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 your 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 500 ideas of how to transform a cardboard toilet paper roll into a craft sensation.
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 toilet paper rolls filled with soil, 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.
- You can transform toilet paper tube rolls into a variety of fun characters or animals, such as Disney’s Seven Dwarves or Superman.
- Create beautiful filigree designs can 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 small bowling game, as shown on Mom.com.
- Reflective paper and some colorful beads can turn a cardboard tube into a fun kaleidoscope, as shown on BabbleDabbleDo.com. Or, secure two toilet paper tubes together side by side for kid-sized, make-believe binoculars.
- 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?
- Tiny toy cars can have a tidy place to spend the night in this toilet paper tube garage from Heart Hook Home.
- Children can create fashion accessories with just a little glue and bits of leftover craft supplies with this toilet paper tube bracelet tutorial from Learn Create Love.
Feature image courtesy of Stacie. Originally published on March 19, 2015, this article was updated in June 2020.