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Washi Tape Walls


Published February 28, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated April 4, 2022 at 8:06 p.m.

Left to right: Isaac, Felix, Teal and Tyler Doggett - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • matthew thorsen
  • Left to right: Isaac, Felix, Teal and Tyler Doggett

Teal Doggett has two sons, 11-year-old Felix and 9-year-old Isaac. But it's not their artwork that dominates the family's home — it's hers.

Doggett created nine modernist wall installations throughout her house using strips of bright washi tape, a decorative Japanese masking tape made from natural fibers.

Courtesy of Teal Doggett
  • Courtesy of Teal Doggett

The pieces match the dwelling's midcentury modern style, expressed in its clean lines, ample windows and minimalist aesthetic. Built in 1964, the Doggetts' home was designed by Vermont-born architect Marcel Beaudin, who also designed the Burlington Boathouse.

When she and her husband, Tyler, moved into the house in 2015, Doggett — who is working on her masters of fine arts from the Vermont College of Fine Arts — wanted to create artwork for its many blank walls. She took inspiration from graphic designer Michael Bierut's 100 Day Project. The idea is to complete a creative pursuit for 100 consecutive days and document it, usually on Instagram. Her goal was to finish one installation a month.

She used a level to position the first piece of tape over holes in the wall for her first piece — lines that bounce across her dining room wall like a '70s laser light show. Moving forward, she said, "I just started adding where I thought it looked nice."

  • matthew thorsen

Doggett completed pieces on the back of her kitchen island, in her hallways, bedrooms, her master bathroom, and even on a pocket door that, when closed, completes the design.

Some took planning, like the dark gray piece in the upstairs hallway, inspired by a Josef Albers poster, where Doggett used an adjustable triangle and her drafting skills to create precise angles. For others, like the thick bands of color that snake over molding and onto the ceiling in her bathroom, she "let the space of the room inform the project."

Nestled under Isaac's sunshine-yellow loft bed are two clusters of Is with a retro-video-game vibe. "I like that when you think of different things, it looks different," said Isaac.

  • matthew thorsen

That's true of all the installations, Isaac explained. Like the concentric rectangles on the back of the kitchen island: "If you think about a pyramid, it looks like a pyramid. If you think about a tunnel, it looks like you're looking down a tunnel." 

Washi tape is easy to peel off and reposition, which took the pressure off.

"I don't think it will be too hard for me to take them down," Doggett said, "because I know I can always create something new."

Tips From Teal

  • Look for packs of multicolored tape on Amazon. Any washi tape will work well.
  • Pick a wall you think needs some decoration, or a room that needs a little extra color.
  • A level and an X-Acto knife come in handy.
  • Don't be afraid — just go for it. It's easy to remove and try again!

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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