Addition to THE farmyard

Kitchen roll holder

I had been asked to make a kitchen towel holder/dispenser some time ago. I already have a collection of farmyard animals, chicken egg rack, goose doorstop and duck washing up brush holder. I had seen a label roll holder in a pharmacy, head and tail to represent a sheep and a rod for the body which held the rolls of labels. This was used as the basis for my design.

I checked the standard dimensions of kitchen rolls and looked at various images of sheep to get some ideas of proportion, then made up some drawings to get an idea of a cutting list.

The first difficulty was working out how to make the rod detachable to allow for replacement of the roll. I decided a captive nut on one end of the body and a threaded rod inserted in the end of the rod would probably work.

Selection of material was the next challenge. All the other animals in the series are made from oak or ash, but I wanted the sheep to be finished to blend with the white colour of the paper roll. I decided on oak , finished with a white varnish which gives a chalk paint type of finish but still allows the woodgrain to show and as such compliments the series of animals I already make.

Bespoke Woodwork




The drawings were transferred on to appropriate pieces of wood then cut out using my band saw and jig saw. This allowed me to make the curved forms I needed. A 30cm length of oak dowel formed the central rod.

A hole was made on the back surface of the front legs to fix the central rod, the neck was screwed and glued to the front surface of the front legs and the assembly set aside to dry.

The head was made up of three pieces, ears, face and top of head to give a 3D affect. Again all three pieces were joined together, sanded and set aside to dry.

The back leg assembly required a captive nut to allow for the removal of the rod and the shaped piece for the tail/bottom of the animal. The original piece was too large and had to be cut down to give the correct proportions.

Once all the pieces were assembled the sheep was given 2 coats of white varnish and one coat of clear silk internal varnish to finish. The ears, feet and facial features were painted in black to give a contrast and add a degree of realism. 

In terms of further development the prototype was made as free standing, but I need to give some thought to a wall mounted version which would involve a wider rear leg piece and some metal mounts to allow for removal from the wall to replace the roll when required.