How to Use Washi Tape for Prettier Gift Wrapping

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Adding washi tape to your gift wrapping routine is sure to impress—and it's easier (and cheaper!) than you think.

Tired of plain Jane gift wrapping? Want to learn how to wrap gifts like a pro? To add a splash of fun to your wrapped gifts and make them look professionally done, adding washi tapes can make all the difference. This affordable paper-based tape is a crafter’s secret weapon for out-of-this-world gift wrapping.

Washi tape elevates average looking gifts to works of art without any technical know-how or fancy bow techniques. Here’s what to know about the Japanese gift wrapping trend that’s coming soon to a Christmas tree near you.

What is Washi Tape?

“Washi tape is a type of Japanese decorative adhesive tape,” explains Kimberly Boschee, the owner of Presentation Matters, a business focused on high-end gift wrapping. “In its most traditional form, it’s made from Japanese shrubs. Here in the United States, it is typically made from tree pulp.”

The tape’s ease of use and pretty designs have helped it catch on with Americans of all ages. “Now it’s sold in practically every craft store and specialty paper stores. This paper tape comes in a variety of colors, patterns and textures and is most commonly used for crafting, journaling and fun gift wrap applications,” Boschee says.

How to Use Washi Tape

Think of washi tape as your wrapping paper’s best accessory. It’s the standout belt you add to your favorite little black dress, but not necessarily the outfit itself. It’s an accessory that also has some practical benefits. “Washi tapes embellish any plain gift wrap—especially brown craft paper—with whimsy and flair,” says Boschee. “It’s easy to tear without scissors, and you can create patterns, initials and shapes.”

She suggests pairing washi tape with string to create a garland-like effect. Simply cut the tape into flags or squares and then artfully drape them over your wrapped packages. If you’re feeling adventurous, use alternating colors and patterned tapes to create a plaid-style look. Use the tape to play up a family member’s favorite colors or creatively separate one person’s gifts from another’s. You can also dress up hard-to-wrap items like glass jars and packaged foods with colorful washi tape as a creative take on wrapping.

If you’re not feeling terribly crafty, don’t worry. Using washi is also just a fun way to add color and personalization to your adhesive choices. Instead of using invisible tape in small doses, feel free to secure wrapping paper with wild amounts of washi tape. Festive!

Our Favorite Washi Tape Picks for Holiday Gifts

8 Pattern Washi Tape SetVia OccasionalMotto/Etsy.com

8-Pattern Washi Set

The sheer number of designs in this affordable set of eight washi tape rolls make it a stand-out choice. Patterns featuring winter blues and garden scenes make for easy personalized gift wrapping during the holidays and all year-round.

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Thin Foil Washi Tape SetVia amazon.com

Thin Foil Washi Set

Four dozen washi rolls for less than $7? Yes, please! You’ll love using these narrow tapes for plaid accents, name lines and so much more. The bright patterns are a hit with reviewers, too. “Exceeded my expectations,” writes one verified Amazon reviewer. “Each of the 48 rolls is separate, super cute, easy to peel and sticky as they should be. Great buy for your money.”

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Productivity Washi TapeVia Erincondren.com

Erin Condren Productivity Washi Set

This set was created for clever organization, but using Erin Condren’s weekly productivity-focusing washi on gift wrapping is a fun way to map out plans for you and the ones you love. Consider using it as an accent element and then filling in the labeled days with the ways you’d use the gift together.

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Christmas Washi Tape SetVia Michaels.com

Say Freeze Crafting Washi Set

This winter-themed package of washi tapes is a Christmas delight, and just what you need to dress up festive gifts. The set comes with 14 adhesive-backed rolls in a variety of seasonal prints and colors that are sure to bring holiday cheer to even the simplest wrapping papers.

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Dog Themed Washi Tape SetVia Michaels.com

Dog Washi Set

Whether you’re wrapping gifts for Fido or your favorite dog mom, this pooch-powered washi set offers ultra-cute paw prints and a variety of snuggle-worthy dog faces. Consider sealing bags of home-baked dog treats with this washi as small tokens of kindness for neighbors with dogs.

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Greenery Themed Washi TapeVia Walmart.com

Foliage Washi Set

All eight washi rolls in this set are perennial favorites thanks to gorgeous foliage prints with leaves, cacti and trees. The mostly green backdrops offer a dose of holiday spirit against red or brown wrapping paper and make an excellent thematic choice for nature-focused gifting. May we suggest indoor plants?

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Grid Washi TapeVia Amazon.com

Knaid Grid Washi Set

Scoop up this useful set of 14 washi rolls if you’re into minimalist design and modern elements. Each roll measures over 26 feet of roughly half-inch wide tape, which means you’ll have plenty of sleek, stylish packages to go around. This set is also useful for birthday gifts!

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Gold Foil Washi TapeVia Walmart.com

Scotch Expressions Washi Tape

Good ol’ Scotch tape is in the washi game too, and that’s a good thing because their adhesives are second to none. If you’re using your washi tape to secure packaging and want utility over everything else, this set of eight rolls is sure to please. Not only are they ultra-sticky, but this set is also easy to use, cut and match.

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Bryce Gruber
As Home Editor, Bryce Gruber is an expert in gift ideas, shopping, and e-commerce at Taste of Home. You've likely seen her work across a variety of women's lifestyle and parenting outlets and on TV shows. She lives and works in New York's Hudson Valley with her five small children.