Washi is a type of Japanese paper traditionally made from the long inner fibres of 3 plants - Kozo (mulberry), Mitsumata and Gampi, but it can also be made from other source materials such as rice and bamboo. The word washi actually means "Japanese paper" and Washi tape is a masking tape made from this paper. Originally it was manufactured by one Japanese company (MT) after a small group of women that had been using their industrial masking tape for bookmaking asked them to make in different colours.
Since then it has exploded in popularity and a number of other companies have enter the arena too. It is now manufactured all over the world and the term washi paper is often used as a generic way to describe decorative tape.
Washi tape tends to have a translucent quality about it and is less tacky then cellotape, so can often be repositioned and can be torn, very much like decorators masking tape. Other types of decorative tape with slightly different properties are now available too, such as tissue tape (more transparent), paper tape (thicker) and fabric tape (stronger and not tearable, like gaffa).
Now you know what it is, what do you do with it? The great news is aside from buying just for its prettiness, it has a seemingly endless set of possibilities. It can be used in many decorative ways for the design, such as decorating cards, tags and even household furniture and or in a more practical for its adhesive properties such as gift wrapping. Why not take a look at our Washi Pinterest board to get truly inspired, you won't believe how many ways it has been used!
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