Ten ways to use washi tape

I’ve been having so much fun with my new Bottle Branch washi tape, and I’m excited to share what I’ve been doing.

First, for the uninitiated, here are a few basic facts about washi tape. Washi tape originated in Japan about 15 years ago when someone had the brilliant idea of creating printed masking tape. It gets its name because early designs resembled those that adorn Japanese washi, traditional handmade made paper. (More history here.) Washi tape is light, slightly transparent paper tape that’s versatile, removable, and kind of addicting.

Here are a few ways I’ve used, or plan to use washi tape since I got mine printed:

(1) Tiny flags for drink. Both celebratory and useful, tape a little flag on the end of a bamboo skewer and this flag will function as a stir, a decoration, and a way to tell people’s drinks apart. They also make a great cupcake topper if you use a tooth pick.

(2) Wrapping votive candles – a prefect way to keep things simple but pretty for your next outdoor gathering.

(4) Mark your devices. After adding the ivy tape to my computer charger, I’m no longer stooping to look closely to see whose charger is whose at my house.

(4) Present wrapping

(5) Decorate a box for a special present and create a reuasbale gift wrapping option. Watch this video if you want to see it done!

(6) Seal an envelope in a pretty way.

(7) Decorate something mundane! I use this little easel for face-timing on my ipad. Even better with a few waving ferns cheering it up.

(8) Personalize a note book.

(9) Flag special sections of your note book.

(10) Finally, this is my FAVORITE way to use washi tape – instead of a paperclip. It holds papers together but slips easily into an envelope for mailing.

I hope you’ll give a few of these ideas a try – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! And if you’d like to try them with Bottle Branch washi tape, you can shop botanical washi here.

Bargello pocketbook

close up modern bargello

Remember this? Last October, I stitched this bargello – a modern, multicolored, aspiring-to-be-Jonathan Adler bargello. After I posted it, I tucked it away for later, not quite sure what to so with it. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had a vague vision of a clutch purse type of bag, but it turns out, I don’t need a fancy needlepoint clutch. (Already have one and I’m not fancy enough to use it very often.)

Wool needlepoint pocketbook.
Wool needlepoint pocketbook from colonial williamsburg.

Only when I revisited my photos from a summer trip to colonial Williamsburg did I know why I had this idea was lodged in my brain. Look at this hand-stitched 18th century pocketbook (photo above), used by the ladies of colonial Williamsburg to store scissors, needles and other sewing notions.

That was when I knew I had to make my own 21st century version. As someone who typically throws an extra needle and a pair of scissors in the bottom of a canvas tote bag, drops her needlework on top, and then periodically struggles to untangle metal bits from thread, I found the idea of having an organized case for the small notions deeply appealing.

needlepoint bargello pocketbook

I particularly liked the idea of stitching it entirely by hand and using all natural materials, as in the 18th century, so I used wool twill tape to bind the edges, and 100% wool felt to line it. The only place I cheated was in using a lighter, thinner rayon to form the gussets that allow the pocketbook to open a bit wider. (I was hoping they would fold in more easily for closing.)

opened up sewing case

When it came time to engineer a method to keep it closed, I hemmed and hawed again. In other projects, I have used magnetic snaps or velcro. I like the convenience of both of these closures but each has their drawbacks, too. (Velcro obscures a large area of the needlework and can also snag threads if not carefully placed; Snaps sometimes open too easily.)

So, again, I consulted the work of the Williamsburg ladies and decided to try twill tape ties for closure. They are certainly not as convenient, but they leave no mark on the needlework and can always be removed and replaced with some small miracle of the 20th century like velcro.

There it is, tied up and ready to go. Now, I am excited to put this pocketbook to use and move on the new projects. The first of which might just have to be a needlecase, so I can get rid of the plastic bag I’m currently using to store my needles.

tied up needlepoint pocketbook