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Book Review | Washi Tape by Courtney Cerruti

Reported by Maria del Pinto

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon.com affiliate program.

Washi Tape by Courtney Cerruti

[Some links in this article may be affiliate links that help support the continued operation of Craft Critique if you make a purchase using them.]

Courtney Cerruti’s book “Washi Tape: 101+ Ideas for Paper Crafts, Book Arts, Fashion, Decorating, Entertaining, and Party Fun!” is full of quick and easy ideas for creating great projects with washi tape and decorative tape. 

The book begins with a short introduction to washi tape and examples of some of the different ways it can be used in DIY crafting. Courtney briefly reviews the various types of washi tapes on the market. She also touches on the decorative tapes that are sold with the washi tape name and those that are not, and points out the differences. It is brief overview but enough background to educate the reader about the tapes without taking up too much space in the book.

Washi Tape

She encourages the reader to try the various types and see which ones they enjoy working with. I have personally purchased both washi tapes and some of the new decorative tapes that are now available. Each type has good and bad features, and I use them according to the kind of project that I am creating.

After educating the reader on types of washi tape, the author explains what surfaces washi tape adheres well on, which lets the reader know that washi tape is not just for card making. Courtney also discusses which inks are good for writing on washi tape. The book includes ways to store tape, which is very helpful because once you get hooked on washi tape you will quickly build a collection!

Washi Tape Bead Jewelry Project by Maria DelPinto for Craft Critique.

Courtney also teaches some techniques for working with the tapes, including how to properly layer tapes to get them to work with craft punches. I made the fun beads pictured above using the layering technique, and it really worked well. I intend to use them for a bracelet design I have planned.

The projects in Washi Tape are simple and easy to follow. They include paper projects, home decor projects, DIY projects and more. In her “Home Decor” DIY section, the author includes several simple ideas to use what you have on hand by decorating it with washi tapes. My favorite was the idea of using the washi tape to cover light switch cover plates!

Washi Tape Office Supply Project by Maria DelPinto for Craft Critique

In the book’s office section, I enjoyed Courtney’s phone charger project and office accessories projects.  I used the same ideas to cover the pad and binder clips above with washi tape to create a matched set. These came out so fun!

The book also includes fashion accessory projects, gift tags, party decor, ornaments, and so many more ideas. The projects are very simple which means you can do them in one crafting session, varying from being able to complete them in minutes to ones that require measuring and planning (for the wall art ideas). There was an especially great project for using washi tape as a decorative accent in hanging photos on a wall.  It looked great and does not leave any permanent marks on the wall!

Since this book is geared to introducing the reader to washi tape, it is perfect for a new crafter and would make an excellent gift for anyone who is new to crafting with washi and decorative tapes. Also, there are a lot of great ideas in this book and it is a good source for inspiration if you are trying to figure out a way to use all those cute washi tapes you may have purchased, like I did.

Pros:

  • Lots of Project Ideas.
  • Easy to follow directions.
  • Great DIY project ideas.
  • The book gave me more excuses to go out and buy more washi tape!
  • Storage projects with ideas on how to store washi tape efficiently.

Cons:

  • I got my copy on a Kindle. I prefer the print better so that I could quickly reference the project I wanted to find.
  • You may want to go out and buy more washi tape!
  • The book is written as an introduction to washi tape, along with ideas for crafting with them. If you are fairly familiar with washi tape, then this may not be the book for you.

Washi Tape: 101+ Ideas for Paper Crafts, Book Arts, Fashion, Decorating, Entertaining, and Party Fun! is available on Amazon.com in Kindle and Flexibound versions.

What types of washi tape do you use or projects do you make with them? Share your comments below and let us know.

Book Review | Mixed-Media Paint Box – Edited by Tonia Davenport

Reported by Maria del Pinto

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon.com affiliate program.

Mixed Media Paint Box cover

Mixed-Media Paint Box: Weekly Projects for a Year of Creative Exploration” is a collection of mixed media projects which were submitted by different artists to introduce the reader of a variety of techniques.  I came across this book while cruising the isles of my local bookstore and was so excited to locate such a great find. This book, published in 2010 by North Light Books, was published in the early rise of mixed media and features names such as Claudine Hellmuth and Kelly Rae Roberts that are now much more well known.

I love that this book is set up as a weekly journey. I have two jobs and go to school full-time, so I do not have a lot of free time to dedicate to taking craft classes. However, I can find bits of time, once a week, for creative self-expression through a simple project. Sometimes this means I am working on a project in the middle of the night but I haven’t found too many art stores that offer classes around that type of crazy schedule! For me, this book is like taking a weekly class that is tailored to my complicated schedule. I just love it!

