Apart from stickers I love using washi tape to add a pop of color to a planner spread! Washi tape is ideal not just for decorating but also functional planning: for color coding, list making, marking multiple vacation days with a strip of washi instead of writing the same words each day etc. I used to just use ballpoint pens on washi, but since my pen addiction has gotten out of hand I did some pen testing with my favorite black planner pens.
Pens that write well on washi tape
These pens are not gel pens so they’re less prone to smudging. However, if you’re using a pen that you’ve ‘broken in’ i.e. used for a while, it can also be prone to smudging (as was the case with the PaperMate Inkjoy 100 1.0M)
Recommended ballpoint pens for writing on washi tape:
- Bic Atlantis (from Officeworks or Big W)
- Staedtler Ball 431 M (Officeworks)
- PaperMate Inkjoy 100 1.0M (Target)
- Artline Smoove 1.0 (from Officeworks)
- Papermate Kilometrico M (from Officeworks)
All of these pens wrote easily with no problems, the ink didn’t skip or fade.
PaperMate Profile 1.4B (Profile RT)
This pen, in my opinion, is the best for writing on washi tape. It’s a thicker tip than usual but it wrote really well – thick enough for headings but without the smudging of gel pens. I haven’t seen this pen anywhere in Australia except Spotlight.
The PaperMate Inkjoy Gel is the only gel pen that made it to my recommended list as most of them smudged. The ink on the InkJoy pen was really bold (it’s easier to see in person but a bit hard in the picture because I used a dark color washi tape)
Related post: Favorite black pens for planner addicts
Related post: Why I use the Arc Planner instead of binders
Pens to avoid when writing on washi tape
As much as I love these pens, they’re a bit ‘watery’ so the ink doesn’t stand out as much on washi tape (especially dark washi). They’re also more prone to smudging.
Thick gel pens are a no go for washi tape, as you can see in the picture, the Uniball Signo was easily smudged.
I don’t understand what all the rage is about these pens – everyone raves about them in the Planner Facebook groups – but I’m not a fan! The Pilot G2 is quite an inky pen, so you’ll want to avoid using it to write on washi tape.
Triplus Color 1.0M
Not to be confused with it’s fine tip 0.3mm ‘sibling’, the 1.0M triplus color is a thick pen (kind of like a Sharpie) and as such, the ink tends to ‘feather’ when used on washi tape (and stickers). You can see that the black didn’t really stand out and if I’d wiped it with my finger before it had finished drying, the ink would have easily separated from the washi, Avoid writing on washi using marker style pens. If you want your writing to be a thicker, more prominent heading on the washi tape, write over the words 2 or 3 times to make them bolder, or use the PaperMate Profile 1.4B.
This pen wrote similar to the Triplius Color – it was a bit ‘scratchy’ to write with as it’s a thicker pen tip (more of a thin marker style pen). It didn’t smudge though so if you’re ok with writing slowly to avoid smudging and don’t mind the ‘scatchiness’ then this pen would be ok for writing on washi.
Stabilo Point 0.44
This is the finest tip pen I have and I’ll admit I probably use it the least (I prefer medium tip pens – about 0.7mm). This pen was very faint on the washi and I think it would have smeared had I brushed it before it dried.
Does the type of washi tape matter?
Yes! In the picture you can see that I used thin tape. This tape is fine for dividing a page to create a 2 column list or adding new sections in your planner, but it was terrible for writing on using pen. The mint tape at the bottom of the page was a cheap washi tape – writing on using pen didn’t work at all – it just smudged right off.
My favorite thin washi tape is the Doodlebug brand. It comes in a pack of 12 rainbow colors in various styles including plain solid color and cute patterns such as chevron and polka dots. It didn’t end up turning out that great when written on in pen 🙁
For writing on washi tape I prefer solid tape so it’s easier to read the text and your planner looks less ‘busy’ – my favorite are, of course, rainbow colored tape. The ones I used for pen testing are from my sister’s shop.
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I’ll be sharing posts with my favorite washi tape for planning, how I plan using washi tape, my favorite planner pen brands as well as planner pens I don’t recommend. If you want to be notified when those posts are published, make sure you subscribe (you’ll also gain access to the free printables library!)
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