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Does Washi Tape Damage Walls?

This bright and colorful paper tape brightens up any room, but many people wonder whether it can be safely adhered to walls. Never fear — we have the answer!


washi tape damage walls


Washi tape is everywhere these days: check out any crafting or home décor blog, and you’re very likely to find at least one project that incorporates this trendy paper tape. Originating in Japan, it’s commonly made from natural fibers like hemp or bamboo or from the bark of native Japanese trees. It also has a low tack adhesive, which makes it easy to use and reuse. But the question that remains for renters, homeowners, and college dorm dwellers is: will washi tape damage walls?

The short answer is no! Unlike other tapes, washi tape will almost always remove cleanly from your walls. For precisely this reason, dorm rooms and rental apartments are among the most popular places to use washi tape. It’s a great way to add some personal flair to your space, especially when you can’t make permanent design changes like painting or putting up wallpaper. Solid color washi tape makes it easy to create visual interest, or you can draw the eye to a statement wall with fun patterns and textures.

Because washi tape does not stick permanently to the walls, it’s a cinch to periodically change up your style to keep up with the latest home décor trends. To remove your washi tape from the wall, simply peel back one of the corners until you can get grasp the tape in your fingers. Then, gently pull the tape away from the wall at a 45-degree angle.

Unlike tapes with a tackier adhesive, washi tape will come off the walls easily without chipping your paint.  Don’t worry about how much time has passed since you put the tape up — even if the washi tape has been on your walls for years, you can generally remove it without causing damage. In the unlikely event that any residue remains, simply dab a small amount of olive oil, coconut oil, or Goo-Gone onto a soft cloth and gently wipe it away. Dishwashing detergent is also effective if the tape itself won’t come off — take a slightly damp cloth, apply a drop of detergent, and gently rub across the tape that’s stuck. The water will soak through the paper, allowing the detergent to lubricate the adhesive and detach it from the wall.

However, there’s one exception to the easy removal rule. If you apply the tape to a darker wall that receives direct sunlight, you may notice upon removal that the areas that were covered by the tape are darker than the rest of the wall. This is because the rest of the paint has faded over time, while the paint underneath the tape has been protected from the sun. If this is the case and the resultant lines are prominent, you may want to consider repainting.

Even if you reside in a temporary living space, washi tape allows you to decorate to your heart’s content without fear of damaging the walls. But don’t stop there — there are many creative ways to use this tape around your home. If you’re ready for a fun project, pick up some washi tape today!


  1. Scott E. Newton October 7, 2023

    Will washi tape remove the paint off a watercolor on paper painting when removed?

    • Christyanne at Paper Mart October 12, 2023

      Hi Scott,

      Thank you for your comment! Washi tape is generally considered a safe option for temporarily securing paper-based artworks without causing damage. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution and follow best practices when using it.

      To minimize any potential risk of damage to a watercolor painting, it’s recommended to perform a small-scale test in an inconspicuous area. Apply a small piece of washi tape to a corner or edge of the artwork, and after a short period, gently remove it. Check for any signs of paint transfer or damage to the paper surface.

      Furthermore, when applying and removing the tape, do so with a delicate touch to reduce the likelihood of any unintended consequences. Always remove the tape at a low angle, moving slowly and steadily. If any resistance or signs of paint lift are noticed, stop immediately and seek an alternative method for securing the artwork.

      Ultimately, while washi tape is generally considered safe for paper-based artworks, conducting a test and employing a careful technique are essential precautions to take to protect your valuable creations.

  2. Susan Crown September 18, 2021

    Will Washi tape stick to walls with a slight texture. Thank you

    • Gabrielle at Paper Mart September 24, 2021

      Hi Susan! It could depend on the texture on your wall. In our experience, we’ve found that washi tape can stick to most clean, dry surfaces.

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