Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How I Gave my Home Office a Makeover with Washi Tape

This weekend, I discovered the wonder that is Washi tape.

I'd only recently heard about it from Pinterest and blogs here and there. I gathered it was tape with designs on it and you could do stuff with it and I was mildly intrigued, but not enough to run out and get some.

Until I decided my desk needed a little makeover.

Transform your work space with just Washi tape.

My desk in my home office/craft room/gym/library (all of about 90 sq. ft.) is a plain brown desk and most of my desk accessories equally plain. I decided since I was trying to blog more and work on an online business, that I needed to make my work space less boring and more inspiring.

But I also didn't want to go out and buy all new desk accessories because that's just more stuff I'll have to get rid of when the day comes that we can finally pull up roots and hit the road in our travel trailer (the one we don't own yet, but ya gotta think ahead).

So I thought I'd just give a couple of the most boring accessories a little makeover and Washi tape seemed to fit the bill.

I had in my head that I wanted to go with pink, gold, and black. I had a few accessories in the room that were black and gold and I just love me some pink.

Now I needed to find some Washi tape. The hubs and I had errands to do, so I tried Walmart first. Mr. Wonderful suggested we look in the laundry soap aisle.

"It's not Wash-ING tape, its Wash-I tape," I told him.

"What's a Washi?" he said.

"I have no idea. I think it's Japanese."

"I think you're making this up," he said, then wandered over to the snack aisle.

I was disappointed in Walmart as they had like 4 rolls to choose from. No black, no pink, no gold.

We tried Hobby Lobby next. I gotta hand it to the hubs, by the way. He actually seemed to enjoy strolling through Hobby Lobby. He was intrigued with the miniature fairy garden stuff because he said they looked like Hobbit holes.

But alas, no decent selection of Washi tape. What the heck?? I thought this stuff was really popular.

The next day I ran to Michael's. I thought surely Michael's would have it. And there it was.

Washi tape selection at Michael's craft store.
I think I heard angels singing.
I was in Washi tape heaven.

Two hours later, I had picked out some tape. I headed home to start my project.

It was pretty straight forward. I wanted to jazz up this...
Boring black desk tray before covering it in Washi tape.
Boring desk tray
And this...
Three tiered Desk storage container before covering it with Washi tape.
Boring (and dusty) paper clip and miscellaneous stuff holder
Using nothing but that:

Washi tape, ribbon and scrapbook trim supplies.
Washi tape I bought, plus some ribbon and scrapbook trims I already had
Anyone get the Apollo 13 reference? When the NASA team had to get a square oxygen cartridge for the module to fit into the round hole for the LEM and the guy dumps a bunch of stuff on the table and says, "...We gotta find a way to make THIS fit into the hole for THIS, using nothing but THAT."

No? Okay, moving on.

How to improve your work space with Washi Tape.

I found the Washi tape to be pretty easy to work with. Here's a few tips I learned while using it:

1.  It works best on smooth surfaces, which both of my objects were. I cleaned the surfaces and wiped them down with alcohol and dried them to make sure the tape would stick.

2.  The more transparent tapes look better when you don't overlap the tape. Washi tape is thin and a little transparent anyway, but the lighter colors are even more so.

3.  Try to line up the design on the tape so it's consistent. You'll see what I mean I show you the "After" picture. One section of the box is not lined up and you can see the difference.

4.  I had read that the Washi tape made for scrapbooking is not as sticky as other kinds, but I found it to be sticky enough. I had put a little glue on the end of the first strip, thinking I would need it, but that just made a mess and didn't help at all. I didn't use any glue and it stuck just fine. I used Recollections brand.

5.  Washi tape can be re-positioned, which makes it super easy to work with. If you realize it's not straight, just peel it up and give it another go.

6.  If you're using the kind that has a peel-off backing, I found it works better to pre-cut the tape, cutting it a little longer than you need. Then peel the backing and apply the tape where you want it. Use an Exacto knife to cut off any excess once the tape is down.

7.  If you're using the kind without a peel-off backing, I just applied the tape straight off the roll, not cutting it first. After it was down, I used scissors to cut it off the roll, leaving some excess. Then I trimmed the excess more exactly with the Exacto knife.

Here's the finished tray:

Desk tray after transforming it with Washi tape.

I used a strip of Scrapbook trim on the back. Notice I didn't cover the whole tray, just the parts that would show when it's sitting on my desk.

For the box, each tier of the box took three pieces of tape. I started with the bottom of the bottom tier, and wrapped the tape all the way around, right off the roll, then cut it. I overlapped the first and last corner a little bit to make sure the tape wouldn't peel up on the corners. I did this three times, so that the bottom tier was all covered.

In retrospect, I should have lined up the design on the bottom tier. You can see it's a little funky in the picture. I suppose I could have unwrapped and rewrapped it, but I didn't feel like it and didn't have time. I figured it was a "now you know" kind of thing.

Also, I should have cut the top strip on the bottom tier lengthwise, so that it didn't overlap the middle strip of tape. Since it was thin, you can see the overlapping. Oh well. You can learn from my mistake.

Here's how the box turned out:

Use Washi Tape to transform a boring desk container into a pretty desk accessory.

I maybe should have stuck to just two designs of tape, or maybe one design with gold trim around the top and bottom of the tiers, but I got a little carried away. What can I say, I like variety.

Both pieces took about an hour, total, to finish. And I have a cuter workspace that makes me smile when I see it.

Transform you work space using Washi tape and making a few simple changes.
And yes, I see the irony in the fact that the sign says Focus but the picture is blurry.
I had the decorative bottle in the kitchen and never used it. I added a bit of ribbon and a sprig of flowers I picked up at Michael's, and voila! Cute vase. The chalkboard I got from Home Goods, courtesy of a gift card a friend at work had given me.
Make a few simple changes to your work space to really jazz it up.
I love my new pink folders too. 
The tray used to be a catch-all with scraps of paper, notes, and whatever else thrown in it. I bought some cute colored folders and organized the notes and things I needed to keep. So now the tray is my inbox where I put the mail before I open it. I feel so organized!

My pen holder is a mason jar tied with a ribbon to match the one on the flower bottle. 

So there you have it. My Washi tape weekend. 

My husband thought I was crazy. As I'm sitting at the kitchen table, painstakingly trying to line up the tape around the box, he says, "You know, this is what tweakers do."

"They do?" I said.

"Yup. And you should have lined up the dots on the bottom tier of the box."

"I know but I'm not going to. Just to prove I'm not a tweaker."

Tweaking with Washi tape,

P.S. Linking up with Haley's Laugh Learn linkup today, where it's all about things related to home and family. And to Sew Crafty Angel for her Wake Up Wednesday Linky Party. Please go check out the other posts and link up if you like!

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