I have a particular artist’s book/ art journal project in mind. My design idea includes a very specific color of washi tape- white. I initially wanted masking tape colored but I think the white is a better fit for my idea. The secondary part of the project includes green graph style tape. Anyway, this led me down the path of washi addiction.
I always test my ideas before spending a lot of time and money on them. I headed to Michael’s with my 40% off coupon in hand to buy some washi tape. The only variety they had was the Tim Holtz line called symphony. At $8 for 2 rolls I was appalled at the price but figured with my coupon it was only $4. I brought it home and began to test my idea and also do a little art journaling. I was instantly disappointed. The tape didn’t stick to my heavily applied layers of acrylic paint. It also didn’t stick to itself well. I liked the look of the page but ended up having to use double sided tape to get it to stick to my page and itself.
Being a mixed media artist I work heavily in acrylic paint in my journal. Many layers of it some heavily applied. I glue shit to my page and torture it into submission. I often refer to my pages as having been muscled into what I want them to do. So I need a tape that STICKS to acrylic, ink, watercolor, collage as well as raw paper. I get really angry with companies that label their products as MIXED media and it clearly doesn’t work with one of the media. This is not Tim Holtz’s fault. He doesn’t work in crazy layers of acrylic paint like I do, he works in thin layers. I’m sure the tape will stick to dauber applied craft acrylic. I need tape that sticks to artist grade acrylic and gel mediums.
I tweeted my disappointment. (Not one word from Ranger btw…) I got a ton of response from other art journalers- try this brand try that brand, I have good luck with x brand. Though sad I placed a couple of orders on Etsy for 2 different brands of Japanese Washi tapes. One I ordered through Washimatta and another through PrettyTape. Both arrived promptly and very cutely packaged.
The PrettyTape package of the gridded tape arrived first. So cutely packaged! I tore off a piece and found it was VERY sticky. The tape felt stronger than the Ranger tape as well. I stuck it to the first heavily acrylic covered page in my journal and it stuck, no peeling of the corners, no lifting just strong sticking to the page. I also peeled the tape off the packaging and used it to stick a penny to the page, it stuck well, though I had peeled it off a glassine envelope. I poured glaze medium over the top of it and let it dry. No color lifting, no curling of the edges and again just sticking. PrettyTape washi tape has a vote of confidence from me. The tape sticks everywhere and doesn’t peel up.
I decided to take part in a little retail therapy in the clearance section at AC Moore after a rough week at work. I shockingly happened up $3 packages of 7 Gypsies colored masking tapes. These are more like American Masking tape than the washi tape but were super cool. At $3 a roll I could not pass them up. I grabbed a package each of the available colors. Spending $6 for a total of 6 colors was a steam. These are a peel and stick tape with a backing. The colors are grungy and rough, the way I like them. I used them to stick a medication package to my journal page. They stick, with no lifting or peeling. I used them again on another page and added a glaze of color over the top and I noticed some peeling but I didn’t burnish them down well on that page. The verdict: For clearance steals the 7 Gypsies tape was awesome. I suspect that it was what we call in the industry a “miss-pick*” as I’ve never seen any other 7 Gypsies product in that location.
The Washimatta tape arrived last, as it came the whole way from Japan. Again super cute packaging, opening these tapes was like opening a gift. I love it. The perfect white tape is perfect for my project. She also included a super thin roll of bright blue tape. It’s very cool. I pulled a piece off the roll and could feel that it had strong sticking power immediately. I stuck it to the same page as the other tapes and again burnished it with my fingers, it stuck, strongly and cleanly. I peeled up one corner and stuck it back down, perfect sticking. I’ve not added a wash of color to the tape as I’m not planning on using it in that manner. But in a typical art journal application of sticking to acrylic paint, it sticks and well. Washimatta tapes get a double thumbs up. I can recommend them.
I’ve got to tell you, like anything that comes in patterns and colors you can get really addicted to washi tape. It’s super cool, adds a perfect line of color to an art journal page and is fast. I’m looking at those solidly colored pieces of tape I bought and imagining them with rubber stamped patterns, sharpie drawings and other embellishments. No need to buy all the funky patterns, or even that many colors. Buy a few rolls of plain colors and ADD to them the patterns you want or a glaze to alter the colors. I’ve seen a whole host of great tips and hints on how to do this online. I’ll get my rubber stamps out for UStream one of these days. I wouldn't have bought it except for my project but I'm glad I've gotten to play around with it.
*Miss-pick is a retail term used to refer to an item that the vendor/ manufacturer accidentally sent you instead of the item you ordered. Usually these are from a vendor that the item can’t be returned. The vendor will give partial or full credit and the seller tosses it, gives it to employees, donates it to charities or puts it on their clearance rack. I’ve got a strong feeling that AC Moore puts their miss-picks on their clearance rack, I often find stuff I’ve never seen in their stores in there and by manufacturers they don’t normally carry. This means that you the buyer can get some really good deals on product they don’t carry.