Anybody who scrolls through Pinterest on a daily basis knows – washi tape is the sh**. There seems to be no end to how you can use this hip and colorful tape to create oodles of creative projects. Though I love a good mason jar craft as much as the next girl, I longed to use my growing collection of tiny tape in a more practical way. Being the planner obsessed girl that I am, I found a way to use washi tape to boost the productivity of my planner and not just its beauty.

Enter the washi tape index! Today I’m going to show you how I use washi tape as a DIY index for my planner. It’s simple, easy and way more fun than writing everything out. And who doesn’t want another excuse to buy more washi tape, right?

Let’s get started with the basics. What is washi tape and why does it rock?

What is Washi Tape?

Washi tape is usually made from natural fibers (like bamboo or hemp) or the bark of trees native to Japan such as mulberry, mitsumata shrub or the gampi tree. Though the texture may somewhat mimic masking tape, washi tape is superior for crafts because of its pretty designs and durable versatility.

washi tape journal

Though it resembles masking tape, it is much smaller and thinner and doesn’t have near the sticking power. In other words, don’t use it to fix a leaky pipe. This is craft only quality, guys. But, that being said, it is very high-quality craft tape. Not to mention oh so hip and pretty.

Washi tape has exploded in popularity over the last 2 years, and can now be found practically anywhere that sells craft supplies. And It is very affordable! One roll will cost anywhere from $1 – $3, while a pack of coordinating colors is about $5-$10 depending on the quality.

You might be thinking, now, Sheena, that’s great and all, but why should I make a DIY Index when most notebooks come with them built in? Does it really make a difference? Yes, it does, and I’ll tell you why.

Why Use A Color Coded Index?

There have been many studies done on how the human brain best absorbs information. Among that wealth of knowledge, there is one little hack that scientists have found makes a huge difference in how well we retain and organize information. And that hack is color-coding.

Michael Tipper, an experienced speaker, and consultant on mind mapping and organization software writes on his blog about why colors matter in mind mapping.  “Take any typical student’s notes and they will usually be written in one color,” Tipper writes. “That means pages and pages of similar-looking notes. Add a dash of color … and all of a sudden the notes come alive. They are unique, they are unusual, they are memorable and they are more interesting.” That means those notes will stick in your brain more, and be far easier to find in your notebook and review later on.

So how do we apply that to an Index? When you see a page of all similar looking notations, you have to read thru to find what you’re looking for. When your info is separated by color, your eyes quickly snap to what you’re looking for. Your brain will remember the colors you chose more readily than the words.

rainbow washi tape

Use the washi tape index, and you’re not only making your Bullet Journal a  treat for the eyes. You’re also making it a treat for your brain!

The Washi Tape Index

So here’s how it works. A lot of notebooks come with some form of an index in the front. ( If you’re using a Moleskine this isn’t the case. To solve this you can reserve the first page as your own DIY Index.) In my Leuchtturm1917, the first 3  pages have a preprinted index. I usually only fill the first 1-2 pages at most, so I reserve the 3rd for my washi tape Key.

washi tape key/index

Here I lay in the washi tape I plan on using and assign categories to each pattern/color. In this journal, I decided I needed a quick reference to my Monthly pages, Weekly Plans, Trackers, and Collections. But you can get as specific as you want, tracking anything from Health, Work, Kids, etc.

When I’ve made a page that corresponds to any of these categories, I mark it with a little washi tape along the side. I cut about a half inch and fold it around the page. Leave a little to stick out for easy tabs.

washi tape index

washi tape index

Now I can easily jump back to those pages and review the info I recorded there. It’s as simple as that! And as my journal gets filled up, I have beautifully patterned tabs along the side. I honestly think this significantly ups the coolness factor of my journals.

I hope you’ll give this a try! I’ve been doing this for about 2 years and I’ve tested a lot of washi tape in the process. Here are some of my favorites! You gotta love that free shipping with Amazon Prime!


Let me know what you think!