Tadpole Tape Cutter – The Mini Dispenser That Goes On Your Tape

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Tadpole tape cutters

Tape dispensers are usually things you put your tape into. While technically a cutter and not a “dispenser”, these little green gadgets strap on to almost any roll of tape, giving you nice, straight cuts every time, without the bulk of a traditional dispenser or tape gun. At first glance, they were just another gimmicky novelty. But once I started using them, they won me over. If you use a lot of tape in your shop, on the job or around the house, you’ll probably find the Tadpole tape cutter as handy as I have.

Tadpole Tape Cutter – A Simple, Straightforward, Elegant Solution

Tadpole tape cutters
Tadpole tape cutters are available for 1”, 1-1/2” and 2” tape rolls.

When I tape off a project in prep for a paint job, I usually need square-ish cuts at the ends of my strips. But it’s difficult to get reliably straight tears by hand. So I end up digging out a pair of scissors and spending way more time on what should take less than a second.

Tadpole straps onto your tape roll.
Hook a Tadpole cutter to a roll of tape using the attached elastic cord.

It’s not that I’m bad at it (well, it’s not ONLY that I’m bad at it); it’s just the nature of tape. It defiantly rips at every angle but 90°, the acuteness and jaggedness of which is directly proportional to my own desire for a nice straight, square tear. In other words, when I do get a decent tear it’s a stroke of pure luck.

Tear vs. cut
Tear vs. cut. One of these was torn by hand. The other, cut with a Tadpole tape cutter. You can probably figure out which is which.

Tadpole Tape Cutter – Easy To Use, And Reuse

Attaching to tape roll
Just stretch the ends of the cord until they pop into the slot.

Each Tadpole tape cutter has an elastic cord that wraps around the inside of the tape roll to hold it in place. Grab the end of the cord and pull it into the slot on the side. Removing the cutter is just as easy. And not only are they inexpensive, but you can reuse them roll after roll. So you get a lot of value for the price.

Serrated cutting blade
The blade is like that of a standard tape dispenser.

Tadpole tape cutters work with just about any kind of tape: Painter’s tape, masking tape, gaffer’s tape, duct tape, aluminum foil tape, packing tape, and even electrical tape. With electrical tape, you’ll still get some of the stretching you’re used to. But at least you won’t have that really narrow, curled up end.

Like It’s Not There – Until You Need It

Tadpole on packing tape
It works great with packing tape too.

The first few times I used a Tadpole tape cutter, it felt awkward. That’s because I was doing it wrong; I was holding the sides of the Tadpole while pulling tape from the roll. The correct way (which works much, much better!) is to hold the roll and pull the tape exactly as you would without a Tadpole attached.

Pulling tape from the roll
Operate the tape roll as you normally would.

You only need to interact with the Tadpole when you’re ready to cut. Because these little amphibians tend to shift around a little, you’ll rarely get perfect 90° cuts. But they will be within a few degrees, and straight. And they’ll almost always be superior to hand torn edges.

Cutting tape with a Tadpole
When you’re ready to cut, hold the Tadpole tape cutter still with your thumb and let ‘er rip.

American Made – Yet Fairly Priced

American made
In an age when so much manufacturing has migrated overseas, Tadpole tape cutters are proudly born in the United States.

On a barely related note, you can be sure that men are the ones responsible for the sizing of both tape rolls and dimensional lumber: they feel the need to claim they are larger than they really are. Just as modern 2x4s are only 1-1/2” x 3-1/2”, rolls of tape sold as 1”, 1-1/2” and 2” are actually only 0.94”, 1.41” and 1.88”, respectively. But that’s OK; Tadpole tape cutters are sized appropriately.

Using the Tadpole tape cutter
This is generic green painter’s tape, but it gets the job done.

Despite the name, they are not in a larval state. That said, there’s no guarantee they won’t grow legs and hop away when your friends or co-workers see them in action. Especially if they get to try one out for themselves. So consider buying a few extras. And so you don’t have to ask: yes, they will work just fine with Frog Tape.

You can purchase Tadpole tape cutters for just over $5 each:

Buy Now - via Walmart

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About Steve

Steve made his first woodworking project at age 9 (in 1982) and whittled his first wooden chain at 18. He was also a consumer electronics repair tech and shop owner for a little over 20 years, until his impending obsolescence became impossible to ignore. Since then, Steve has focused passionately on manipulating his wood... in his workshop. Don't judge him.

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