Washi Tape Dispenser

Build a Washi Tape Dispenser

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Hey, there fellow crafty people! You know that I love washi tape. If you don’t know then you should check out my blog post all about this magical paper tape. I also love repurposing things and finding cool things to make out of craft supplies I find at Dollar Tree. I decided to build myself a washi tape dispenser.

The impetus for this is that I needed a way to wrangle my washi tape to improve my workflow. I use washi tape a lot; like, A LOT. I had the original tubes that some of them came in and a neat American Flag-themed holder I got at Daiso that I was using to store them in. However, they didn’t always stay in the holders. They ended up in my tray next to my Cricut Smart Cutter, across the office, or General Kenobi absconds with them and I find them in his cat tree.

Gotta wrangle the washi

Bottom line, it was not a neat and tidy situation. So, I’d been thinking of ways I can solve this problem with things I already had on hand. Cricut Transfer Tape comes in rolls and they have a solid white thick cardboard core. I have been saving them for repurposing because I figured I could do something with them, or my Umbrella Cockatoo friend may get some free toys. Don’t worry, Ricky, I still have plenty for you, my friend.

While the tubes are white, they do have blue numbers on them, so I wanted to jazz them up a bit. I considered painting them, which is definitely an option, but I have a TON of Marble Gray Con-Tact Adhesive Covering left over from lining my shelves in my house. They come in rolls 18 inches by 20 feet; I had a partial and full roll left over as well as some scraps. This was a perfect opportunity to use up some of that leftover adhesive.

Fun fact: Con-Tact coverings say 18 inches on the label, but you can see in the photo below that it’s at least a half inch longer than that.

Gathering materials for a washi tape dispenser

I had some dowels I bought from the Dollar Tree and I figured they would be just the right width and diameter to hold the tape so they could spin freely for dispensing. I also figured I could use a hole punch or drill to put a hole in the tube that was big enough for the tape. In the end I tried it both ways and a drill was just overkill. The hole punch, while a little tougher with the tube worked well; it would be easier with a paper towel or toilet paper roll. The drill may work if you’re using poster tubes though.

Also, I changed my mind on how many dowels I wanted after I hung it so that’s why you see the prep photos with two dowels. Since I could use a hole punch to make the holes in the center, I used a leather punch instead. If you don’t have a leather punch, you could use a knife to cut a crosshatch .25 inches wide and .25 inches long and just punch the dowel through it.

Washi Tape Dispenser Tutorial Time!

Materials List:

  • Two (2) Cricut Transfer Tape Core Tubes or Paper Towel or Tubes Toilet Paper Tubes
  • Con-Tact Adhesive Covering, a 12×12 piece is sufficient
  • A large straight-edge ruler, the Cricut ruler is perfect for this application
  • 2-3 wood dowels .25 inches in diameter, length is negotiable. You can get these at Dollar Tree 10 for a $1
  • A pair of scissors
  • A single hole punch
  • Straight-edge or X-Acto cutting knife
  • Small ruler
  • Cutting mat, I used a Fiskars 18×24-inch mat as I was working with the large adhesive rolls
Materials List Image

Optional Materials:

  • 4- to 8-inch zip ties, depending on what you’re tying it to OR
  • String (I used hemp but any string will do)
  • ¼ inch Leather Punch
  • Small level

The tubes can stand on their own, so you don’t have to hang them, but I opted to do so. You can use either 4- to 8-inch zip ties or string to tie them to something like a hanger or a wire rack in my case.

Optional materials

Cut the adhesive to size

1. Measure the tubes you’re using to determine the length. The tape core tubes I used are 12 inches long.

2. Measure the tube’s diameter to see how wide you need to make your cut. Con-Tact backing paper has half-inch squares on it which makes measuring a breeze. The easiest way is to roll a tube along the backing then mark the line by snipping it with scissors. You can use the small ruler to measure so you don’t have to count the squares and do the math. The tape core tubes I used are 5.5 inches in diameter.

3. Line up the Con-Tact paper with the lines on your cutting mat, then use your ruler to trim the width. You’ll need two (2) of these adhesive cuts.

4. If you’re using a full-size roll of Con-Tact adhesive you’ll need to trim the length. Place the tube on the backing paper to measure the length.

5. Trim the length of the adhesive on both of the adhesive cuts you made.

Apply the adhesive to the tubes

Use the hinge method to apply the adhesive.

1. Peel back about a half an inch of the backing paper.

Hinge Method - Peel backing paper

2. Place your tube on the backing paper about a quarter of an inch over the peeled-back paper.

Place tube on the paper

3. Line up the tube with the paper by rolling the paper over the tube and making sure the edges are aligned with the backing paper.

Line up the tube

4. Roll the tube forward slowly until the tube meets the exposed adhesive.

5. Lay the unexposed portion flat and begin pulling the backing paper off, exposing the adhesive while slowly rolling the tube forward. Do this until you reach the end of the tube. (See video below)

You can sometimes run into challenges with Con-Tact adhesive but it’s removable so no worries there.

6. Repeat for the second tube.

Punch the dowel holes

PRO-TIP: Before you begin this section, make sure your hole punch is as sharp as possible. You can sharpen it by punching holes in aluminum foil. This works for any type of punch. I even use aluminum foil to extend the life of my Cricut blades.

Sharpen your punch with aluminum foil

1. Find the seam where the two sides of the adhesive meet.

2. Slide the hole punch as far up the tube as possible and use the seam to center your cut.

3. Repeat this on the opposite end of the tube.

4. Test the holes by placing the dowels in punched hole until it meets the back of the tube.

5. Slide the other tube on the opposite end of the dowel.

6. Push the tubes together until the ends of the dowels meet the opposite wall of the tubes.

7. Repeat this step for the other dowel.


Prep the tubes for hanging

1. With the dowels inserted, measuring a half inch down in the center of the tube and mark the spot.

2. Repeat this for both sides of both tubes.

3. Using the hole punch, punch holes in the areas you marked on each side of the tubes.

4. Cut two lengths of string. I used 24-inch-long strings for my project.

5. Feed the strings or zip ties through the front hole and out through the back.

6. Even up the strings or zip ties so it will be easier to do so when you tie it whatever you’re hanging it from.

Hanging the washi tape dispenser

1. Do a test hang with your string or simply hold the tubes up to see if the width is good for placing the dowels (you may need a spotter for this method).

2. If the width is good, retie your strings a little tighter. If you’re using zip ties, zip them loosely until you get things level.

3. Use a small level, smartphone app, or measure each end from the top of your first dowel to the object you’re hanging your dispenser on to ensure it’s level. Check out this blog post from CanvasPop.

4. Double knot your string and then slip the string inside the tube. If you’re using zip ties, trim the ends of your ties.

Placing your washi tape on the dispenser

1. Move the two tubes apart slightly and slide the left end of the dowel out of its hole.

2. Place your tapes on the dowel. I placed mine with the roll facing down, like a toilet paper roll. Be sure to leave enough space on the dowel so you can easily spin the rolls for dispensing.

3. Once you have your rolls on the dowel, slide all of the tapes to the right and insert the dowel in the righthand tube as far as it will go.

4. Reinsert the dowel on the tube on the left and you’re good to go!

Wanna add another dowel?

1. I added a third dowel by measuring from the top of tube and making a mark in the middle on the seam.

2. I used a ¼ inch leather punch to make the new holes. It’s not as neat as a hole punch but it does the job.

A leather punch will do the job.

3. Insert your new dowel on the righthand tube and start adding your tapes.

4. Insert the dowel on the tube on the left and you’re done!

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