Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

TPiB: Washi – The Kinder, Gentler Tape

We’ve all done the Duct Tape thing. Stone simple and super fun, right? Yeah. But…

We’ve all wrestled with it when it doubles back and sticks on itself. We’ve all despaired when a kid wraps a whole five dollar roll around his pant leg because he’s going to be the Tin Man, then realizes that it’s a bad idea and cuts it off and throws it all away. We’ve done it.

If you’re looking to capitalize on the simplicity and flexibility of Duct Tape programs but want to change it up a little, meet its kinder, gentler cousin: washi tape.

From Just Something I Made

Washi tape was popularized in Japan where it was made from natural fibers. It’s much more similar to masking tape than duct tape, though thinner and more delicate. It’s papery, and comes in a variety of widths. Like masking tape, it is not strongly adhesive, so it can be removed and replaced if your design needs to be changed. Also like masking tape, you can get those little rips that spin around the roll, so watch out and start unpeeling carefully! It is slightly translucent, which makes it a nice material for covering glass. The translucency also lends itself to being creative with overlapping different colors of tape to an interesting effect.

But what do you do with it? Lots of stuff.  You could…
Source: Apartment Therapy
Source: Crafterly
Source: The Etsy Blog
Source: Silver the the City
Or do what I did and make notebooks and matching pencils like in this tutorial.  I bought the notebooks for 89 cents each and the pencils for about $1.50 for a dozen. We skipped painting the pencils, and covered the notebooks in white copy paper with glue sticks instead of white adhesive paper. Here’s how it turned out for me:
If you noticed some other things in the picture… the light switch cover plate, the battery powered tea candle, the bottle turned vase… it’s because this is just so darn easy and addictive, before you know it you’ll have covered your chair legs and pet turtle in funky patterns.  
You can buy washi tape at craft stores, office supply stores, Etsy boutiques, and perhaps least expensively, at Oriental Trading Company. At the office supply store near my home, they were on sale at about $2 per roll. There are so many different colors and patterns that it does add up fast, but since the projects can be quite small, a little goes a long way. 
Another fun way to run a washi tape program with a lot of different types of tape is to run it as a swap.  Invite each participant to bring a roll of tape and provide each teen with a regular ballpoint pen. Let them select the patterns they like and roll a length around their pen before they settle in to work on their project. Each pen should hold at least three and as many as six different patterns of tape, depending on the widths.


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