A whimsical washi (or Japanese paper) wonderland welcomed visitors who attended the first Singapore MT Expo at ION Orchard
A whimsical washi (or Japanese paper) wonderland welcomed visitors who attended the first Singapore MT Expo at ION Orchard

Dots, stripes, letters, numbers, crosses, diamonds – Beautiful prints and bright colours greeted visitors who stepped into the ION Art Gallery for the inaugural MT Expo held in Singapore in late July.

MT is a leading Japanese brand of colourful, decorative tapes made of washi paper. Available in a wide spectrum of colours, patterns and sizes, MT tapes are not just aesthetically beautiful, they provide great functionality as well. Translucent and thin, yet strong and water resistant, MT tapes have excellent adhesiveness but can be removed easily without a trace – a crafter’s dream come true indeed! After making waves in Japan and around the world, the MT craze reached Singapore’s shores with the successful staging of the inaugural MT Expo.

A queue of 40 people had formed even before the Expo opened its doors, including a gentleman from Taiwan, who arrived at 6.30am. He was in Singapore on a business trip and his daughter had sent him to ION Orchard to get the MT tapes.

Among the MT fans was Chen Yue, a bookbinding instructor who specially flew in from Malaysia for the MT Expo. “I touched down at 7am and came here right away to queue up with a group of good friends!” Chen said enthusiastically. “There is a story behind each of the MT designs, which makes it meaningful. I’m really glad to meet the designer of the Singapore limited edition tapes today and hear the stories behind the designs!”

Like all MT Expos held around the world, there was a pop-up store selling a wide range of new releases, as well as exclusive designs crafted with Singapore themes such as the peranakan tile, sarong kebaya (a traditional costume), stars and crescent moon (found on the Singapore flag). To cater to as many people as possible, each customer was entitled to purchase only a limited quantity of these exclusive designs.

Immerse in the Joy of Creation

From wrapping gifts to personalising an otherwise plain journal, the beauty of MT tapes lies in the creative freedom you enjoy. At the MT Expo, there was a hands-on station stocked with rolls and rolls of MT tapes, which visitors could help themselves to. Everyone was clearly having a great time developing their creations, and one of them was 43-year-old Edleen, a scrapbook designer who was spotted with a basket full of MT tapes.

“I think the DIY station is very fun for first timers. The designs are very interesting and I intend to use them for my scrapbook and home improvement projects,” said Edleen. “When I heard about this MT Expo, I was very excited and many of my scrapbooking friends are here today. It’s great that ION Orchard brings in events like this that expose shoppers to new things!”

In addition, specialised workshops were also conducted by an instructor from Japan, who demonstrated techniques and shared ideas on how MT tapes could be used. One of the participants, 31-year-old Kitty Fan attended the workshop with her eight month old daughter snugly wrapped around her, fast asleep. “The workshop provided good ideas and a great hands-on experience,” shared Fan, who had been using MT tapes in her scrapbooking and raved about its quality. “When you tear and re-position the tapes, they won’t crumple. Even my son loves to use the tapes on his toy cars so I’ve bought some from the MT Kids range for him!”

Tape Up Your Home

MT tapes may have started out with small surfaces in mind, but the idea has blossomed – in a big way, literally. The new MT Casa range features wider tapes in 5cm, 10cm and 15cm rolls so that you can use them as wallpapers on a feature wall because, despite its adhesiveness, it can be removed easily without damaging the paint. Besides using MT on walls, home owners have also been known to use it to transform plain-looking cabinets and drawers or hide old laminated surfaces. Dinner hosts use it to make placemats, napkin rolls, label cups and even vases.

30-year-old Dina Djunaedi, a graphic designer from Jakarta who was in Singapore on vacation, already had plans for her home when she headed down for the MT Expo. “I intend to get MT to decorate a section of my kids’ room. I’m trying to figure out which ones to use because my son and daughter will be sharing a room so I can’t have it too girly!” said Dina. “I like it because it’s paper and you can stick it anywhere without leaving a residue. Creatively, you can do anything!”

MT tapes are available at the following stores: