Cigar Box Turned Washi Paper Tape Dispenser

Have you purchased any of the popular Washi, Japanese Rice Paper Tape? It’s very cool, to say the least. So many colors and patterns, and so many possibilities, what’s not to love. Just Google Washi tape or Japanese paper tape and you just may spend hours dreaming up ideas of how you might use it if you’re not already crafting with it.My small collection of Japanese paper tape has been rattling around in one of my cigar boxes.I was actually online today looking for a tape dispenser or dispensers to hold them when I had a Eureka moment- Turn the cigar box into a tape dispenser!

So…I packed up my box of tape and headed into town to Petaluma’s Orchard Supply Hardware. My first goal was to find something to hold the tape rolls, I was thinking a dowel rod when I saw these little foam paint rollers. I slid one through the center of one of the rolls of tape and it was a perfect, snug fit.
On to finding a dowel to run through the center hole of the foam rollers, I spied a rack of aluminum tubing. Way better than wood as the dowel could ultimately bow from the weight of the tape rolls.
Next, how to secure the tubing. That’s where super-helpful Ted came in. He was fun to brainstorm my project with, and he turned me onto these cool self drilling screws. Never heard of them, but now that I have, I’m sure I’ll be picking up more for future projects. Thanks Ted!
Finally, off to find a blade for the tear edge of the box. Replacement hacksaw blades would be ideal!
Back home, I used my thrift store steak knife to divide the sponge rollers into sections to fit my tape rolls and popped them into the centers. It is important that each tape roll has its own separate foam roller center as the rolls of tape must be able to turn independent from one another.
I measured my tubing to the width of the inside of the box and sawed it also with my knife. (Not a knife we use for food, by the way.)Using a new, full roll as a guide for height, I centered it on the side of the box and marked the center hole. (I slid out the narrow ink tube of my ballpoint pen to fit into the hole for marking.) I measured from top and edge to the hole mark and duplicated that on the other side to make the hole for the opposite end of the tubing.
I drilled holes at the marks on each end of the box. I then threaded the rolls onto the tubing. I separated each roll with two washers just to keep them from snagging on one another and was sure to align the tape to come off in the same direction on each roll.I screwed the tubing into place with the self drilling screws.I chose the most coarse hacksaw blade to create the best deckling when tearing off the tape, and drilled two holes into it.
Using one of the other blades I notched out small sections for the little nubs at the end of the hacksaw to fit into to keep the blade flush with the edge of the box.Using tiny screws from my picture hanging hardware stash, I attached the blade to the front of the box with it rising just a bit above the edge of the box itself.I still have room for a couple more rolls in this box before I begin another. And it is easy enough to remove the screws and tubing to add or replace any rolls.This was a very simple project with the right tools and inexpensive hardware. There are many ways to modify this concept, if you come up with one, I’d love to know about it!

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117 Responses to Cigar Box Turned Washi Paper Tape Dispenser

  1. #1 - Jennifer says:

    This is not only a super-clever idea for washi tape storage, it's also incredibly cool looking! Now I have to start searching out a nice wooden cigar box… maybe a stop by the local cigar shop is in order…

  2. #2 - Kristin says:

    That is absolute genius and looks great too, nice details with the saw, I wouldn't have thought how to tear the tape off, plus I learned a new word – deckling! Great tutorial.

  3. #3 - Cheryl~ZanyMayd says:

    So Clever & Beautiful…..

  4. #4 - KarenB says:

    Thanks for this tutorial. What a great idea and so cute, too!

  5. #5 - Kalyber says:

    I bet you hear words like clever, brilliant and genius all the time because you are. so cool.

  6. #6 - Gillian says:

    Just Brilliant! and so very beautiful 🙂

  7. #7 - Leslie says:

    You are so clever! Thank you for this!

  8. #8 - Cindy Pestka says:

    Holy schmoly…that was clever. And ya gotta love a guy like Ted who not only goes along with your vision but agrees to pose for a photo. Bravo!

  9. #9 - Flo says:

    What a good idea… It's so cute ! Bravo et thanks for the idea !

  10. #10 - Mummylade says:

    stunning result!

  11. #11 - Nora says:

    !!! Ingenious !!! Love it !!!

  12. #12 - Teresa says:

    what a fabulous idea! thanks for sharing it here.

  13. #13 - Effie says:

    Cool!…… where's that cigar box…………

  14. #14 - Liszha says:

    If anyone ever came up with a clever idea this is the one!

  15. #15 - Madigan at madiganmade says:

    Genius! Love the use of a blade to cut the tape. So cute!

  16. #16 - Anna says:

    Brilliant..what an awesome idea..looks fantastic x

  17. #17 - sharon says:

    Somebody has already said it but "Holy Schmoly" sums it up well for me – great project, great tutorial!
    my French Country Home

  18. #18 - Anonymous says:

    Love it. You are truly my hero.

  19. #19 - randomcreativity says:

    That is amazing! Its pretty and functional 🙂

  20. #20 - suesueb says:

    Super cool idea! I have so many cigar boxes-and I love the washi tape too!! I need to buy some more colors, they make the simplest wrapping paper so wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

  21. #21 - 1 Funky Woman says:

    Wow, super impressed! This is one of the best eureka moments ever! I would never in a million years think of this! I've never seen that tape either, how cool!


  22. #22 - Mokzan says:

    Love this idea, smart and very good looking. I might have to try this very soon.

    Greetings from Sweden ;o)

  23. #23 - LuLu Kellogg says:

    What a wonderful idea! Thank you so much for sharing!


  24. #24 - MoonRox says:

    What a great dispenser! I have piles of tape and only one big dispenser, but not big enough. Might have to craft another with your tutorial! So smart! Looks amazing!

  25. #25 - Jenny says:

    Such a very clever and inventive idea… looks great!!

  26. #26 - Kathy says:

    OK. You've just topped yourself. This is fabulous!! Genius in fact. In fact waaaaaaaay past Wiley Coyote Genius At Large – Genius.

    Very cool!


  27. #27 - Immi says:

    All I can say is…WOW!

  28. #28 - Karen Ellis says:

    Hi Cathe,
    So glad you saw the wire nest project the girls made! YES!! You were definately there in spirit and most certainly celebrity (no ish :)) THANK YOU so much for the inspiration. Now it looks like I might have to dig out the cigar boxes and do this too. LOVE it!

  29. #29 - mommara says:

    What a great idea!

  30. #30 - Melanie says:

    WOW! You are amazing! I have … oh…. twenty, thirty? rolls of tape … LOVE my tape … what a better way to store and display them! Thanks! Right now they are in a sterlite drawer and no one can see them. They need to be seen!

  31. #31 - TK says:

    I lived in Petaluma near Casa Grande High for 6 wonderful years. Glad to know Orchard Hardware still lives. I bought a blue spruce plastic christmas tree there in 1998 and we still use it!! Thanks for the clear directions on the tape dispenser. Thanks for sharing all your ideas!!

  32. #32 - Sabrina says:

    So clever!!! I love a good hardware store, so many ideas brewing there. I did want to ask you where you got the lovely label holder on the front of your box. I have been looking for just such a thing for our mudroom cubbies but to no avail. I'm sure I'm calling them the wrong name on my google searches. If you had time to share, I'd really appreciate it.

  33. #33 - Kathy says:

    That was down right brilliant!
    Why didn't I keep all thos cigar boxes of my Grandfathers?????
    Thanks for the inspiration and great photos.
    xoxo~Kathy @
    Sweet Up-North Mornings…

  34. #34 - gdyup says:

    Another brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing all the details!


  35. #35 - Kimmay says:

    This is so cool! It's far more sophisticated than the idea I used for storing ribbon on my blog:



  36. #36 - Anonymous says:

    Way Cool!

