can think of it as a high-quality masking tape made from the bark of gampi tree, mitshumata shrubs, and paper mulberry. Also, making it from bamboo, hemp, rice, and wheat is possible. It is often made from the barks of select trees which are native to Japan. This makes most of the Washi Tapes unyielding, in fact, as strong as the great duct tape in some scenarios and undoubtedly, washi tape is now the new favorite crafting tool; way better than ordinary tape.

3. Who Uses Washi?

Source: Charles Chen

No single person can answer this question correctly since there is no such a thing as a limit for the users of Washi. Every living creature can put Washi into some good use, but definitely, there is that percentage of the population that can maximize the utility of the dashing Washi. The people in context here refer to the artists who can draw, print, dye, paint, stitch, cut and paste the paper onto numerous surfaces to give it a new look and meaning altogether. Bookbinders as well fall in this category where their task becomes quite simplified. Others in this class include the conservators, craft persons, graphic designers, interior designers, painters and drawers, manufacturers and print-makers.

4. How to Use Washi and Washi Tape

Trying to list down the things one can do with the Japanese paper Washi and its masking tape, Washi Tape that is, is a tedious job that is close to impossible in the real sense. However, there are a few important ideas summarized below that one can enjoy doing when having the these in hand. For one, you can come up with attractive flower pots and vases. All you will need is are flower pots, Washi tape, scissors and mod podge. Just choose tape colors and patterns that best suits you. You can now decorate your pot by cutting the tape into preferable sizes and then seal the pot with a coat of mod podge and wait to plant your flowers. You can also wrap gifts in simple yet attractive wrapping Washi papers just as you would use a ribbon. Impressive right?
Think of a wedding ceremony then. Washi tape umbrellas can color it and make it so memorable. The list is endless, and some of the other things you can do are making snack packs, wrist ties, flower pens, chopsticks and much more.

5. Decorating using Washi and Washi Tape

Washi Decor
Source: Saaleha Bamjee

Here comes another fun filled activity. Decorating with it most of the times leads to obsession and crafters tend to spend all their time just mingling with it. Honestly, it’s so fascinating that you can come up with all sorts of imaginable decors and patterns from simple rolls of Washi and Washi tape? Can you believe that you can color your window blinds, make tiny colorful flags from Washi tape by wrapping it around toothpicks or even decorate your home appliances and utensils? Wait a minute still. The computer geeks can go a step further and also decorate their keyboards. Frankly speaking, there isn’t any single thing that the all-rounded Japanese Washi tape can’t transform its appearance.

6. How does the Washi Tape Price Fair?

5 Japanese Yen
Source: Celso Lemes

Many have a tendency to ask why this famous Japanese washi tape is so expensive, but the reality of the matter is, the tape is far much cheaper compared to the value that it has. As a matter of fact, it is way cheaper even compared to other tapes. What most people usually do is compare it to other tapes and that’s when trouble lands in paradise. Mind you most washi tape, typically come with a tape that’s 15 meters long. That is almost 50 feet of just tape. Again, a single roll costs about $4.5 which makes it only $0.5 per meter. Can you purchase different imported ribbons at that price?

7. Its Difference with Japanese Masking Tape and Deco Tape

Deco Tape
Source: myam

Its surprising enough to learn that there is no difference between Washi Tape and the Japanese masking tape. Statistics show that the tape was initially marketed as the Japanese masking tape until when it got an international accreditation as Washi Tape.  In Japan, though, it is acquainted with many as masking tape and the most pre-owned or widespread brand is the ‘mt’ (masking tape that is). With the deco tape, however, a slight difference exists where the former is a plastic tape. It somewhat feels more like a thin tape fit for packaging, but it is rather stickier than the celebrated Washi tape. Hence, this characterizes it as a less lucrative option for crafting as compared to the decorative Washi tape.

Have a good trip and travel!

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Asia, Japan