Monday, 9 June 2014

Washi Tape, by Courtney Cerruti

Washi Tape:

101 Ideas for Paper Crafts, Book Arts, Fashion, Decorating, Entertaining, and Party Fun!

By Courtney Cerruti

Quarry Books 2014

Paperback, £14.99 UK, $ 22.99 US, $24.99 CAN

ISBN 978-1- 59253-914-7

Star rating: ***

Chances are that if you are reading this review, then you are in possession of a sizeable washi tape stash. And you are most probably on the lookout for project ideas. Yes, the craft book world has been in need of washi tape book. Look at the cover of this title by Courtney Cerruti.  Yum. It says “buy me.”

Washi tape – the semi-transparent Japanese low-tack tape, often patterned – has taken the craft universe by storm. The subtle colours and intricate designs of this decorative masking tape are irresistible. The ribbon-like tapes have a charming and ephemeral beauty (like many Japanese papercrafts).  But what to do with washi tape, apart from sticking artfully torn snippets on any available surface? That’s where I was hoping this book would provide an assist.

Well, I was just  a teeny bit disappointed – not that this isn’t a very lovely book. Its production values are swish, the photography is beautiful.  But it is more a washi tape lifestyle book than a craft title. An appreciation. Crafting lite – no dazzling new techniques requiring a small learning curve.  More the results of a brainstorming session on what to do with washi. There are lots of pleasant and inventive ideas for using  washi tape. Ideas that are appropriately pitched to tie in with the temporary nature of the material. Which I suppose is what the subtitle promises.

There are plenty of inspired ideas – like the impromptu indoor hopscotch (a half-term life-saver, for sure) – but not much crafting. Flash of brilliance – the “colorized” vintage photos – big fun. Or the surprise message on the Venetian blinds. But also lots of predictable stuff – washi on paper cups, washi tea light holders (these clock in more than once). Also some “get a life” stuff – like the chair partially wrapped in washi tape (looks like a mistake – should have been edited out). Or the washi tape nail art. Just no.

I loved the washi tape photo wall. The perfect combination of form and function.  A temporary gallery affixed with temporary tape. A delightful patchwork of pics and patterns. Speaking of patchwork, the washi tape patchwork design and washi tape plaids are good ideas – I wish practical projects had been made with them.

A couple of the projects which involve covering objects with a patchwork of washi tape strips are very do-able – like the jumbo papier maché letterform or the wooden coat hanger. But, ultimately, they are just washi-covered stuff  – you could have thought of it yourself. 

The section on Washi Tape Storage is very good indeed. Love the idea of using a wall-mounted thread spool organizer. Also the recycled cigar boxes and tin foil box. 

You will also find some handy tips for working with washi. For example, which type of pen to write or draw the slightly waxed washi surface. Or the idea of sticking washi onto waxed paper while assembling larger washi shapes (it can be peeled off later). 

So, a nice gift book.  More of an idea-browse than a making spree.

Note: I was supplied with a review copy of thist book.