Washi Tape Backgrounds Tutorial

I hope this washi tape backgrounds tutorial will give you some ideas for using up your stash of decorative tapes.  You can use this background idea on tags, scrapbooks and greeting cards, too.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. I’ll receive a small commission if you purchase products through my links. It won’t affect your cost in any way.

How to Use Washi Tapes for large project backgrounds (Tutorial)

Here' what my 2-page spread looks like:

Washi Tape Art Journal Tutorial (Marjie Kemper)Choosing & Adhering Your Washi Tapes

Since washi tape is by nature ‘low tack' it is not as sticky as regular tape.  To ensure that it stays down on my project, I added a light coat of matte medium to the page before adhering the tape.  Sometimes I cover the pages from end to end, as I did in this washi tape journal spread from 2014.  But for this one I wanted to save room on the right, so I covered about 75% of the spread.

Washi Tape Stash - washi tape background tutorial for art journals

First, go through your stash and choose a variety of patterns, widths and colors.

Kemper art journal tutorial with washi tape background

Unifying Patterns & Colors with Paint

To tone down and bring the colors together, I created a paint wash. This is super easy – just mix of a very little bit of paint + some glazing medium. Painting the wash over the whole spread makes it seem like the tapes belong together.

Unifying unrelated patterns with a paint wash - Marjie Kemper

I used one of the tapes to frame a tag that I painted with the leftover wash.

Washi tape edging

Sentiment Stamp

I used one of  Tim Holtz's fabulous Motivational stamps (affiliate link won't affect your purchase price at all) and it fit perfectly.

Washi tape backgrounds tutorial - framing a tag - work in progress - Marjie Kemper

Next I added some paint through a circle stencil and a female silhouette stencil.  I'm sorry to say I don't remember where that female shape came from. It was in a book of stencils I bought a long time ago, not a single-sale item like you can buy today.  The work around for that is to cut silhouettes out of magazines and use the negative for a stencil.

Senciling - art journal page in progress- washi tape tutorial

Stenciling without Seepage

Using a cosmetic sponge helps me apply just enough paint that none seeps under the stencil.

Stenciling with paint

Here's a close up of the finished gal.

Art journaling with silhouette and tape - Marjie Kemper

Mixed Media Art Membership Group

Have you heard about the Mixed Media Art Membership Group? It's a monthly membership that I host that includes facilitated learning through a Project of the Month (with closed-captioned video instruction), Themed Challenge of the Month, a live Zoom Create-Along Session where we all work on our art together, and lots of resources such as the Project Vault, Technique Vault and Resource Library. Best of all is the supportive and inspiring community we enjoy in our private Facebook Group and the gated private forum on the site where I host the videos and resources.  

The group is only open for new members a few times a year, so please add your name to the waiting list to be the first to know when the doors open again. Click here to add your name to the waiting list.

Mixed Media Art Membership Group

Keep in Touch

Thanks so much for the visit. If you're new to my site, please connect with me in whatever way you like:  sign up for my newsletter or find me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.

Have a great day!



  1. Jenny Marples on July 8, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    That works brilliantly! Always good to be inspired to use up stash in such a creative way. Thank you for sharing xx

  2. Dawn Gold on July 7, 2017 at 1:01 am

    I love this idea and I intend to play, Thanks for the inspiration

  3. pearshapedchris on July 6, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    I am going to HAVE to try this ! Washi tapes became a bit of an addiction! This looks brilliant with the glaze wash! Altogether a beautiful page! Chrisx

  4. Nicole Robinson on July 6, 2017 at 8:17 am

    This is a great idea for a journal page! I love your tutorials!!

  5. Corrine on July 6, 2017 at 6:08 am

    Who ever thought a simple tape and a cosmetic sponge would be our friends! xox

  6. Anne R on July 6, 2017 at 3:21 am

    Love how you used the washi tape and the silhouette girl looks amazing! x

  7. Alison Hall on July 5, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Great tutorial! I love this Marjie!
    Alison x

  8. Debbie Goodrow on July 5, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Cool! And you’re right about the Washi Tapes multiplying exponentially. How did I acquire so many?!? This is a great way to use many of them, and I love the ‘wash of color’ that brings them all together visually. Thanks!

  9. Julie Tucker on July 5, 2017 at 8:12 am

    This looks AMAZING! LOVING what you did with the washi tape!!!!!!!!