My mother used to find all sorts of ingenious uses for toilet paper tubes. She could keep my sister and me entertained for hours with those little cardboard cylinders, making craft projects and musical instruments.
When we grew too old for those toys and games, she taught us to use the empty tubes for organizing electrical cords and craft supplies.
My fascination for recycling TP tubes started early, and I’ve continued to add to Mom’s ideas as I’ve grown older. I even have an entire Pinterest board devoted to the topic. I call it “We’re on a Roll.”
And since today is National Toilet Paper Day, I thought it would be the perfect time for sharing some of my favorite ideas with you. Just look at all the things you can do with those empty paper tube:
I love the look of these wrappers for small Christmas gifts, but when I tried to click through to the watermarked website, it seems to no longer be in existence.
Fortunately, you can find step-by-step instructions at Crissy’s Crafts for making similar wrappers like the ones pictured here:
Toilet paper tubes can come in handy for gift wrapping, even when they don’t show:
This was my mother’s favorite trick, only she covered the tubes with contact paper to make them prettier and more durable:
But toilet paper tubes also come in handy when organizing your craft supplies. Leave them long and round for separating markers or crayons by color:
Or flatten them and cut in half for organizing notions such as ribbon, lace, and ric rac:
Toilet paper tubes will help you deck the halls in a hurry. You can use them to trim the tree:
Set the table:
Or make a nifty advent calendar for your kids. Isn’t this one from Mindy Pritcher pretty?
And if you’re looking for something unique to put under the tree for your children, there’s no shortage of ideas for toilet paper toys, like these adorable racecars from Mamas Latinas…
…or this fire-breathing dragon from Laughing Kids Learn?
And what child wouldn’t love their very own recycled playhouse?
Crafting Tools & Supplies
Older children would enjoy making some of the above projects themselves, or they can use toilet paper tubes as tools for crafting other projects. Here’s a homemade knitting loom that fits this description:
You can even use the empty rolls as molds in making your own sidewalk chalk! You’ll find complete directions for this project at Playful Learning:
Toilet paper tubes can also be turned into some wonderful learning activities. Thrive 360 Living offers 5 different activities to keep kids busy with this rainbow colored set:
And this marble run is another great idea. You’ll find instructions for making it at Being Genevieve:
Think toilet paper tube crafts are just for kids? Think again. I’ve seen some pretty impressive grown-up art projects made from that medium, as well, such as this welcome wreath by Bead and Cord:
Lawn & Garden
And empty roll crafts aren’t just for indoors, either. I found several ingenious uses for toilet paper tubes outside, as well. For a green way to start seedlings, try this:
And don’t forget your little feathered friends. You’ll find instructions for making these quick and easy birdfeeders at The Resourceful Mama.
Toilet paper rolls also have lots of costume potential. Isn’t this Mac-n-Cheese costume from Costume-Works just as cute as can be?
And I love these Wonder Woman bracelets from Rachel Rabbit. I wouldn’t mind having a pair of those myself. 😉
This last one isn’t made from empty toilet paper tubes, but from the tissue itself. For the past 12 years, Charmin has sponsored a “Toilet Paper Wedding Gown” Competition, and the entries are nothing short of spectacular:
The winner gets a $10,000 cash prize. Just look at all that detail!
One of our sons just proposed to his girlfriend last night. I can’t say it’s unexpected: He’s had the ring for months, and I understand she has already bought her dress, as well. Otherwise, I might’ve tried to talk her into crafting one herself from cottony soft Charmin. And the tubes that would be left over? I’m sure we could find a good use for those, too. 🙂
And all this beautiful “iron work” is also made from — you guessed it — empty TP rolls:
Ready for more repurposed projects? Then you should take a gander at all the savvy ways you can recycle tin cans, too.