diy washi, patterned tape

I love the idea of Washi/Patterned paper tape… and I love my game table that I covered in paper tape.

However, I have (once again) discovered that I am a fussy crafter — at any given moment, I never have quite the right pattern/color/style of tape. I think that even if I had every available pattern/color, I would end up not having the right tape at the right moment.

And that got me thinking… because I do have this nifty roll of double-sided tape… could I make my own patterned tape?

diy washi patterned tape

Yes, I can.

diy washi pattern tape
As you can see from the picture, I’m preparing to make fancy tape out of a map from an old book, a thrift store silk neck tie, and some green tissue paper.


  • Double-Sided Tape
  • Various Papers
  • Straight Edge
  • Craft Knife, Scissors
  • Wooden Spools (optional)
  • Rubber Bands (optional)


This is so simple (and a wee bit addictive).  Mark my words, you will be looking at everything in your stash wondering if you can make tape out of it.

1. Place the desired paper (or fabric) “right side down” on work space. Leave the “backing paper” on the double-sided tape and run a line of tape (sticky side down) on top of your paper. The most important thing to remember is that you are placing the tape on the “back” of your paper or fabric.

2. If paper, use the ruler and the craft knife to trim off the excess paper. If fabric, use the scissors.

What you’re left with is a strip of tape that has your material on one side and the original white paper backing on the other side.  For simple storage, wrap the tape (white paper side “in”) around an old thread spool and secure with a rubber band.

For even simpler storage, toss your tape in a plastic zip bag and toss the bag in a drawer. But be forewarned, this option, while simple, does not photograph well.

“Need pretty pics for the blog,” is definitely the mother of some invention.

When you’re ready to use the tape, just peel off the paper backing and apply. Here’s an in progress pic of wrapping the “tissue paper tape” around a plain piece of cardboard.

diy washi pattern tape

And as I looked around my stash, my eyes fell on the finely shredded landscaping foam:

diy washi pattern tape

Yep, it worked!  Be forewarned, the landscaping foam tape sheds a bit.  This is one I would make on an “as needed” basis instead of prepping ahead.

Overall, I really like the freedom of making fancy tape out of whatever I happen to put my hands on… it’s all going to be different now. *knowing nod*  


If you’re sitting around puzzling about the basic premise behind image transfers using a InkJet printer (and, wow, who isn’t), let me put your mind to rest: it’s all about “floating” ink on a non-porous/semi-porous surface and then using some sort of burnisher to transfer that floating ink to a porous surface where it will sink in and dry, effectively “staining” the porous surface.

If you read this blog, you know I’ve had my issues with image transfers (here and here), so when I was working on yet another project requiring a transfer, I decided that until I found a quick and easy transfer method, I would not rest.

Which is, of course, when I realized that the answer to my puzzling was the familiar and comfortable answer to so many of my puzzlings: duct tape.

This realization led me to experiment with a wide variety of tapes (two types of duct tape, clear packing tape, tan packing tape, blue painter’s tape, white artist’s tape), and, frankly, all of them work to a certain degree.

Any of them would do in a pinch. Okay, not the white artist’s tape, but all of the others.

After way too much experimentation, there were three tapes closely ranked as the top performers: 1) Standard Silver Duct Tape (I happened to use 3M brand), 2) Nashua brand Transparent Duct Tape, and 3) Blue Painter’s Tape. These three tapes had the least amount of problem with the ink “beading up” and causing blotches in the transferred image.

The #1 limitation to image transfer by tape is the width of the tape. If you butt strips of the tape together, you end up with tiny strips of no ink (at the butting). If you overlap the tape, too much (and even a little might be too much — this is highly dependent on the image), you end up with hills and valleys of ink making an extra dark or light strip.

Which may be why the blue painter’s tape did not win in this experiment — it works extremely well, but I only had a very narrow roll and quickly became irritated by the inability to print even a small image without attempting to compensate for the “hills and valleys”.

Besides, duct tape is inherently cooler than painter’s tape.


- InkJet Printer
- Ordinary Printer Paper
- Image to be transferred
- Duct Tape
- Burnisher (for the most part, I used a wooden tool designed for sculpting clay, but a wooden clothes pin, a credit card, and an acrylic roller also worked)

duct tape image transfer (laserjet)

STEP 1: Print the image(s) you wish to transfer. This gives you a guide for placing the tape and will help with lining up the image when you wish to transfer it to a new surface.

