washi tape frames tutorial

you might remember, from a couple of posts back, that i mentioned having just wrapped up a huge project for Crate Paper.  i'm very excited to share it with you today!  this project was so much fun--the ideas seemed endless and i could have made many, many more frames to go along with these.  however, when it came time to photograph them, i had the most difficult time!  i really was hoping for something warm and beautiful--a real in-home scene of the actual display--but i just could not seem to pull that off. i must have done 8 or 9 different shooting sessions and it seemed there was always something wrong--bad lighting, too many important details out of focus, horrendous shadows.  after all of my shoots--and 800+ pictures to sort through--i was finally able to put this post together.

i think most of you already know that i have a major obsession with washi tape.  i can't get enough of it and i think it's the greatest paper invention since, well, paper!  i love it for so many reasons--it's versatile, it's inexpensive, there are no limits to the things you can do with it, and there are endless colors, patterns, and styles it comes in.

normally, i use it as a layering accent in my paper-crafting.  i also like to wrap it around toothpicks to make tiny flags, or make little banners with it using different colored string, and you know i love my washi-covered mini clothespins.  but for this project, i'm doing something extra fun with it!

i'm using it to enhance picture frames--making my own background paper essentially, and then i'll also be covering a couple of frames with it.  the best part about this tutorial is that it's so quick and easy, you can make a few in just a short time.     

here's what you'll need to get started:
washi tape
plain card stock or cardboard
craft knife
picture frame(s)
embellishments of your choice

with the release of some of it's latest collections, Crate Paper has started offering up some beautiful styles of washi tape to coordinate with their papers.  they come on a 12x12 sheet, which is a great idea--you get about 20 different styles of tape without having to spend a fortune buying 20 full rolls of it.      

the first project i'll show you is making a background piece for your frame.  for mine, i chose a grayish-kraft and minty green color palette, using different strips from The Pier, Maggie Holmes, and Party Day.  start by trimming off each strip you want to use.  

trim a sheet of card stock to fit the dimensions of your frame.  because washi tape is usually a bit translucent, i used white.  next, while this is a fairly foolproof project, it's still good to have some sort of plan before you just willy-nilly start taping!  i wanted my frame to have a summer theme so i planned out where i wanted to lay the "HELLO SUMMER" strips from The Pier.  that also served as a guide for laying out the rest of my tapes.

{*tip:  one of washi's wonders is that it's removable so if you do mess up, it's not the end of your project--just remove and re-stick!} 

if you're using tape that comes in strips like Crate's, trim only what you'll need to cover your paper and save the rest for future use.  if you're using tape that comes on a roll, cut off the length you need.  i do like to leave a little extra length on each end because it helps with laying a straight line and ensuring a clean edge.

start taping!

once you've gotten everything taped to your paper, it's time to trim the excess again.  under normal circumstances i can't cut in a straight line to save myself so i line up my scissors flush against the edge of the paper and use it as a guide.  a quicker option is to just fold the ends over to the back--since it's in a picture frame, they won't be seen.

i also wanted to cover the frame itself with washi.  to keep it simple, i chose a plain white frame without any curves or ornate details.  number one, i didn't want to complicate the project and have it take a long time to complete dealing with rounded edges.  number two, because the inside had a lot going on, i didn't want the outside competing with it; i just wanted to liven it up a bit.

i chose another style from The Pier washi and this time, measured it out to be sure i had enough to complete all four sides.  then it was time to tape again.  for best results, cut the tape on the angled frame seams in each corner.  this looks a lot better and more uniform than just cutting off the tape at the end of each side.  a craft knife works best for this and i used the tape's translucency to my advantage.  i could see the seam and gently pressed my blade into the tiny crevice for a (near) perfect cut!     

repeat on all sides.

this frame consists of my summer to-do list.  above all else, i just want us to have fun...get to the beach, bar-b-que, have picnics.  what i don't want this to be is a list of chores!  i can write a boring chore list on plain paper.  this board is meant for fun so i decorated it with the pretty washi tapes in colors that make me think of the beach, and used cute tags and cards for jotting down little notes to remind us to have good times.  it may sound funny, but with work and kids and the routine of daily life, sometimes you do need that little reminder that you should be out there making great memories.  i added the camera so we also remember to take lots of photos. (can't forget to document those fun memorable moments, right?)

i covered a sticky magnet with some pink washi tape and hung the metal clip from it.  that way, i can easily pull it off and add new notes or photos when i think of something else we should do.  

the whole frame collage is meant to encourage positive thoughts.  i want to look at it when i need some direction or to be inspired by something lovely.  in all honesty, i'm more of a glass-half-empty kind of person and i'm working hard to change that since that's not the attitude i want Nemy and Mr. Bagubian to have.  i'm hoping that this project is another push in the right direction. 

i used pink washi strips from The Pier to make a background in this blue resin frame.  the frame only holds a 2.5" x 3.5" photo and i loved the idea of decorating around this tiny cookie fortune that i've had for years.  there is something so precious about fortunes...i love them for their itty-bitty type and sometimes-poetic messages.  i think i even got this one just after i had started dating my now-husband and that's why i kept it.  and yes, love has inspired me to do many great things (and some of them have even been amazing!)

for this matching frame, i chose yellow tapes from the CP collections and kept this one simple with a blue chipboard bird from On Trend and gold-painted wood letters spelling out "fly."

here, i wanted to remind myself not to be afraid to try new things, even if they seem scary at first!

the last piece is another frame covered with washi.  although it is tape from another manufacturer (not CP), the lace print reminded me of of the lace print i used on the first frame and the dark pink compliments the greenish-aqua and yellowish hues of the inside layout.

i started by turning a strip of 2x2-inch photos of the ocean on it's side.  the minty green and creamy yellow hues in the photos were pretty much dead-on matches to some embellishments from The Pier and DIY Shop so instead of using the pictures as the focal point, i made them an accessory to the collage.  

i focused instead on the birds.  birds make for some of the loveliest paper crafts and i always find myself drawn to their images.  the "B is for bird" DIY Shop card and the Maggie Holmes die cut help set the theme of this frame--kindness.  "B is for bird, beautiful + bliss."  yes, it is.  "Be kind to those smaller than you."  yes, we should.  i love the idea of a beautiful, blissful world and why can't it start by just being kind?  (B is for baby steps, too!)    

and there you have it: a collage of frames that are meant to inspire me to be a better person and enjoy every day.  sometime around the 5th photo shoot, though, i was just feeling annoyed and ready to heave the entire thing into the trash bin!  how's that for inspiration?!  BUT, since i've been officially done with this project for over a week now, i can look at these frames again without feeling angry and bitter and just see them for the positive messages they're meant to evoke...i hope you can, too.