repurposed toilet paper rolls

We’ve all got them — toilet paper rolls. An eco-friendly approach is to recycle the cardboard tubes as quickly as they accumulate. But before you toss them in the recycling bin, consider their crafting potential. These rolls are a versatile material that the kids — and you — can use in a variety of projects.

The lowly toilet paper roll doesn’t seem like it should be worthy of artistic display. But you’d be surprised at what a cardboard cylinder can become with just the right touch. Check out this collection of more than 300 ideas of how to transform a cardboard toilet paper roll into a craft sensation.

Cardboard Tube Totems
Cardboard Tube Totems. Image courtesy of Mary Anne Enriquez.

Toilet Paper Roll Craft Ideas

For starters, here are a variety of great ideas for fun, artistic, and useful toilet paper roll crafts.

  • Start seedlings in pots made from toilet paper rolls, as shown on Instructables. The cardboard is a biodegradable material that will compost back into the soil as the plant grows.
  • The Almost Unschoolers blog shows how to create low-cost Tinker Toys. All you need are paper tubes, a hole punch, and some pencils for eco-friendly, educational playtime.
  • Make tiny pillow boxes for small gifts by artfully folding a toilet paper tube, as Red Ted Art shows.
  • Create beautiful filigree designs from toilet paper tube rolls? Yup, Suzy’s Artsy Craftsy Sitcom decorated a standard wall clock with a mass of curly-cued enhancements for a stunning piece of home decor. Take the same idea and create floral patterns or abstract designs to display in an open frame. You could also use it to embellish gift wrap.
  • A few spare buttons, toothpicks, and a toilet paper tube roll cut into thin strips is all it takes to create a kid-friendly game of Button Golf — JDaniel4’s Mom shows you how. Or, turn those tubes into a miniature bowling game, as shown on
  • Reflective paper and some colorful beads can turn a cardboard tube into a fun kaleidoscope, as shown on Or, secure two toilet paper tubes together side by side for kid-sized, make-believe binoculars, as shown on Red Ted Art.
  • Need a perfect circle stencil? The end of a cardboard tube works great. Or, get instructions on Arty Crafty Kids for a kid-friendly project of toilet paper roll printing (and painting).
  • Kids love toys that make noise, so what could be better (or cheaper) than these TP roll maracas created with rice, duct tape, and toilet paper tubes from PBS Kids for Parents?

Feature image courtesy of Stacie. Originally published on March 19, 2015, this article was updated in April 2021.

By Kimberly Button

Kimberly Button is the author of The Everything Guide to a Healthy Home and the Editor-in-Chief of GetGreenBeWell , featuring modern, sane ideas for living a non-toxic life. A professional journalist for nearly two decades, Button has written for magazines such as Martha Stewart's Whole Living, American Airlines, AAA, Sierra, National Geographic Traveler, and Vegetarian Times. Visit for more information.