{five minute friday} Washi Tape Shelf Detail

First of all, thank you guys all so much for all the love and kind words on my One Room Challenge Laundry & Linen Closet Reveal yesterday! It's always such a great feeling to successfully reach the end of the challenge, but then it take a few days to mentally recover. I blame that for the reason that today's Five Minute Friday post is coming tonight rather than this morning like I intended. But nonetheless, I wanted to show you one of the quick and easy projects that really upped the style in our linen closet - the washi tape detail on the shelves!

5 Minute Washi Tape Shelf Detail

When I emptied out the linen closet to prepare for the makeover {before the red walls got covered in white brick wallpaper} - the shelves looked like this...

Not much to look at, right? Just you basic, inexpensive adjustable melamine shelves with metal brackets.

I talk all the time about my theory of "make it pretty to keep it pretty." I am a firm believer that if you take just a little extra time to make an organized space look nice, it helps to motivate you to keep the space organized so that you can enjoy the beauty. The pretty elements of an organized closet can be the baskets you choose, shelf paper lining the shelf or the walls behind it, stylish labels, or one of my favorite super simple tricks... adding washi tape to the front of the shelves!

Having used washi tape for many projects, I know that not all decorative tape is created equal. Some have very strong stick-em, while others seem to barely stick at all. 

I used a cute, but not very sticky washi tape to edge the shelves in another closet a couple years ago, only to open the door the next morning to find that it had all peeled up and fallen off. BUT...I figured out a simple fix and two years later those shelves still look great. So this time around, I knew exactly how to save the effort of doing the job twice!

From day one I knew I wanted to tie some black and white stripes into the laundry and linen closet, but it turned out that finding black and white striped wash tape was harder than I expected. I finally found some that I could purchase on Jet.com and decided to order two rolls... however, I didn't read the listing close enough and didn't realize that each quantity of "1" was actually a package of 4 rolls. So I now have eight rolls of black and white striped washi tape... in other words, you should expect to see if showing up in lots of projects around here! ;)

But back to the shelves! I began by pressing the tape down firmly to one end of the shelf. I first tried sticking the tape to the shelf a little at a time, working my way from one end to the other, but I found it hard to get it lined up right. Instead, I ended up pulling out a long length of tape, pulling it taut, lining it up with the other end of the shelf, and then smoothing it down along the length of the shelf.

From my past experience, I knew that the tape was most likely to start peeling up from the edges, so when it came to the corners of my shelves, I decided it would be better to wrap the tape around the corner rather then cutting it and creating two more spots where the tape could begin the peel.

Ok, now here comes the trick to preventing the washi tape from peeling off! 

I had learned from past experience that no amount of pressing it down was sufficient. I needed to do something more. The last time around, it occurred to me that applying heat might activate the adhesive and make it stick better. Two years later, those other shelves still have the washi tape up and holding on strong, but I tested it and confirmed the tape can still be just as easily removed. 

Now, I will say that this method of applying heat might not be advisable depending the type of shelves you have. However, I knew I would not damage my shelves because the white melamine shelf edging required an iron to adhere it to the fronts of the shelves in the first place.

Since the iron method worked so well last time, I decided to use it again rather than waiting to see if this particular washi tape would begin to peel or not. I simply set my iron to low heat and ironed the tape onto the fronts of the shelves, focusing my attention mostly at the start and end of each piece of tape.

This whole process was super quick, and five minutes later, all my shelves were looking much more stylish! I love the way the striped wash tape looks next to the bright green storage boxes, and how it compliments the black and white striped canvas laundry baskets below the lowest shelf!

And now when you glimpse the linen closet from the laundry side of the space, the washi tape really helps to tie together the style of the two halves of the closet.

I love washi tape because there are some many quick, easy, and temporary ways you can use it to dress up just about any space. In our new laundry and linen closet, I also used it to pretty up the canisters - yet another high impact five minute project!

I absolutely love photos of pretty organization, so if you try out this washi tape shelf method, or dress up your canisters or other containers with washi tape, I'd love to see them! Tag me on Instagram and use #organizingwithstyle!

Also, be sure to stop back next week for all the organizing details of the laundry room, and the week after that for the deets on the linen closet. You can sign up to receive email notifications at the top right of my page so you never miss an update!

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  1. Love what you did with your laundry room, now I need to get motivated. :) washi tape around the lids of canisters

  2. wowsers that is a beautifully organized space!!! Love the black and white washi!!!

  3. I'm getting ready to tackle my laundry room in January. Love the Wasabi stick with heat idea. Your laundry room looks great. Love the colors you chose! Hope my laundry room turns out as fresh and fun as yours!!!

  4. Any chance you know if I can iron my walls? I want to make a design in my bedroom but the tape just peels off. Not sure if it is safe to use an iron on them. Let me know if you have any ideas! Thanks.

    1. That's a really good question. I was comfortable doing it on the edges of my melamine shelves since the melamine edging is supposed to be adhered with an iron... but I don't know if I'd try it on my walls. I did a quick search online and found a lot of tutorials for using an iron with the steam setting to remove wallpaper, so using an iron on walls is not totally unheard of I guess. But I certainly haven't tried it and I'd do some more research before you decide if it's a good idea.