Monday, April 16, 2012

Where to Find Decorative Tape

I've posted several times before as to where to find tape, but since it's a frequently asked question, I thought I'd post again! Here's a revised, updated post with lots of NEW information added!(These are old photos)

TAPE explained
Why use tape? It's another fun element. For some folks (like me), it's a must have. It comes in all forms, colors, sizes and patterns.

I have a whole post here on my absolute favorite, most essential rolls.

What's the difference between all of the tapes?

Here's where some folks tend to get confused.
See the tape above in the little black case as well as those little rolls all tied together far to the right? Those are rolls of WASHI TAPE. Washi tape was developed by MT in Japan. Washi tape is made from RICE PAPER. It's thin, tearable (you don't need your teeth!) and can be layered to create all sorts of fun new colors (as the lighter colors are transparent so you can see what's underneath them!) I love layering washi tape on top of other tape to create my own colors (so, if you layer yellow and pink together, you'll get a fun orange! I also layer them on top of print to make my own unique colorful printed pieces!) In Japan, Washi tape is also called Japanese masking tape or just masking tape (but remember, it's made from what's commonly described as RICE PAPER and it's quite different than the U.S. masking tape.)

Another maker of washi tape is Mark's in Japan.

See that large roll of pink tape in the photo above? That's MASKING TAPE. It's quite different than WASHI TAPE. Masking tape is thicker and heavier than washi paper tape. It comes in a variety of colors, sizes and levels of stickiness (speaking of stickiness, watch where you buy some of the tape. If you buy from a big box store in the hardware section, the different colors represent the level of stickiness for different tapes.) If you tear washi paper tape and then tear masking tape, you can feel the difference in the weight of the two.

See the pink roll (on a dispenser) as well as the two large rolls next to it? Those rolls go by a variety of names (and are not limited to):
PLASTIC TAPE, DECO TAPE, PACKING TAPE, DECORATIVE PACKING TAPE, DECORATIVE PACKAGING TAPE, PACKAGING TAPE, KAWAII TAPE, ZAKKA TAPE, SHIPPING TAPE, DECORATIVE SHIPPING TAPE, STICKER, STICKERS, JAPANESE TAPE, CUTE TAPE, etc... I call it DECO TAPE. It's a decorative plastic tape that also comes in a wide variety of sizes, colors, designs, patterns and more. Some of it is transparent with print (like the 3 rolls in the photo above are all transparent tape with type on them in various colors and fonts.) Some of it is printed and opaque. All of it is fun to use!

(Not shown) PAPER TAPE -a lot of U.S. companies are having tape manufactured (mostly in China) that is a knock off of washi tape. It is NOT washi tape. There are a variety of companies that are selling it and it runs the gamut of different patterns, colors, thicknesses, stickability and price. Tape has become HUGE the last few years and I think it's going to get even bigger with all of the various scrpabooking companies jumping on the tape bandwagon. I'm not knocking it (I LOVE tape in all forms) but I am concerned with quality. Tape should STICK and unfortunately, not all paper tapes do. 

What are the Uses for Tape?

Collage. Decorating packages. Scrapbooks. Art Journals. Mail Art. Decorating things around the home. IF you can stick it down, go for it. The possibilities are endless!

You'll see me use a lot of tape in my work. I use it to attach things to the pages. I use it for flaps that open and close. I'll layer transparent printed tape onto my focal images. I'll add it to a page and journal on it. I'll shred it (with my fingernails) into different size pieces and layer it. I'll frame a page with it. I'll combine it with background paper to create fun collages. It is one of my essential "go to, don't leave home without" items.

My Favorite Tape Vendors:

Ginko Papers-decorative tape AND masking tape an online store in L.A.! Ginko is a great, reliable vendor who ships fast!
Washimatta-another favorite vendor/source for masking tape! Karen is one of my absolute most favorite vendors. If you want to order in bulk, even with shipping costs, her prices are the best around. When I want tape, she is my go to source! Her etsy shop is here. With her retail shop, she always refunds any overages on shipping charges. So shipping charges might be X but she only charges you actual shipping costs (by weight!)
Tapeswell is a company whom I LOVE!! They sell retail and wholesale. I LOVE their tape.
Their label tape is awesome too. I used their tape on my journal page here:
Tapeswell has extended a 15% off of your entire purchase (minimum $10) to readers of my blog if you use the coupon code KELLY when ordering.
Pretty Tape-another etsy vendor I love!
Cute Tape is her retail shop.

