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January 16, 2014 10 Ways to Washi in the Classroom By Meghan Everette
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    Last year I picked up some washi tape at the craft store, not really knowing at the time what I’d do with it. Washi tape is a Japanese paper tape, similar in weight to highlighter tape, but without the plastic coating. It holds (better than highlighter tape, in my opinion) and yet pulls off cleanly. It is easy to tear, so there is no need for a dispenser. You can write on the paper surface with a pencil, pen, or marker. Washi tape is affordable too; I’ve picked up sale rolls for as little as fifty cents. Once you have this cool, patterned tape, what will you do with it? Here are 10 fun classroom uses to get you started.

    Washi tape border

    1. Border

    Add washi tape to any plain paper project and you have a cute, repositionable boarder. You don’t have to mount work first and the tape is easy to take off (think of a painter’s tape-type hold). Add pizzazz, find a tape that matches your theme, or just make note pages look more special. You can also layer washi over border you already have for a better bulletin board without buying all new Bordette.


    Dated washi tape

    2. Date Stamp

    Used in student journaling, work samples, or your own date book, washi tape rolls come preprinted with a variety of fun fill-in-the-blanks. I have a date roll I use in my teacher notebook I tote to all meetings. My students are forever excited about dating their work when they have the washi tape out.


    Decorative cabinet with washi tape

    3. Decorate in Style

    Because washi tape comes in colors and patterns for each season, it makes a perfect simple decorative accessory. I lined my cabinets with peppermint stripes for the holidays and it pulled off cleanly in seconds when I was over it. If you have rules about what you can tack to the walls, washi tape may be the perfect answer. A little washi on the end of pushpins adds a decorative note. Folding the tape on a piece of thread and making bunting, or just taping notes to your board can make a coordinated room pop.


    Math tool labels with washi tape

    4. Student Labeling

    You can write on washi tape, even with pencils, so it makes an easy labeling tool for students to use. Have kids label the parts of a microscope, a diorama, or math tools. Even kindergarteners can control and tear the tape and the removability makes temporary labeling possible. Students can label, turn in work while the labels stick, and then easily remove labels for the next class.


    Washi labels on chairs

    5. Teacher Labeling

    Labeling with washi tape means you won’t be peeling white goo off every container when you want to reuse it. You can label chairs for a game, label the desks, or assign computers without permanent sticking or mid-use peeling. Adding tape to teacher editions or personal books makes them easily identifiable, but you can peel off easily if you ever change classrooms.


    Washi tape lids

    6. Impromptu Lids

    For science experiments needing dark, gifts made for mom, or just to prevent spilling, washi tape can be an easy impromptu lid. Lay strips across a cup and fold or cut edges. Crisscross patterns for a more appealing design.

    Washi tape on cords and chargers

    7. Electric Organizing

    Washi tape on the ends of cords or around chargers can help identify which cord goes where. Much easier to handle than electrical tape, you can wrap cords together, suspend tape from the wall, or flag each student’s belongings.


    Washi tape on pattern blocks

    8. Pattern Block Suspension Pattern blocks stuck together


    Pattern blocks and similar math tools can be frustrating to move around the room or save for later. Simply stick washi tape to the back and the design can travel easily to the document camera, another table, or be saved for later. Put student work on display easily and untape without leftover goo when the work is done.

    Washi tape for math measurement

    9. Measurement

    Washi tape is the perfect solution for measuring. Students can lay the tape on a page to represent what they measured and write on top to show how they measured length. The tape is repositionable if they mess up and is easier to use than lengths of string that we typically use in math measurement. Tip: I would not use the sectioned tape like the one pictured, but a single-color tape instead. The patterns can throw off measurement for young students unless they are even sections.


    Washi tape pencils

    10. Pencil Power

    Washi tape can make pencils cute with little flag ends or wrapped around the entire base. Let students pick and wrap their own as a special prize. Because the tape is made from paper, it can go in a pencil sharpener without destroying the design or the mechanics.



    Where to WashiWashi math voting

    Washi tape is available in craft stores and most major retailers. Check the scrapbook isle for your best bets, but the tape is also becoming a popular addition to wrapping. Sales after the holidays are great times to find holiday patterns, but also plain colors like gold and silver. Be sure to check the yardage to make sure you are getting the best deal.

    Digital Washi

    Digital washi is becoming popular with many designers and bloggers. A quick Pinterest search for free digital downloads yields tons of tape samples that can be used in digital designing.


    Even More WashiWashi tape signature line

    The ideas for using washi in the classroom, and your home are endless. Make a cute pumpkin, label party cups, add bunting to cupcakes, or upscale your notetaking.

    What other ways have you used decorative tape in your class?


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