  37. #37 - Cathe Holden says:

    Sabrina said…I did want to ask you where you got the lovely label holder on the front of your box… I'm sure I'm calling them the wrong name on my google searches…

    Hi Sabrina,

    I scored a nice big box of vintage ones on ebay a while back, that was pretty rare, but you can find many more by searching using the following key words on Ebay and Etsy. Also, click to my original cigar box post highlighted in the text of this post and it will take you to images of these holders that link to purchasing them online retail.

    KEY WORDS: Brass Card Holder, Card Holder Hardware, ID holder, Label Drawer Pull, Tag holder, etc.

  38. #38 - Cottage Panache says:

    What some kind of wonderful genius this is! Love it ~ thanks for sharing! Maureen

  39. #39 - Terri says:

    This is a great idea! And it came out beautiful!!!

  40. #40 - Michelle says:

    Wow! I find myself thinking WOW often when I see what you have come up with and this project is no exception. Thank you for sharing your wonderful creations.

  41. #41 - Edie Marie's Attic says:

    Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! I love this project and have 2 cigar boxes that have been longing for a second life!! THanks!!!

    Hugs, sherry

  42. #42 - Jennifer Larson says:

    I kind of want to know where you got the cigar box…

  43. #43 - Theresa Merkling says:

    Brilliant! now I want one too!

  44. #44 - Priscilla says:

    Wow! I want to be just like you when I grow up! 😉

  45. #45 - Missy Ann says:

    Brilliant idea. And please don't think I'm taking anything away from your idea. A cheaper cutter… use the cutter from a roll of aluminum foil. You wouldn't even have to wait to use up the foil, just buy a box the same size you already have and put the new roll into the old box when the first roll is used up.

  46. #46 - KJ McLean says:

    I love this! So creative and practical!

  47. #47 - Love My Tapes says:

    This is very clever! Come check out our fabric tape ideas

  48. #48 - Annie Rose says:

    You have so many good ideas! The saw blade is such a great idea!

  49. #49 - jenny b harris says:

    Clever, ingenious, and skillfully made. I love how you displayed your problem-solving process. You continually wow me with your inventive mind!

  50. #50 - Stephanie says:

    You my dear are a genius!
    Super Cool!

  51. #51 - nailgirl says:

    found your blog via studio calico and thought i'd take a look see! wow! i love your beautiful tape dispenser, such an awesome idea!! now if i can just motivate myself to make myself one of these beauties!! thanks for a great idea.

  52. #52 - Createology says:

    Hi Cathe. You are brilliantly clever and never dissapoint! Happy and Safe Labor Day Holiday…

  53. #53 - Elise says:

    You ARE so clever, Cathe! {*Swoon!*} I LOVE this!

  54. #54 - Laura @ Ms Smartie Pants says:

    You rock! That is such a great idea. I love looking at things and using them as something different than what they were intended. I think I need one of these for my Christmas ribbon, such a smart idea!!!

  55. #55 - Bonnie says:

    You are brilliant!!! I'm going to have to hunt up a cigar box and do this. I was wondering what to do with my tapes so I wouldn't lose them or forget them or get them messed up somehow. Thank you for this brilliant idea!!!

  56. #56 - [marionette.] says:

    I'm pretty sure I'm the only guy that actually follows your blog so regularly, and it's even on the home screen of my iPhone. But your projects are so brilliant, I can't help but feel proud I found your blog! I especially love this project. Good job (:

  57. #57 - Mariah says:

    I love your projects and your vintage style. LOVE!

    I was just wondering if you put the hacksaw blade on the outside of the box for a particular reason? I would have put it on the inside of the box, having small children and all, it gets tucked away inside the box when it's shut. One less hazard in the house!

  58. #58 - says:

    Bloody brilliant. Such an ingenious idea.

    Well done and I thoroughly enjoyed the tutorial.

    Sandy K

  59. #59 - Cathe Holden says:

    Thank you everyone for all the wonderful comments, wow!

    -Mariah said, "…I was just wondering if you put the hacksaw blade on the outside of the box for a particular reason?…"

    Yes, Mariah, the reason is that if it is put on the inside of the box, there is nothing for the tape ends to stick to once torn. With the blade on the outside, the tape sticks to the rim of the box edge after each tear and doesn't fall off, rolling back up.
    Hope that made sense. Thanks so much for asking.

