washi tape

Washi Tape Frames and My Favourite Quotes

WashiIf you saw my post about my apartment here in Korea, I’m sure you noticed that like all apartments, it didn’t come decorated, and that there were blank walls as far as the eye could see. If you didn’t notice, it’s clearly a testament to my highly creative camera angles (ha) because trust me, they were there.

DSC_1998Slowly but surely, I’ve been trying to decorate as best as I can. This is a one-year living situation (that I am 2 months into already – how did that happen again!?) and I can’t paint the walls, so I’ve had to get a bit creative. Challenge accepted!

DSC_1995I was inspired by this washi tape frames project I saw on Pinterest, originally from Design Sponge. I was also inspired by Recite This, a website that takes any quote or phrase and transforms it into a beautiful poster with a design of your choice. So I pulled together a little gallery wall with some of my favourite sentiments, most of them taken from my Pinterest board full of quotes I find inspiring.

DSC_2019This project really doesn’t require a tutorial. All it takes is a little inspiration, a bunch of washi tape, and dash of creativity. I bought my washi tape at Daiso stores in Korea and Japan (the Japanese stuff was much stickier and better for this kind of project!), but you can find coloured and patterned tape at any craft store.

DSC_2013Print off some quotes or rip some beautiful photos out of magazines and you’re ready to go! I just put mine up in an arrangement I liked and tried my best to tape in straight lines. I failed, of course, (case in point: the above photo) but I’m still happy with the results.

washi collageHere’s my wall so far. On the left is a cute fabric flag with an ice cream cone on it I bought in Japan. The turquoise poster is just a flyer that I picked up from a stack of advertisements at the Tokyo Metropolitan building. I don’t know what either of them say, so if I have any readers that speak Japanese, please let me know! There’s also a funny little poster with the line “I’m very font of you because you’re just my type”, because I’m a nerd when it comes to typography.

Then I have a collection of some of the quotes that I love. These quotes are such great reminders of many of my favourite life philosophies and seeing them on my walls always gives me a mental nudge in the right direction.

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” – Aristotle / This idea is always a solace to me when I’m getting frustrated about one particular photo, or blog post, or day of the week, or interaction with a loved one. To me, it means you have bad days but a good life. You may hate something that you create but begin to appreciate it from a distance or when you see how it works with other things you’ve made. If you make a mistake you can start over tomorrow. How you live 80% of the time matters more than the other 20%.

“I want to feel my life while I’m in it.” – Meryl Streep / I want to appreciate the special, magic, wonderful moments as they’re happening instead of after the fact, when I’m looking back. I want to be present and fully engaged for the good stuff (and for the bad stuff). I don’t want to feel like I missed the moment. These are the days!

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt / Self-explanatory, but that doesn’t make it any easier to remember. I struggle with comparison every single day. This quote reminds me to get out of my own head and try my best to stop it already with the comparing game.

“The grass is greener where you water it.” – Neil Barringham / A similar sentiment is “Grow where you’re planted.” This one reminds me that life is what you make of it. With a few exceptions, moving to a new physical place isn’t going to solve all your problems – wherever you go, there you are. And even in the cases when a change of place was really necessary for your emotional wellbeing, it’s still up to you to make it your own.  To me it means: make the most of every situation and opportunity. Reach out, grow some roots, do your best. You don’t get another ride on this merry-go-round.

“No matter what the situation, we are very lucky.” – Julie Andrews / I only recently read this quote, but it struck a chord in me. To me, it just screams gratitude. Count your blessings. Appreciate all the good you have in your life. “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.” Practicing gratitude instantly gives me a good dose of perspective in every situation.

“This is water.” – David Foster Wallace / I just printed this one off to add to my wall. It’s from a very wise and very wonderful commencement speech that I love very much. In a nutshell, it reminds me to give people the benefit of the doubt, to let go of the feelings that don’t serve me, and to try my best to be a conscious adult. You can watch an amazing version of the whole talk here.

You might notice that the washi tape is peeling on a couple of the posters. One of the kinds I bought wasn’t sticky enough for the texture of the wall, so at some point I’ll probably have to make new frames with the stickier tape or find another solution. For now, though, I love my little art installation – it keeps reminding me to live a better life.

8/10: Washi-Wrapped Bottle

A fun, simple project that was totally in the spirit of DIY. It came about organically: right when I was about to toss out this old bottle, I realized it was pretty, and could be wrapped with tape or yarn or something and still be usable. Bonus points when I realized it came with a special stopper that lets liquid through slowly. I slightly mangled said stopper trying to get it out, but it still works, hallelujah.

My biggest problem with this project was the extremely sticky label on the bottle. It was one of those labels where you can barely get a tiny corner off before it rips. Twas impossible! So what could I do? Well I could watch a lot of Youtube videos about removing sticky labels. And then I could just stick it into a big pot of boiling water and pray it didn’t explode. To this day, I have no idea whether that was a good idea. Someone tell me please?

But, whatever, it worked! After a couple rounds in a pot of boiling water spiked with baking soda, the label just scrubbed right off. There was still a very small amount of sticky residue, but for the project I was doing it didn’t matter much.

The next step (after thoroughly washing and drying) was to get crafty! I pulled out my washi tape (a Japanese crafting tape, available at any craft store) and decided on pink, purple and blue. I only have 4 rolls, so the decision wasn’t that difficult!

Then it was just a matter of wrapping. I was hoping to wrap it up completely, so that there would be no bottle visible below the tape, but that plan fell apart when I began to wrap. The bottle has these beautiful contours that want to bend the tape on angles when you wrap it, and who am I to argue with a bottle? So I just did what the bottle told me to do, trying to keep the tape straight and not catch any air bubbles. When I got to the “halfway point”, the angles levelled out and I wrapped my way back down. I did this with all three colours, starting at different points on the base. Basically, I just had fun with it! The result:

 I love how graphic it turned out, and how the tape looks layered over itself. Some sections I went over twice with tape, others I left more translucent. I also wrapped three stripes around the neck of the bottle.

Finally, I went into the kitchen, boiled together a 1/2 cup of sugar and a 1/2 cup of water until the sugar dissolved, then poured it into my bottle. I labelled it (with washi tape, of course!) and now it sits on my counter proudly! I love how it looks, and when I run out of simple syrup (because of making a few too many cocktails) then I’ll just remove the label and use it as a vase.

This project was also fun, because now it’s gotten me on the lookout for quirky bottles to save and maybe reuse for projects like this one. Easy peasy!

And that makes 8 completed DIY projects in 2012! See the rest of them here.

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