If you’ve been visiting here for a
a) I’m very grateful
b) I like you, and
c) You might remember this project
The lacy strip near the top of the image is made with digital lace (a sheet from one of my favourite Kitschy Digitals kits), printed out and turned into a length of sticky tape. I recently worked on another project using the same technique and it reminded me of how very simple-but-satisfying the process is; you can make it work with all kinds of different pictures and patterns, as well as text, dingbats, etc.. to create unique deco-style tape strips as and when you want them. Rather than sitting here all smuggity-smug, surrounded by the scraps, though, I’m going to take my mum’s age-old advice and share, because sharing is nice. So here, with the minimum of further fuss, is how you make your own decorative sticky-tape strips.
:: First of all, you’ll need to get hold of the printer sheets – I used Safmat, which is a clear self-adhesive film, made by Letraset. You can find it here, at around £7.00 (US$11) for 10 sheets. Unless you have very big sticky-tape plans, that should last you quite a while, bearing in mind you can print and cut multiple decorative strips from a single sheet.
:: Next, decide on a design, or designs, for your tape strips. I created mine using simple rectangular shape-boxes in PowerPoint (I’m unsophisticated like that), but you could also use more traditional image-based software (e.g. Photoshop, Elements, Illustrator) or even, at a push, MS Word for simpler designs. The strips you create can be as wide or as narrow as you like, using colours to coordinate with a particular project, or just printing a selection to store with your ready-to-use creative supplies. I’ve included a list of ideas below, plus links to a few digital products that would work well. That said, you definitely don’t need to spend lots of money on downloadables – there are plenty of free fonts and dingbats available online, as well as those which come ready-installed on your computer.
N.B. For speed, or if you're not confident about creating your own designs, try printing off a full-sheet design, such as the Kitschy Digitals lace (see below). From that, you can trim your tape strips to size. Alternatively, there's an easy-peasy, open-and-print freebie for you to download at the end of this post.
:: Once you’ve filled a full A4-size (or equivalent) sheet with your strip designs, print it out on to a piece of plain printer paper, just to check you’re happy with how everything looks. Make any necessary adjustments or changes, then re-print the sheet on to your self-adhesive film.
:: Set the film aside to dry off for a few minutes, then cut your strips to size. You can do this with a craft knife, trimmer or scissors – try experimenting with deco-blades to create pinked or scallop-edged tapes.
:: Your tape strips are now ready to use. You can work with full-length strips, or trim them to size, using smaller amounts of each one at a time. To store and keep them together, try punching a hole in one end of each strip, then threading on to a piece of ribbon or a book-ring.
-:- As you can see from the top of the post, I love making lacy tapes. You can use the full sheet from this Kitschy Digitals kit, or individual pieces from this one. Experiment with altering the colours (Danielle has a great tutorial if you’re not sure how), and also re-sizing for different effects.
-:- Make a simple silhouette-style dingbat shapes more interesting by colouring them in rainbow order, or graduated shades of the same colour, like a paint-chip chart.
-:- Try a few of the designer dingbats in the fonts section at Two Peas In A Bucket. The David Walker sets are so good it’s hard to pick a favourite. I also like these two designs by Elsie, and Rhonna Farrer’s Wicked Awesome.
-:- If you make cards, think about creating some strips with regularly-used phrases, e.g. happy birthday, thank you, for you, etc.. You can use them as a decorative finish on the front of your cards, or to add your sentiment inside..
-:- Repeat a single element, such as a number (someone’s age) or an initial (maybe your family surname), in various different fonts, styles and/or colours for a personalised strip of tape.
-:- Digital border and ribbon kits are pretty much made for the job. Just check they’re the right size for your tape sheet, then print. I love Jen Allyson’s Shabby Accent Borders, these cute stitches by Katie Pertiet and I’m also super-smitten by these Rob and Bob ribbons.
-:- Print out names to personalise presents or leave named notes for members of your family.
-:- Use simple shapes to create patterned strips, e.g. stripes (vertical or diagonal), plaid, polka dots or pretty ginghgam-style checks.
-:- Think about adding textures, too – maybe canvas, grainy leather or woodgrain.
Ways to use your sticky tape:
-:- For clipping up notes or photos, e.g. on
-:- To personalise stationery, either by adding a decorative strip to plain sheets, or including something like your initials or contact details.
-:- To decorate scrapbook pages, or hold other parts of a layout in place (they can be a great way of using digital scrapbooking kits, if you’re a hybrid or paper scrapper. The clear sticky film also means you get a look similar to an acetate overlay, without the problems of fixing it in place).
-:- To label containers or office stationery. You can either pre-print the relevant label/word, or hand-write it with marker pen on a patterned strip.
-:- To decorate clear glasses for a party. Wrap tape around each glass (single or multiple strips, as you like), either in the middle or near the bottom edge. It will easily peel off afterwards without leaving marks or damaging your crockery.
-:- To wrap presents or affix gift-tags
-:- As page-tabs in a mini-book or file-folder. Fold short strips in half and stick the ends around the edges of your chosen page, allowing the folded section to stick out at the top or side.
-:- To dress up plain jewellery. Wrap a strip around a simple bangle to add decoration. Spray with clear varnish to fix it permanently, or peel off after wearing for a temporary makeover.
-:- To decorate glass jars and bottles filled with collections, cosmetics or handmade produce.
Obviously, neither of those lists is exhaustive, and I’m guessing that if you give the project a go, you’ll come up with plenty more ideas, both in terms of design and use for your tape. To get you started, though, just in case you’re feeling overwhelmed, I’ve put together a quick download – a full sheet of tape-strips, ready to print out, sized at A4 if you’re in the UK, or US letter-size if you prefer.
Feel free to download it, send your friends over to download it and to use it as often as you like, but just on personal projects, pretty please. If you do have a go at creating your own tape, I’d love to see what you make. Leave me a link in the comments, because although my mum was right about the sharing thing, she’s wrong about being nosy. It’s a good thing – honestly, Mum.