The Fascinating Art of Washi (Japanese Paper) Crafts

  • Most people have heard the term “Washi” before but what exactly does it mean? Translated, Washi simply mean Japanese paper. This style of paper is handmade in Japan from resources such as trees, rice, or wheat. Washi tends to be a bit thicker than the everyday paper you’ll find. This makes it ideal for a variety of purposes. Washi is used for clothing and furniture but let’s talk about using it for crafts.

    Constructing a Washi Box


    Author’s photo

    If you find yourself in a craft store in Japan, chances are they’ll have tools that you can buy to use in the Washi craft making process. Some stores even sell ready-to-assemble kits! If it’s your first time at this craft it’s best to start with a kit or take a class where a Japanese national can teach you. You may become a little overwhelmed in the beginning but you don’t necessarily need a kit to get started.


    Author’s photo

    By using recycled milk cartons, tape, glue, and precise measurements you’re on your way to creating a Washi box like the one above. Make sure you have patience because this art takes practice. Don’t worry though, it’ll be worth it in the end! You’ll have a beautiful keepsake to talk about for years to come.

    Traditional Japanese Washi Sandal


    Author’s photo

    Once you’ve mastered the Washi box above, you can move on to more challenging projects like this traditional Japanese Washi sandal. This sandal truly embodies Japan with everything from the Washi itself to the traditional Japanese sandal shape. Even the sandal strap is made from scratch and finished off with a bell.


    Author’s photo

    If you’re a crafter at heart and find yourself in Japan, I’d highly recommend giving Washi crafts a try! It’s a wonderful experience learning the art of this craft. They even make great keepsakes or gifts for family and friends. Christmas presents anyone?

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