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Picture of 3 Roll Masking Tape Dispenser
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.
 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of 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
Utility knife
Ruler
Sharpie
Pencil
A NEW roll of masking tape for the width
Glue gun and clothes pins or small spring clamps to seal tear open cartons

Step 2: Make a Pattern

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Make a pattern so you can easily produce many tape dispensers.
Measure the width and height of the rectangular side of the milk carton and draw a rectangular pattern on cereal box cardboard making it one-eighth inch less than the carton. Cut it out.



Step 3: Pattern Marking

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Put a roll of tape on the can. Place their diameter on the edge of the pattern leaving 1/8-1/4 inch clearance from one end for the tape to spin around the can and not drag against the carton.

Slide off the tape spool and check that the can end is half way on the pattern. Trace around the can with the permanent marker. Remove the can. Check that the semi circular tracing of the can intersects the edge of the pattern perpendicularly. This enables the can to slip in and out of the cradle easily. Reposition if needed and trace.

Cut out the semi circle from the pattern carefully so the edge is smooth. Now you have a rectangular pattern with a semi circle cut out of one of the long sides about one inch from one end.
Measure one inch from the other side of the semi circle and notch.

Cut out the semi circle from the pattern carefully so the edge is smooth. Now you have a rectangular pattern with a semi circle cut out of one of the long sides about one inch from one end.
Measure one inch from the other sid of the semi circle and notch.



Step 4: Cut Supports

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Orient the pattern on corrugated cardboard or plastic so that pattern length is horizontal to the corrugation. Trace the pattern twice. Cut them out with utility knife making sure to cut INSIDE the tracing line if you used the sharpie or the pieces will be too big. These pieces add support on either end of the can spindle.

Get your CLEAN carton. If it doesnt have a capped spout re-glue the tear open spout with hot glue and clamp it with clothes pins or spring clamps til cool.

The top of the dispenser will be one of the sides with a triangular cavity segment of the folded top. I think the folded triangle strengthens the carton at that end.



Step 5: Mark and Cut the Carton

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Turn the carton so one side is up. Line up the pattern on the side with the semi circle closer to the spout end of the carton. Trace the semi circle. Mark the one inch notch.
Turn the carton over. Line up the pattern on the opposite side with the semi circle closer to the spout end of the carton. Trace the semi circle. Mark the one inch notch

Turn the carton so the top (folded triangle side) of the tape dispenser is up.
Connect the one inch notch on either side of the carton with a ruler and trace the line with permanent marker. This line marks a fold in the construction.

With a utility knife blade pointed toward the carton side press the point into the carton one quarter inch from the edge. Turn and continue cutting down the corner to the semicircle, around the semicircle, down the corner to the start of the folded end. Turn, cut across the edge to the other side of the carton. Turn cut the corner to the semi circle, around the semi circle and the edge to the line, Cut into the fold line one quarter inch

Bend the flap up.

Step 6: Assemble the dispenser

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Slide one of the corrugated pieces into the carton and push to the side so the cut out semi circles lines up with the one in the carton. Slip in the other on the other side, matching it the same way.

Fold the semi circle flaps in and force the flap down and back into the bottom of the carton. Pinch the fold along the line to sharpen it

Slide three rolls of tape on your can and set in the semi circles.

Hi!

Today I posted an entry on my blog with a link to this tutorial.

I'd appreciate your letting me know if that's OK.

Thanks,

Nancy Ward
http://paperfriendly.blogspot.com
jgroenert (author)  craftdesigns5 years ago
Share on!
this is a great solution to a sticky problem!
Kaiven5 years ago
This would be good for the 8 rolls of duct tape on my desk...
Quacko5 years ago
This worked really well with a great amount of kids- quick on and off with different colored tapes. Would be good for classrooms and craft areas for all kids- most kids managed this real well- good building instructions for a cool device.