Washi tape is one of those things you don’t think you need . . . until it proves addictive. Simply called masking tape in Japan, this decorative, low-tack tape replicates the patterns and textures of traditional Japanese washi—a handmade paper made from the bark of shrubs such as mulberry, or kozo and painted or printed in intricate designs. These days, there are myriad versions of washi tape, and though not all of them are made with real washi, they are similarly lightweight (and often semi-transparent) but tough. The standard width is 15 mm, or 0.59 inches, but you can find a range of widths to suit your needs. Use washi tape to wrap gifts, seal letters, or accent scrapbook pages; you can even tear off strips to label jars or repair torn papers. Good washi tape should stick well and not curl up, yet be easy to peel off and reposition if necessary. It comes in all sorts of colors and patterns, and while choosing a set can be highly subjective, we’ve rounded up some of our favorites below.
1. MT Washi Tapes
The original washi tape, MT was created in 2006 by the Japanese company Kamoi Kakoshi, which has been making industrial adhesives for over a century. The tape is thin but strong; it is reliably sticky but will remove easily without leaving as residue. This set features 10 solid hues from pink to lime green. They are lovely when used alone but can also produce striking effects when layered.
2. Darice Yellow Washi Tape Assortment
One of the goals of decoration is assembling a visually exciting array of designs that don’t clash with one another. This pack of eight rolls from Darice makes that easy by including eight different designs in the same color. You get tape with stripes, polkadots, chevrons, and more patterns. Besides looking good, the tape comes off the roll easily and adheres well to most surfaces. All rolls have 10 yards of tape except for one dotted roll, which provides just 2 yards.
3. Scotch Washi Tape
The biggest name in tape now makes a high-quality washi tape that is also budget-friendly. This set features five bright colors that can be mixed and matched in dozens of combinations. These tapes are slightly narrower than some options on our list, but this makes them particularly good for covering small areas with precision. They look really good together or layered, so you can get creative with them. The tape is easy to tear by hand and has excellent adhesion. You can also remove it easily, and it won’t leave any residue. Each roll contains 5 meters (about 16 feet) of tape.
4. Kamiiso Saien masking tape
The patterns from this Japanese manufacturer are especially appealing. The rolls feature prints of things from cute cats (as in our example) to flowers to chocolate-covered fruit. The style is sophisticated, not cheesy, and delicate details are captured in soothing colors. Made of high-quality washi, these are artworks on their own. Sure, they’re not the best for writing on, but as pure adhesives, they’ll certainly make you smile wherever you stick them.
5. Bande Writable Washi Tape
Like washi tape, these washi stickers are repositionable. That makes them especially handy for writing reminders or greetings. The stickers in this set are designed to resemble rosettes—perfect for conveying your encouragement or congratulations—and come in a variety of attractive colors and patterns. They are vibrant and eye-catching, and they won’t fade over time. Unlike standard washi tape, they have a paper backing, so take note that there’s an extra step of peeling each sticker you use.