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MUG SHOT: The washi tape chronicles (or what happens when obsessions collide)

January 20, 2013 by pam

I started hearing about washi tape a few years ago. During trips to Hong Kong, I’d spot them at City’super – rolls of Japanese rice paper tape in pretty colors and patterns.

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It happened several times – I’d pick up a few packs, go around City’super but because that place is just packed with awesome stuff you can buy, I’d eventually end up returning the washi to the shelves and buying something else. Next time, I kept telling myself. It was Jill who ended up buying a few rolls during one of those trips, using them for wrapping gifts and for handwritten notes.

Another big washi tape fan is Miss Bun, who has been covering her polish packages for me with washi love. In 2010, she also sent me a few rolls which I’ve been saving.

Last year, Uniqlo came out with their MT Masking Tape collaboration. I liked the scarves. Sadly, they only gave out limited edition MT tapes in Japan.

Some weeks back, another friend, Le, asked me to help her figure out where else she can find washi tape here in the Philippines. We spent a considerable amount of time googling, finding some pretty good options.

Tatin is also another washi tape addict, hoarding rolls from online sellers and bringing washi home from her trips to Korea and Bangkok. The incredibly artistic Fozzy is also another friend who is in love with washi.

And now you can say that their washi obsession has rubbed off on me. Because last week, I suddenly felt the urge to finally break open those packs of tape Miss Bun gave me and I washified my planner.

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I had so much fun doing that that I realized I wanted to play with washi more. And that meant I needed more tape. I ordered washi from Hey Kessy, Bee Happy Crafts and Hobby Depot. Then I went to Heima to buy more.

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This is my stash from Heima, Hey Kessy and Miss Bun. I really need to pick up the rest of my tapes from my office.

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Because I wanted to keep track of which tapes I already have, I put swatches in my planner.

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Yes, I’m crazy.

In the middle of my manic washi hoarding, I decided I wanted to create washi-inspired manicures. And funnily, the very next day, Miss Bun posted the same thing on my Instagram – she was challenging me to create washi-inspired nail art.

At my grandma’s 75th birthday party, my aunt and I were talking about washi (she’s cool, she gets me). I was showing her the awesome things people have done with it and she said, “Why don’t you wear it on your nails?”

My original plan was to recreate washi tape designs using nail polish. And because I suck at nail art, there was only one design I knew I could pull off – the polka dot ones. But my aunt was right. I could use the actual washi tape and wear it on my nails. Washi is sticky – it could work like a nail sticker.

So last night, I stared at my rolls of washi and tried to figure out which ones would work.

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My nail beds are tiny so I decided to use the ones with smaller prints and patterns.

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This was my first attempt, which I Instagrammed.

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But now it’s time to show more photos of that mani and the other washi tape manicures I did.

It was relatively easy, I just used washi tape, scissors and a top coat.

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The tricky part is cutting the washi tape to the exact shape of your nails.

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But you’ll get the hang of it.

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I suggest watching TV while doing your nails so you’re entertained while cutting.

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This is how it looked with a top coat.

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The only problem with the top coat is it makes some washi tapes curl up at the edges. It doesn’t happen with all washi tapes though – I noticed that the MT ones weren’t affected by the top coat at all. If you use non-MT tapes for your washi tape mani, I suggest using a sticky base coat or a top coat as a glue of sorts before applying the washi tape. Make sure to apply the tape while the base coat or top coat is still wet so when it dries, it can keep the tape in place.

The second washi tape I used was this math homework design which I think is really geeky cool.

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I like this washi tape, I really do, but it may not be the best choice for a washi mani. I wish the lines were a little more obvious.

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Sigh. Maybe math and I really just don’t mix.

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Here it is with top coat.

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I love this next washi tape mani, using MT tape from Japan.

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My favorite washi tapes are the ones with the weird mix of patterns like this one.

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And I love how well the pattern translated onto my nails.

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Super cool.

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With top coat.

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This one had no problems with the top coat. There was no lifting, no curling up at the edges.

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I really like it.

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I especially love the metallic elements.

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I have one more mani to show you.

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This is one of the washi tapes Miss Bun gave me.

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I love how well this worked too.

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It almost looks like I applied lace onto my nails.

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Pretty.

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This is how it looks with a top coat.

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This washi tape didn’t have problems with Seche Vite either.

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I had so much fun doing these manicures that I could have gone on and on. But I had to stop when I realized it was almost five in the morning.

But this isn’t the end of the washi chronicles, I can promise you that. I have more washi coming and that only means more washi manicures.


16 Comments »

  1. Thank you very much for introducing me to a new obsession. I need millions of rolls now!

  2. The striped MT tape is the best! Looks like you painted your nails using stripers!

  3. June says:

    I had no idea you could put tape over nails like this! It’s so cute! I am definitely going to be trying this. :)

  4. Looks super cute! I wish such tapes were available here in Russia! I guess I should purchase some from eBay ^^

  5. Jacelyn says:

    Pam, I’m back to reading your blog. Love your blog so much!!! Love your post on washi tape. Shall look out whether Singapore have or not. These can be new ideas for my nails to get ready for Chinese New Year.

  6. Tin says:

    I was reading your blog and started to look at etsy for washitapes when i saw one of your photos.. did they ask your permission to use ur photo?

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/122221758/mt-blue-patch-washi-tape15m?

  7. Debie Grace says:

    Awesome! You’re so creative. Washi tapes are so lovely. :D

  8. Calista says:

    CloudNineSupplyShop on etsy sells lots of cute washi tape rolls! I know she ships internationally but I’m not sure what the price of shipping is!

  9. Xtalyne says:

    If you are in the Philippines, Lulu Swing who sells shoes also sells washi tapes on the side, here’s a link https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.503690442999088.123922.374662909235176&type=3

    I bought some during my vacation in Manila last Christmas, the owner of Lulu Swing is a friend and she’s awesome! :)

  10. Hi there! I chanced upon this blog through google. Please also visit momiji crafts on FB or at this website: http://momijicrafts.myshopify.com for arts and craft supplies including Japanese masking tapes of mostly. Limited edition mt tapes also available. Thanks!

  11. nix says:

    wow.. really cute :)

  12. Kim says:

    Great idea! I’ll try this too… :>

  13. Bea says:

    Bought some from http://www.facebook.com/washiworks and they pointed me to your site for this nail polish diy! I’m doing this soon! :)

  14. ancolie says:

    I found this post when searching for others using washi tape on fingernails. :) I know you wrote this awhile ago, but I had a suggestion for the math homework washi tape (and other patterns that don’t show up very well): paint your nails with white polish — and let it dry, of course — before putting the tape on top. It’ll make the pale colors become much brighter and visible. :)

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