The book has great step-by-step photos of the projects. The techniques themselves are varied and are introduced in a way that makes it easy for the reader to follow. Also, each week introduces the reader to some new media, as well using materials that the reader is already familiar with (and has on hand). There are projects using traditional materials like watercolors while at the same time, offering some application technique ideas.

The contributors have done a great job at keeping the projects and interactions simple and easy to manage.  It allows for the reader to quickly grasp a technique and yet provides a good starting point for more in-depth future projects. There are also some templates and tips in the book.

The materials used in “Mixed-Media Paint Box” are easily purchased online or at your local art supply store.

Mat Acrylic Medium Collage Technique

One of my favorite techniques in the book is the “Special Occasion Collage” by Corey Moortgat. It is super easy to follow.  It combines collage with painting.  The project also introduces the reader to the use of glazes, gel pins and other materials.  I made the above bead using the technique that I learned from this project.

by Maria DelPinto for Craft Critique

The crackled owl above is made using the techniques I learned in the “Crackled Background” project by Alama De La Melena Cox. The project in the book uses fabric, canvas, and paints to create a cool piece of wall art.  The reader learns how to combine the acrylic paint and crackle medium to create different textures. Then the project introduces using metallic fabrics, glitter, and adhesive to collage on top of the crackled surface. The final results are pretty fun and I recommend checking out page 48 in the book to see it!

by Maria DelPinto for Craft Critique

I personally found some great ideas in the book that I could use to create jewelry pieces, like the watercolor washed bead above. This book really incorporates a great amount of ideas that will offer the reader a broad introduction into a variety of techniques. It also provides a great starting point to apply the techniques introduced to other creative projects. For those who are interested in trying their hand at digital painting, Susan Tuttle has a digital painting project in the book on page 52. She also includes some basic Photoshop Elements techniques to help you with the project.

If you are interested in a time intensive project, then the “Paper Pendant’ project by Stephanie Lee on page 118 is not to be missed. It has a lot of steps to it but the final piece is well worth the effort. Plus, she teaches some great techniques through her fabulous step-by-step photos.

Pros:

  • Easy to follow instructions and techniques.
  • Easy to locate materials.
  • Great variety of techniques.
  • Includes nice introduction on each contributor, along with web and/or blog links so that you can learn more about them.

Cons:

  • No index is available to quickly refer to a particular technique. You will have to refer to the “Table of Contents” to find anything.
  • No product list is available at the end of the book.  You will have to do an online search to find the materials or get more information on a particular product.
  • You may find yourself spending more time playing the with techniques you learn in this book and less time doing your daily chores or homework.

Mixed-Media Paint Box: Weekly Projects for a Year of Creative Exploration is  published by North Light Books and is available in paperback and on Kindle Unlimited from Amazon.com.

CHA Mega Show 2015 | True Stories by Shimelle Laine [Video]

Reported by Maria del Pinto

Shimelle True Stories Paper Collection

Let’s take a close-up look at the “True Stories Paper Line” designed by Shimelle Laine for American Crafts, which was unveiled at the CHA Mega Show 2015! The collection will ship to stores in April 2015.

True Stories paper packs are available in 6×6 size as well as the traditional 12×12 size.

Shimelle True Stories Papers 2

For comparison, the layout above is from Shimelle’s first collection. In the tradition of other American Crafts brand designers such as Amy Tangerine and Maggie Holmes, you can see that the new line will coordinate beautifully with the previous one.

Shimelle debuted a range of new papers in the new line, including some great die cut papers that have tabs so that they can folded to create fun cards and home decor pieces.  She also released some new collections of stickers (like the ones below) and more of her popular cork stickers from the first release. Shimelle even added a wood veneer line that compliments all the papers and can be used for crafting projects too.

The sticker book below contains elements that are designed to be layered, so each sticker can be built upon to create a fun project piece.

Shimelle True Stories Small Sticker Book

The new line also contains new 4×4 cards that can be cut down, along with phrase stamps, darling little wooden buttons, multi-color Thickers with complementing alphabets, and several other cool items. The True Stories line is inspired by daydreams, where little things can make a difference, like a child dreaming of rockets.  Shimelle also included some overlays that can enhance a scrapbook page.

To get more of an idea of the inspiration and the darling papers in this line, watch the video below:

I loved all the cute papers and accessories that Shimelle had on display. I think my favorite element of the line is the tag set, because everything can be layered to create a unique tag.

I would love to hear what our readers think about this line! Leave a comment below!