Trend Watch: Decorative Tape

News flash: Tape is a hot, must-have scrapbooking supply.

For those of you who just said, “well, duh, Melissa,” let me explain. I’m not talking about just any old tape here. I’m talking about the fun, decorative, available-in-so-many-colors-and-patterns-that-it-makes-you-want-to-collect-them-all kind of tape!

Also commonly known as “washi” tape (from the Japanese word referring to a specific type of handmade paper), decorative tape is available to crafters in a dazzling array of colors, widths, and types of materials. Many Etsy shops and small online sellers offer imported washi tape made in the traditional Japanese style, and a large number of scrapbook manufacturers also produce their own varieties of similar decorative tape.

Scrapbook-specific styles of decorative tape are being designed to coordinate with new paper lines, such as American Crafts Mixtapes from the “City Park” and “Dear Lizzy: Enchanted” collections.

Making Memories has introduced patterned tapes for many of its new lines over the years including their latest travel release, “Panorama“.

Decorative tape fits right in with 7 Gypsies’ vintage, eclectic style, and they’ve produced it to coordinate with many of their lines such as “Lille,” “Avignon,” and “Venice.” The patterns are reminiscent of vintage ephemera – 7 Gypsies’ signature look.

Holidays and seasons are another popular design theme for decorative tape. Tim Holtz has some amazing designs in this area, including “Hobgoblin” (Halloween) and “Tidings” (Christmas) versions of his tissue tape.

American Crafts’ holiday-themed tape is also a strong entrant in this category. The “Dear Lizzy: Christmas” version features a gorgeous array of colors and patterns in a single package.

7 Gypsies has a fun Christmas set available in the form of their “Christmas Wrap” collection.

Not even Martha Stewart can resist the attraction of decorative tape, as evidenced by this sweet Valentine’s Day offering.

Many decorative tapes are also being produced as standalone products with no associated holiday or paper line. Perhaps some of the most popular of these are Tim Holtz’s tissue tapes – the timeless patterns and neutral colors of his designs (“Sketchbook,” “Nostalgic,” and “Journeyman” shown below)  make them perfect accents for all types of layouts, cards, and paper projects.

Tim even dreamed up a tape-gun style dispenser for his tissue tapes that’s now being produced by Advantus.

Pink Paislee has several styles of tape available in their Artisan line of generic embellishments, including the Bayberry, Green, Lime, and Red varieties shown below.

Martha Stewart has another entry in this category – the fresh and feminine “Vintage Girl” collection.

Hambly has jumped into the washi tape trend in a big way with their new tapes. Four new collections were debuted at CHA Winter 2011 and have been one of the most anticipated releases from the show.

Digital scrapbookers aren’t left out of this latest trend. Many designers are now including coordinating tape strips in their digital kits as well as offering standalone tape collections. “Patterned Tapes No. 1” and “Defined Tapes No. 1” from Designer Digitals are just two of the many, many styles available.

So what can you do with all of those beautiful products? Decorative tape is a supply that is as versatile as it is varied, and there are myriad uses for it on your papercrafting projects. It makes a wonderful base for embellishment clusters – just tear off a small piece and use it as a way to anchor your embellishments to each other and to the photo block at the same time. You can use it to completely cover die cuts and chipboard (instead of using paint or patterned paper). It’s a wonderful replacement for ribbon or paper strips, and it’s even great at adhering items (imagine that)! Amy Tan is a master at that last one and often uses copious amounts of washi tape in her travel mini albums (you can see one of her more recent works here). She also offers an instant download course at Big Picture Classes called “Get Those Creative Juices Flowing,” in which she covers her use of washi tape along with ideas for making your own.

Another use for washi tape? Fold it over baker’s twine and cut to shape for a fun spin on the pennant trend!


Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper (“Raven“)
Patterned Paper: Creative Imaginations (“Threepio “, “Blueprint” and “Storm Trooper” Die Cut)
Journaling Spot: Anna Griffin (“Darcy” collection)
Letter Stickers: American Crafts (“Poolside” white)
Punches: Martha Stewart Crafts
Baker’s Twine: The Twinery (Charcoal)
Spray Mist: Studio Calico (Calico White)
Decorative Tape: Tim Holtz for Advantus (“Journeyman“)

I’d like to take a moment to thank Japan – a country that has gifted to the world such cultural phenomenons as Hello Kitty, anime, and Nintendo – for giving papercrafters everywhere a trend that they can call their very own. Which reminds me…I found the cutest Hello Kitty washi tapes on Etsy and need to go order some right now!

The staff of Scrapbook Update would like to extend our sincere best wishes to the people of Japan as they work to recover from the recent earthquakes and tsunami.

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10 Responses to Trend Watch: Decorative Tape

  1. Theresa Amlong May 13, 2011 at 5:14 am #

    I live in Japan and I love scrapbooking with Washi tape. I had no idea so many U.S. companies were making such pretty tapes too. I can’t wait to get my hands on some of thoese!
    Here are a few of my pages:

  2. Karen May 13, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    These tapes are amazing.

  3. Lynnscraps May 13, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    Very pretty, but are they acid free???

  4. Naomi A. of Colorado May 13, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    We have used it in our stamping club making cards and it is so easy to use. Many, many colors and patters out there on the market right now! But I as well have wondered if it is acid free. None of them, that we have seen claim this! So I won’t be using it on any scrapbook page any time soon!

  5. Vicki May 13, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    So are these decorative tapes any different from the Heidi Swapp tapes that came out years ago??? I still have a few rolls of those in my drawers. Yet another reason I guess to never purge–because it all comes back in style eventually???

  6. Allison May 13, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    I have some of Tim’s tape. Love it! I didn’t realize that so many other companies were doing this as well. TFS

  7. Barb in Ak May 13, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    I’m wondering if they are acid-free, too. Do they rip easily? (as it is called “tissue” tape)

  8. sandi May 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

    I had no idea that there was so many different tapes! Thank you for the great info.

  9. Gab May 13, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    Great article, thanks Melissa! I love tape!!

  10. Michelle Noble May 13, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    I love the tapes! I have already started using some of them, and they work great.

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