This summer I created an activity for the children's craft area of the St Paul Irish fair.
Kids from 1 to 12 made the craft so I had to be prepared for all ages and their parents.
The activity was making snakes using colored masking tape to create a ring pattern down the snake. I had 10 colors of tape. To manage materials and my budget each maker could select three colors of tape to create the pattern on their 36 inch backer rod snake. The 1-inch by 60-yard tape spools have a 3 inch core. I needed eight dispensers, one per crafter. The cheapest I could find on line was $18 a unit. Not in my price range.
I had just been involved in a Milk Carton boat race and half gallon paper milk cartons where still on my mind. Through trial and error I found they make a swell three roll holder for no cost because all the materials where in my recycling bin.
In this version the 15 ounce can of tomato sauce is the spindle for the tape and provides weight to hold the rolls down when they are pulled. It also lifts out easily so I could slide off the three rolls and add three new ones for the next crafter.
I did not add a serrated tearing edge because experience has shown me many kids have a hard time combining the twist and pressure to tear tape. They end up wasting a lot. Scissors where provided instead, a tool they all enjoy using.
The tape I was using is sold for kids craft projects and is reposition-able. I don't recommend this dispenser for tapes with strong adhesion. The dispenser was pulled across the table when I tried duct tape.
Step 1: Materials
Half gallon paper milk, juice or soy milk carton
Corrugated cardboard or corrugated plastic yard sign
15 ounce can of tomato sauce UNOPENED that fits through the tape spools.
Cereal box or comparable card-stock or board for a pattern
A NEW roll of masking tape for the width
Glue gun and clothes pins or small spring clamps to seal tear open cartons