DIY Farmhouse Kraft Paper Roller

I’m Falling into the new Season with this fun and affordable DIY, that can be used throughout the year. You know I am crazy about chalk art, so my first thought was to paint the wall with chalk paint to use as another my seasonal Creative Station. After considering how often I bring in other typographic decor into this room, I decided to make something less permanent using a Kraft Paper Roller. Besides, the vintage paper rollers have a special place in my heart, every time I see one (mostly online), I am taken back to the days when I worked at my dad’s typography shop.

Photo: University of Illinois Archives. – Typesetting/Composing room. (Left back) Linotype operator.

Aside from having all the equipment in the above photo, plus some, my dad’s type shop also had a couple of really old paper holders that we used for wrapping lead type for our print shop customers. This was the day of letterpress, lead type set on linotype machines, larger hand-set wood block and Ludlow metal type. That dates me, Now I can’t help but think of the good o’days of typography & quality print when I see one of those old paper rollers.

Photo Source: Haven Vintage, Etsy

My DIY Farmhouse (ha) Paper Roller is for modern decorative purposes and hangs on the wall. It can be used for lists, kid’s art, or, the way I most prefer… a space for Inspiration…quotes, dinner party menus, ahh…reflecting my mood.

Farmhouse Inspiration…

Photo Source: HGtv, Fixer Upper, photo by Rachel Whyte

Source: HERE

My Simple DIY Farmhouse Kraft Paper Roller…

What makes my Paper Roller Super-Simple to Make?  I re-purposed a purchased “wall storage bar” into a paper roll holder. I bought my storage bar at World Market. It was discounted 40%, so it only cost $13., which is no more than what I could have made one for, and a lot cheaper than buying one marketed as a paper roller. If you can’t find one like mine, a towel rack attached to a wooden base would re-purpose easily into a Roller, too.

Before you do anything…

Measure the width of where the to the Paper Roller will be placed. Now for the roll of paper…Most rolls of kraft paper come in either a 15″, 18″ or 24″ width. My needed paper width was somewhere between 18″ and 24″, because the 24-inch storage rack I bought can only handle up to 22″ wide paper, due to its curved bar. So, this is what I did to maximize my width options.

Poor quality photo, but this shows the graphic prior to getting a proper Fall enhancement.

I went to Walmart to see what paper sizes were in-stock – they had both 18″-wide and 30″-wide rolls of heavy brown Kraft paper. Note, I am picky on the paper’s color and thickness, and these were perfect. I bought THIS 30″ wide roll, and cut it down to a custom 22-inch width. I also liked that this roll was not so long that it would be too heavy to hang on the wall. The bar holds up to 35 pounds, but I did not want that fat of a roll on my wall. BTW, the 60# weight (thickness of the paper) has a lot of body, however, even at that, the permanent black markers I used for lettering do bleed through it. So my plan is to always tear off a long length of paper, draw or write on it, and then re-tape it back onto the roll of paper where the tape is hidden in the rolled paper. Be sure that you protect the area you are drawing on from the ink bleed too.

How-To: Simple Kraft Paper Roller…

Calculate the maximum width of paper your bar can hold and still unroll easily.

I needed to cut my roll of Kraft paper to a custom 22-inch width. It takes a while to do this because it must be measured, marked, cut and re-roll, then repeat, til the whole roll is cut. Tip: use clips to make it easier…

Detach the bar from its base. (below, the paper looks like it is on the bar already, it’s not, just propping wood up for the pic.)

If your Kraft roll holder does not have a curved bar and your paper roll is the exact width you want, you can ignore and skip down to How-to Graphics…but my paper roll needed a center cardboard tube to re-roll my newly sized paper on, so I used a cardboard tube from a roll of gift wrap paper that I had on hand. Tip: cut your tube a bit shorter than the paper width so it will not show when re-wound. Now to get the tube onto the curved bar, slit the tube down its length, and slip the bar into the tube (confused? see the Supplies photo above.)

That (Tip) about the rubber band will make it easier to handle the roll while reattaching the bar to the wooden base and especially while attaching the whole unit to the wall. I permanently keep the rubber band tucked inside the tube for when (if) I later remove the unit.

How-To Graphics…

As most non-artists, I find graphics easier to make using a computer and then trace, with a chisel tip Sharpie marker, onto my kraft paper. So my lazy plan is to always tear-off a (long) piece of Kraft paper from my new roller, then use my light box on the counter to trace computer generated graphics.

Remember I mentioned that even with 60# paper the ink may bleed through? It did not bleed through the added layer of the computer design…fortunately, because I really love this little DBMIER light box.

The finished graphic strip of paper is taped back onto the roll and rolled up so the tape is hidden. Man, that is smart! A person could recycle her seasonal creations for years!

I found matching tape (same brand) at Walmart too. It barely shows against the paper!

Grab your PDF Download   Freebie Hello Fall 

A Little Special Detail…

I noticed in the Farmhouse Inspiration photos (see at top of post), that the tail of the paper needs to be either weighted with clips or held down with a bar. I first used two vintage clips, looked cool, but then I settled on the bar option. The benefit of the bar is that it holds down the paper and works as a  straight-edge for tearing off the paper.

Here’s how… I bought a thin lightweight aluminum “Flat Bar” at the hardware store and had them cut it to length. The ends of the bar are sharp enough to cut little fingers, so I smoothed them using a metal file. Be sure to wear protective glasses when filing metal, and wash hands after so tiny pieces don’t get rubbed into your eyes.

The tear-bar was painted to match the roller bar and I added a couple of flat washers, behind the screws, to give it some Industrial pizzazz. To create the unusual rubbed-tone of the roller bar I simply sprayed it with black paint then gave it a mist of silver paint. Not a perfect match but I had the paints on-hand and it looks good. I also added a hex nut at each end, between the wall and the backside of the bar, before screwing it to the wall. The thickness of the hex nut provides space for the paper to slide easily between the wall and bar.

Oh nooo, I couldn’t leave it alone…

After a week of loving it as a black only graphic, I thought the leaves needed some Fall punch, so I painted in one leaf and highlighted the other two leaves. I used was a metallic paint pen for a copper leaf finish that stands out beautifully against the flat kraft paper. I put a newspaper behind the design and “painted” the leaves without having to take the roll off of the wall. It’s done and I’m already thinking about another design to draw on my Kraft Paper Roll for Thanksgiving.

Are you already planning your next quote or drawing?

Thanks for Meeting Me Lakeside!




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