From Japan with Love is one of my most favorite vendors/sources

Rob Ryan tape-I LOVE Rob Ryan tape. It may seem expensive but you get a TON of tape on the roll and it lasts forever.

Colored Masking Tape via Pro Tapes

In Person Shopping:

Kinokuniya is one of my favorite shops to search for new washi tape. They have a handful of stores sprinkled across the U.S.
Frenzy Stamper in Scottsdale, AZ sells a variety of tape

The Ink Pad in NYC has tape!

Some other sites including wholesale sites-

Accoutrements tape (Devil duckie, cowboy, cat, Jesus, Bacon, and a few more) google accoutrements tape-lots of places sell them.

NPW in England is the manufacturer of the zipper, barbed wire, chain, bullet, daisy and some more tape.

Lace tape in b & w-takes a few weeks though
Redhorseshoe has the infamous "your call is important to us, please continue to hold tape" and "join the resistance, fall in love"

Some companies I've never ordered from but found on the web:
Omiyage-in Canada (though they ship internationally) They have a great blog!
Azumi and David-fun stuff! Body tape and garment tape!!
French co: Shut up, wood tape, python tape,tinsel tape

Dedece-various tapes including road, train, rivet and more. Type in tapes


The Tape Depot
-custom made tape and more! Not sure about the prices though!! Any site where you have to ask makes me leery!

Fancy That!
-rolls available single or double variety packs

I'm not a huge fan of duct tape but you can get it in a variety of colors, styles and even in sheets at stores such as Michaels, Staples, Office Max, etc...

Tips for Searching Online for Tape:

Go to ebay, google or etsy. Type in washi tape, paper tape, deco tape, kawaii tape, japanese tape, chugoku (paper tape made in China), decorative tape, packing tape, packaging tape, cute tape-everything you can possibly think of to describe tape. LOTS of stuff comes up. Seriously.

Another thing you NEED to know, is that it's not always called TAPE. Some people call tape STICKERS or STICKER. They also say you can cut out what you want. So, sometimes on etsy and other sites you need to search for STICKER as well.


A whole blog on tape!

Can I make my own washi tape?

There are a ton of folks out there offering tutorials for making their own "washi tapes". Sure, you can go to the trouble and hard work of making your own tapes but they're not washi tapes. Try using washi tapes and then making your own and you'll see the difference. Don't get me wrong, I think it's fun that people want to try to make their own tapes, just don't call them washi as they're not. Just my two cents on the subject.


If you have any other sources on tape, please email me at or post here in the comments!!!



Anonymous said...

AAHHHHH! I am having to put a stop to my tape shopping! My job might not be around in a month. It makes me physically ill since I want that new Hambly tape! I know you understand my pain, so yes, I am whining to you, lol. I kept checking to see if they showed it for sale on their site, but for some reason, they take forever to put up their tape! I can admire it from the screen I guess, :(

karen said...

Super blog post Kelly. ;)

Cheers for the mention.


karen said...

Thanks for the information. Being new to art, I don't know one from the other.

Sharon said...

Oh Kelly it was so nice to surprise me with this post for my BD!! LOL! I am out of breath just reading it!! And a discount! Woot! On my way!! Thanx again, my friend.

Peculiarme71 said...

This blog was extremely informative and thank you for sharing the links..I really have had a frustrating time finding Washi tape in retail stores and can't understand with its incredible demand that more arts and craft retailers so not carry an endless supply of it!
Thanks again for sharing :)

Melissa said...

zakka tape? That's a new one.

Kate said...

Thanks for another blog about Tapes Kelly - living in a small town in Western Australia I have used your info with so much success that I am becoming a 'tape-aholic'
I love your blog as you are so inspirational - thank you

Unknown said...

Thanks for the resources and info! I ordered some online this week, and I'm excited to use it! I have a feeling this could turn into an obsession very quickly! I was surprised to see that Hobby Lobby doesn't carry any decorative tape other than duct tape (which I wouldn't use for collages).

LuLu said...

A girl can never have too much tape. Great post!

I'm making my own 'deco' tape, too.

CHeckout my Giveaway when you have a moment or 2!