  60. #60 - Brenda says:

    You rock! That is an awesome storage container made useful. Now I need to check out this tape I had not heard of it before. Looks like great fun to use.

  61. #61 - Tam says:

    WOW!!! this rocks!!!!

  62. #62 - jane m. says:

    You SO CLEVER !! thanks for sharing

  63. #63 - Linda says:

    I DO love this. But…you could you just sell me one?

  64. #64 - Linda says:

    I DO love this. But…you could you just sell me one?

  65. #65 - Gandhali says:

    GENIUS! love it!

  66. #66 - Jacque says:

    Now that is a super great idea! Thank you.

  67. #67 - MommaMindy says:

    I think I am brilliant if I can find the end of my Scotch tape because it got stuck to the roll, and here you are, creating the perfect Wahi paper tape box dispenser! You are amazing!

  68. #68 - Kathleen says:

    You are so clever. I have to go google the tape, new to me!

  69. #69 - Fabulous Frau in the Aussie Bush says:

    Wow!~~ 5 Gold stars for you. Very clever and beautifully detailed. Mmmmm, I'm sure a version of your brilliant design would be great for fabric and paper ribbon too. Thanks so much for sharing – I look forward to following you. Cheers, Suzy 😉

  70. #70 - Michellem says:

    I had to call my husband over to brag about how creative you are! Like I know you or something – thanks for your endlessly creative ideas and your willingness to share them with all of us!! You rock!

  71. #71 - Demi-Brooke Jennings says:

    you are truly genius. so creative!

  72. #72 - Irish3 says:

    That's the coolest thing I've seen in a very long time!

  73. #73 - {raisingAlexis} says:

    sweet! I love this idea!!!

  74. #74 - Sew Many Ways... says:

    This is brilliant and beautiful! I love the hardware store. I actually have a whole section on my blog called Tool Time Tuesday with many things from the hardware section.

  75. #75 - Mitzi Curi says:

    You've come up with some pretty creative ideas, but this one takes the cake! How clever can one person be? Now excuse me while I go shop for some Washi tape….

  76. #76 - Donna VW says:

    This is a fantastic creation!

  77. #77 - Marley says:


  78. #78 - Barbara says:

    Terrific! Totally cool! I am already using cigar boxes to store my tapes in, but I just have them standing side by side and when I take a few out, the rest fall over. Your design is just the best darn thing I've seen!

  79. #79 - foo says:

    Whoa. That is one sexy tape dispenser. Your creativity boggles the mind, Cathe.

  80. #80 - marysworkshop says:

    Great tutorial and fascinating peak into how you design while searching through the hardware store. Thanks so much, Cathe, for sharing your amazing talent with all of us. Your project turned out wonderful!

  81. #81 - Pingos do Céu says:

    What a fantastic job! I love it!

  82. #82 - martha says:

    Your creativity is inspiring and addictive.

    Thanks for being so generous with your ideas!

  83. #83 - Dayle says:

    You are so clever. I can't wait to try it!

  84. #84 - Lorna says:

    Genius idea. Might make that a project for next weekend

  85. #85 - kjo13 says:


    I am super impressed!

  86. #86 - taylor kate says:

    what a fantastic idea!

  87. #87 - Roseanna says:

    Love this idea…you are so clever and creative! May I ask? Is that scripture Washi tape? Where did you find it? thanks for sharing such an awesome tutorial!

  88. #88 - Cathe Holden says:

    Hi Roseanna,

    I purchased mine from The Tinted Mint at the Bazzarr Bizarre show at Maker Faire, but here is a link to it online:

    It does look like scripture, but not all of it does, so I'm not sure what you can expect.

  89. #89 - Miss Fruitfly says:

    That is a very cool and organized way to store your washi tape. Bravo!

  90. #90 - Kim says:

    Hi! I blogged about you and used some of your pictures, hope that's ok?? If not, please let me know and I'll remove them. Love this idea!!

