Introduction: Toilet Roll Dispenser/Holder - Hot Off the Press

Look forward to toilet time with this "Hot off the Press Toilet Roll Dispenser".

This is a very inexpensive 'make' - pointless... but fun!

Items needed:

  • An off-cut of some MDF (sheet wood)
  • 6x Mini paint roller set (these are the cheapest I've found for UK)
  • Screws (quite small ones)

At its core, that's it... but optional things (for a completed finish) include:

  • Paint
  • Stencilling film (I used Frisket as I had some spare)
  • Black foam rollers (I used these)
  • Black Sharpie

Step 1: Planning and Preparation

I drew up a plan (above) to rationalise my thinking. For example, my design went through several iterations - 1, I considered using ink rollers but dismissed this because I thought they would be too stiff for the toilet paper to make roll - the paint rollers offer very little resistance. And 2, I considered using awning mounting pole brackets to just screw onto the MDF, but thought they would result in the roller arm sitting too far away causing the toilet paper to tangle behind, potentially - so I decided to just grind one edge flat and drill holes and screw directly on (this is the cheapest way).

So I bought 6x packets of a mini paint roller set - these are really cheap (£1 each), marked where the straight edge should be, ground it off then cut off the excess leaving just an inch for the screw holes to go.

Step 2: Drilling

I fashioned a jig (of sorts) and drew a line on it to check the bracket against - checking it was ground straight, then marked out where my holes should be and began to drill.

Tip: Use a low-torque drill when cutting through metal - initially I had a power drill and was getting nowhere fast (it was just spinning, causing heat). Then an internet search told me to use a low-torque power drill but I didn't have a one to hand, so I used a hand drill instead - bit awkward and lots of perseverance required but eventually I got there.

Step 3: Assembly

I took my off-cut of MDF - mine was approx. 53cm x 33cm x 12mm thick and, using my plan, screwed all the brackets in place. Additionally, I drilled a 10mm hole at one side to fit the cutter mechanism - made simply by taking a mini saw blade (a jigsaw blade will do too) and cutting a groove in some 10mm diameter dowel then gluing in place.

This could be job done - but I then decided to give it a paint job.

Step 4: Painting

I didn't initially plan for the painting, so had to come up with a design. After thinking for a while I realised my design would require me to reposition brackets slightly - so I filled in the old holes and before making new ones printed out my entire design (with centre points for the rollers marked) then laid on top of my MDF to better decide how to position the brackets. I then made the screw holes by drilling through the paper design into the MDF directly; this ensured everything was in exactly the correct place. This was a crucial step as my design includes breaks for where the toilet paper will pass - so a person who's reloading the dispenser knows the order in which to load it simply by following the breaks.

With this done, I painted the board Slate Grey (I had this colour already) then made up some stencils using Frisket masking film and carefully positioned them according to the design. I then masked the excess areas then sprayed with spray paint. Finally, after around 3 coats then waiting 2hrs to dry, I peeled off the masking stencils.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

I screwed the brackets back on, then thought I'll go round the orange parts with a black Sharpie, so I removed the brackets again and proceeded to outline all the orange parts.

Finally I decided to buy (optional expense) some black foam rollers as these I thought would contrast well with the white of the toilet paper - and be more in-keeping with the printing press look I'm trying to achieve.

Step 6: Load Up

If you wanted to be really elaborate you could extend the 'roller line' by making several of these then screwing them in different places along one wall - then you could feed the toilet roll between them all.