When you finish a roll of toilet paper or paper towels, do you toss the cardboard tube into the recycle bin? Check out these awesome ways to reuse them instead!
The average American family uses around 240 rolls of toilet paper per year – around 20 12-packs. That’s a lot of cardboard headed to the recycle bin or the landfill. Recycling your cardboard paper tubes is good, but reusing them is even better, since you get to skip the energy use and waste produced in a paper recycling plant.
I know, crafting with toilet paper tubes might seem a little bit gross. If that idea squicks you out, you can cut paper towel tubes down to use in these projects instead. For what it’s worth, I’ve been using toilet paper tubes in craft projects for years without any problems, but I totally understand if you’d rather avoid crafting with something that lived in your bathroom. It’s all about your comfort level!
We keep a little basket on a shelf in the bathroom to stash empty toilet paper rolls for crafting. Some of the toilet paper tube ideas below use a single roll and some involve a few rolls. Take a gander, and decide how many rolls you need to save up to start crafting!
15 Ways to Reuse Toilet Paper Tubes (or Paper Towel Tubes)
1. DIY Rocket – A toilet paper or paper towel tube is the perfect base for making an upcycled play rocket.
2. Play Megaphone – I can’t call this a craft, really, but it’s a game that my 17-month-old LOVES. Grab a toilet paper or paper towel tube for each of you, and talk into one of the open ends. He loves how it distorts our voices!
3. Faux Christmas Lights – Think LED lights are an eco-friendly Christmas decoration? Check out these totally upcycled lights made from toilet paper tubes!
4. Make an Eyeglass Holder – This is such a cute, simple transformation!
5. Quick, Easy Cat Toy – Raid your crafty stash to transform an old toilet paper roll into hours of entertainment for your kitty.
6. Heart Stamp for Kids – The photo above is pretty self-explanatory. Fold your tube, dunk in paint, and let your kids stamp to their hearts’ contents!
7. Faux Wrought Iron – You seriously need to see this. It uses a technique called quilling to transform paper tubes into a beautiful art piece.
8. DIY Bathroom Deodorizer – A few drops of essential oil inside of a toilet paper tube will diffuse and make your bathroom smell great.
9. Paper Tube Garden – This is another fun one for kids. Younger kids may need a little bit of help tracing and cutting, but any kid will be proud to display her paper tube garden on a windowsill!
10. Gnomes – How cute are these little gnomes made from a toilet paper tube and conical paper cup? If you’d rather make this completely upcycled, you can make a cone out of scrap paper instead of using the cup.
11. Make an Organizer – Nestle toilet paper tubes or cut-in-half paper towel tubes into a box to organize things like pens, pencils, paint brushes, or anything else tall, skinny, and tough to wrangle.
12. Cat in the Hat Puppet – Turn an old paper tube into a pop-up puppet for some Dr. Seuss-themed fun.
13. Candle Cover – Do you have those electric Christmas “candles?” Turn them into something cute and unique with cut toilet paper tubes.
14. Marble Slide – Toilet paper and paper towel tubes combine with a few other simple materials to create this fun kid’s activity.
15. String Lights – Do you like the look of covered string lights but dislike the price tag? Grab a strand of LED lights and create your own custom covers from toilet paper rolls.