Introduction: DIY Cardboard Candy Dispenser

About: I am a maker. As founder of MakerBlog, I enjoy sharing my creations with others.

Ever since I joined Instructables (about 8 years ago) I've been interested in stacked cardboard creations, like this cardboard moose head by N36, or this cardboard desk lamp by PenfoldPlant. Inspired in part by them, I decided to create a stacked cardboard candy dispenser.

Why should anyone want this candy dispenser? I dunno, but it was fun to build and it works surprisingly well. I assure you I have tested it very thoroughly. Now where did those M&Ms go... ?


What you'll need:

- General Purpose Glue

- Glue Stick

- 1 or 2 Corrugated Cardboard Boxes

- A Glass Jar (~70 mm mouth)

- A Scroll Saw (or laser cutter, if you're independently wealthy)

Optional (Only if you want to tweak the design):

- Fusion 360 (

- Slicer for Fusion 360 (

Step 1: Design and Preparation

After spending about an hour in Fusion 360 messing around with possible designs for the dispensing mechanism, and after discarding five other versions of this model, I came up with the above model. The idea isn't original, but the model is. (The picture doesn't show the 'drawer' mechanism, but that is fairly simple. I'll show it in one of the following steps.)

Next, I cut up several boxes and glued them together to create stacks of 2, 4, 6, and 7 sheets of corrugated cardboard. I used general purpose Tacky Glue to glue the sheets, then I placed something heavy on the stack for 1+ hour.

Step 2: Cutting Out Parts

Print off CandyDispenser.pdf and use it as a general outline to cut out shapes from the stacked cardboard you made in the last step. This PDF was generated using the Slicer app for Fusion 360 on my .obj model.

First, use a glue stick to glue shape #8 (from the .pdf) to a stack of 4 pieces of corrugated cardboard. Then cut this out with a scrollsaw.

Second, glue shapes #6 and #1 to a 2-thick stack of cardboard. Cut these out.

Third, glue shape #4 to a 7-thick stack of cardboard. Cut out the interior shape. Save both pieces (the inside and the outside, like shown in image four). The inside part of the cutout will act as your candy dispenser mechanism. Cut the sides of the inner cutout so they approximately match image 3. This prevents the drawer from sliding out too far.

Fourth, cut out an oval, as shown in images 3 and 4. This oval should line up under the #6 cutout. The size of the oval determines the candy serving size. As a result, you should freehand this cutout to fit your serving size expectations.

Finally, cut out a handle from 4-thick cardboard. You should glue this handle to the front of the inside cutout from step 3 (see end photo for my handle shape).

I hope that wasn't too confusing. If it was, feel free to ask a question or examine the pictures. I've tried to include lots of helpful photos.

Step 3: Glue... Glue... Glue...

In this step, you'll glue all of the layers together. If it isn't fairly obvious how they fit together, at this point, then here are specific instructions, from the bottom up (literally).

1) Add layer made from shape #1.

2) Add layer made from shape #4. Make sure drawer is inserted, but don't glue the drawer to anything. The drawer needs to be able to move freely.

3) Add layer made from shape #6. Make sure the cutout is on the same side as the opening from the layer below.

4) Add layer made from shape #8. This layer should be approximately centered on the other layers.

Now wait until the glue dries. Be sure to double-check that the drawer (dispensing mechanism w/ handle) can still move freely. You do NOT want to glue it to anything.

Step 4: Enjoy!

Fill the jar with candy pieces, thread the jar into the top cardboard piece (it should thread, if you have the right size jar), and enjoy!

To use the dispenser, just 1) pull out on the handle, 2) place your other hand under the 'drawer', and 3) eat candy!

I hope you'll enjoy making this project as much as I did! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to let me know. Also, I'm open to new design ideas that include gears, locking mechanisms, and quarter slots. Leave any ideas below. Thanks!

Cardboard Speed Challenge

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