  91. #91 - one hot coffee says:

    this is a great idea to create a great looking tape dispenser. clever idea indeed

  92. #92 - Ellie Knol says:

    Gorgeous idea!! Thanks for sharing!
    I thought of making something like this for ribbons, and then using a (bit of) sticky tape to keep the ends on the side of the box. (I hope you understand what I mean, my English isn’t that good, I’m Dutch… )

  93. #93 - lee says:

    i love this! it hit me at the end that this would be a great way to make a box to keep my necklaces in and keep them detangled.

    i love the metal card frame/handle you put on the front. can you get those at a hardware store, or a craft store? they look pretty useful. i could even put a row of them on a board and hang my necklaces from that.

    i’m not normally jewelry obsessed, but my granddaughter played iin it while i was gone yesterday- grandpa let her!- and today i have one big shiny ball to untangle!

  94. #95 - kryssi says:

    daaaaaaaaaaaaamn girl! you sure know how to work a knife/hacksaw! lol! i am too lazy/dumb to ever make something like this. mad props!

  95. #96 - Lucy says:

    This is a marvelous idea. I have tons of cigar boxes and will put them to good use. I got a few ideas from your site about the boxes. Cheers!

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  97. #97 - Heidi Woodruff says:

    Wonderful idea! ~Heidi
    (blog giveaway until tomorrow)

  98. #98 - Heather Bellanger says:

    I love this! Thanks to my friend Angel who forwarded this project to me – I can’t wait to read the rest of your blog!!!!

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  100. #99 - Sherry says:

    That is a great idea. I have several wooden cigar boxes waiting to be transformed into something. Thank you for getting me headed in the right direction;

  101. #100 - Jeannie says:

    This is great! I also just found your blog and have been going through it today! The two things I probably would have done different is add a bit more space between the tapes maybe a washer or two more so I could get my finger between them better to get the tape. Secondly, I would have attached the blade on the inside of the box to make it a bit safer and placed second metal dowel, maybe thinner, right beside the cutting blade to hold the tape after you cut it. Just throwing out some suggestions. Happy New Year!

  102. #101 - CarrieTown says:

    Thanks for all the tips, they were very helpful. I was so inspired by your project, I made my own:

  103. #102 - bren47 says:

    Brilliant idea! I wanted to make one but lacked a proper cigar box, so I used foam core board. Here it is undecorated, but functional!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  104. #103 - Amy says:

    I LOVE this idea! I’m going to modify it for ribbons, with out the cutter, and I think i’ll do it in a deep enough box for 3 or more rows of rolls. I’m tired of my ribbons spewing out of their box and I won’t have to pay a fortune for a “ribbon organizer”! thank you! I love your blog.

  105. #104 - dervish says:

    Just stumbled upon this, looks great! Wonder if one could use the tear-edge from an about-to-be-discarded aluminum foil or plastic wrap box? Would be a great way to recycle something else!

  106. #106 - Tora says:

    Wowowowowo what a coooool idea. thanks for sharing 🙂

  107. #107 - Jan Hall says:

    Awesome. Also, why not make one for your rolls of ribbon…that would make gift wrapping simpler, especially at Christmas!!

  108. #108 - Lilith says:

    I’ve made my own Cigar-Washi-box :]
    Thank you for this Inspiration!

    LG Lilith

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  110. #109 - says:

    This is a fabulous project!!! We think the foam roller innards are the best part!

  111. #110 - Kimberly says:

    This is SO AWESOME!!! Thank you!!!
    My local cigar shop sells these boxes for $5, and the money goes towards sports uniforms for kids who can’t afford them!

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  113. #111 - Linda says:

    This is a wonderfully clear tutorial! Many that I find just do not have enough clear instructions and matching pictures! Your does! Thanks!
    P.S. Found you on an Etsy thread.

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  115. #112 - Tess S. says:

    WoW!!!!! I love your idea! This is beautiful and useful, too. This is my first time to your website and I’m impressed!