STEP 2: Cover the image with duct tape.

STEP 3: Print the image(s) again, this time on the duct tape covered paper. At this point, I’m compelled to offer two bits of advice and a caution: 1) always leave a border of plain paper (no duct tape) on all edges (particularly the lead edge that feeds into the printer; 2) before placing the duct tape covered sheet of paper in the printer, remove all other paper from the loading bay — this prevents the duct tape (even the non-sticky side) from “grabbing” the paper below it; and 3) Odds are that all InkJet printer manufacturers recommend against running duct tape through your printer… do so at your own risk.

burnish duct tape image transfer (laserjet)

STEP 4: Place the printout, duct tape side down, on the surface you wish to transfer to — in this case, orange and white checked cotton fabric. Hold the paper down with one hand and rub the back of the image with a burnisher of some fashion.

That’s all there is to it. Here are some examples of duct tape image transfers:

duct tape image transfer to cardboard, paper, wool felt

Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the duct tape as a quick and easy way to get digital images onto fabric as a pattern for embroidery, needle felting, fabric paints, etc. Sometimes, as with the pumpkin images on the wool blend felt, image adjustments are needed for a solid transfer (in this case, thicker lines).

duct tape image transfer to wool blend felt, cotton, silk

duct tape image transfer to bass wood

duct tape image transfer to bass wood

While both the silver and Nashua transparent duct tape worked well, the transparent tape repeatedly edged out the silver for transferring small details in photographs.

silver vs transparent duct tape image transfer

I’m pretty happy with this quick and easy transfer method — after all, who isn’t happy when using duct tape?

All right, one last transfer image:

Now if I could just suss out a way to use WD-40 for image transfers…

UPDATE: Over on Craftster, some folks pointed out that duct tape is now sold in 8″x11.5″ sheets — how perfect is that? But be aware, I did some googling about and while the sheets eliminate the issue of “tape width”, they are a bit pricey (running $1-$2 per sheet).

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DIY Silicone Clay

In one of Michael DeMeng’s online classes, he mentions Sugru — an amazing air-cured silicone-based “clay.” It’s perfect for making items that need a little “bounce” — like octopus tentacles.

Unfortunately, I don’t currently have a need to make octopus tentacles, so I couldn’t justify the cost of a packet of Sugru to play with… but Michael also mentions “DIY silicone clay”. I started googling and ended up at this Instructables page that uses a combination of 100% silicone caulk and cornstarch to make an inexpensive Sugru substitute.

Working from that tutorial, I started playing with silicone and cornstarch (not expensive at all) and found that to make a suitable/moldable clay, the best mix ratio is approximately 1:1 (e.g., 1 tablespoon of silicone and 1 tablespoon of corn starch), heavy on the corn starch.

DIY Silicone Clay Ingredients

100% Silicone Caulk (there are mixed reports on whether the GE Silicone Brand works with this method)
Corn Starch
Food Coloring (optional)
Popsicle Stick for Mixing
Container for Mixing
Rubber gloves to protect skin

1. Place equal amounts of silicone and corn starch in container.
2. Add 1-2 drops of food coloring.
3. Use popsicle stick to mix thoroughly. Add cornstarch to reduce stickiness, silicone to increase stickiness.
4. Mold into shape as desired.

It really is that easy.

One difference between the 1:1 clay and Sugru? It doesn’t stick to anything, not even itself. So if you want/need to avoid using an additional adhesive to attach your clay object to something else, you’ll either have to pony up the bucks for the real Sugru or increase the amount of silicone and decrease the amount of corn starch… which makes it sticky and much harder to work with.

The “clay” sets up much too quickly for me to have much success with sculpting elaborate details. Additionally, since the 1:1 mix doesn’t want to stick to itself, I found I had to add a bit more silicone (to increase stickiness) any time I wanted to add more clay to the working piece. Not particularly convenient.

The original Instructables page uses linseed-based oil paints to color the silicone… I used the food coloring because I happened to have it on hand and it worked great.

Oh, and keep in mind – silicone does not like acrylic paints (they flake/rub off). I knew this and still gave it a shot with a couple of different brands of acrylic paints — guess what? They flake off.

The following video demonstrates the sproing-factor of the cured clay.

So now I’ve played. I still don’t have any use for silicone clay at the moment, but at least I’m prepared for the moment I do.

That’s a relief.


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