But then when we got here, I realized that I really didn't want the entire roll to unroll in a big spiral all at once. So I came up with this hack as a way of keeping a roll of calculator paper in check. And then I took photos so I could write this tutorial for y'all.
a cheap plastic pen
a hair tie, rubber band, or piece of thin elastic
Take the pen apart. I chose my pen based on the length of the middle plastic tube-y part. (Long enough to span across the roll of paper, but not too long.)
Cut your hair tie.
Thread the hair tie through the pen tube.
Thread the other end of the hair tie through the middle of the roll of paper.
and tie a knot.
Slip the knot around into the inside of the roll.
Now you can hold the tube by the middle and pull on the paper. It will also stop the roll from unrolling before you want it to.
I gave Lucy the run of one roll today. At first she just tore little pieces off to write on (shopping lists, I think). Then she figured out that it would be fun to have me hold the roll while she pulled the paper across the entire room. She pulled the whole roll off in very long pieces, then put them in a pile and spent at least half an hour picking the pile up and throwing it in the air like autumn leaves and generally reveling in the mess. At the moment she's taking several shorter pieces and bundling them together to make a bouquet of flowers.
Unfortunately I do not have a hack for cleaning up the mess.