Make your own paper roll holder

Make your own paper roll holder

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Wood glue is a great thing, but it makes a big mess if you put it on your workbench. I like to put some sticky paper down before I stick it on, but it’s a little awkward to have it wrapped around the store. To free up some space, I built a wall-mounted paper hanger, a design you can modify to store wrapping paper, craft paper, or any paper that comes on a roll. Now I can pull out the sheet whenever I need it.

Not only that, I made it entirely out of scrap wood that was left over from our ongoing garage addition. Since it’s an ideal use of random pieces of wood, you can use any material you have that is close to the measurements listed below – they don’t have to be exact. It’s also designed as a shopping tool — no frills or pretty designs — but there are plenty of ways to spruce it up if you want.


  • time: 1 to 2 hours
  • it costs: $0 to $30
  • difficulty: easy


Since my workshop is often crowded while building the addition, I primarily used a circular saw and a drill for this project. Never hesitate to use a miter saw and/or Saw table Alternatively, but it’s good to remember that you can still build things with minimal tools.

2. Drill holes in the side panels to mount the dowel. Use a ⅞-inch Forstner bit to drill these holes—you want a little play around the 3/4-inch dowel so it slides in and out easily. Measure the location of each hole from the bottom front corner of each side panel.

For the 6-inch diameter roll, I went up 3.5 inches from the bottom, then 3.5 inches from the front edge to keep it completely inside the rack frame. If you are using a different size roll, adjust the measurements accordingly.

Place the slot in the right place and the roll will sit inside the edges of the side panels. Jean Levasseur Popular Science

3. Cut the stretchers that connect the two side panels. The stretchers should be long enough to leave enough space between the side boards to fit the roll of paper. You don’t want your fit to be too tight, so cut it long.

For example, my roll is 36 inches long, and each side board is 1.5 inches thick, so the stretchers need to be at least 39 inches long. I cut my 1×4 boards to 40 inches to leave a half inch of breathing room. A quarter of an inch would have been fine, but less than that would cause the tire to compress the roll and make it difficult to pull.

[Related: A woodworker’s guide for choosing the right saw for each cut]

Determine the cutting lengths with the speed square, then cut them with the circular saw.

  • Pro Tip: After marking the cut line with the speed square, position the circular saw at that mark. Then place your speed square back on the board, slide the edge and press against the saw board. Use the speed square as a ruler to get a vertical cut that doesn’t wobble.

5. Cut the thin front panels that will hold the paper. Thin cutting boards (40 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, and 1/4 inch thick, in my case) with a circular saw are difficult to work well, because the vibration of the saw can cause smaller boards to bounce and shake.

One trick is to place the saw blade no deeper than the thickness of the boards you want to cut, and then place the workpiece on top of some scrap wood instead of hanging it over the edge of the workbench. When you cut, the blade will scratch the plate underneath, so make sure it’s not something you appreciate. But it will keep the thin board stable for safer, cleaner cuts.

Or you can do what I did, and cut it with a hand saw.

6. Install the front panels. The purpose of these two thin front panels is to allow the paper to slide between them. This will hold it in place, making it easier to position the paper while cutting. You can also pull and tear the paper if you’re not interested in nice, clean lines.

Like stretchers, glue these two panels in place, then pre-drill to avoid cracks. Install one at the very bottom of the front of the unit, and the other about ⅛ inch above that, leaving a uniform space between them.

7. Install a cotter pin at the end of the dowel. If you leave the dowel loose, it will likely slip out of the slots as you rotate the paper roll. Drill a ⅛-inch diameter hole in the end of the stake, perpendicular to the ground, and install a small cotter pin. This will prevent it from being pulled through the holes. You can also use a lynch pinBut you will need to dig a larger hole. Likewise, you can use a small bolt and nut, but removing that will take a little longer.

9. Push the paper through the front panels. Once the roll is hung, push the paper through the small ⅛-inch gap you left between the two thin front panels. This will allow you to withdraw only the amount you want.

I tried making a cutter head with a razor blade that slides over the paper slot, but it only tore the paper. I couldn’t get a direction or design that gave a clean cut. My advice is to keep a pair of scissors on hand, or tear the paper along the edge of the wood.

What you won’t need are paper towels to clean up glue messes when you finish your installation projects. A clean project in more ways than one.

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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