15 Surprising Uses for Toilet Paper Tubes

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)

These play rockets all use toilet paper or paper towel tubes as the foundation.

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.

15 Toilet Paper Roll Crafts

photo by Emma Craig

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.

15 Toilet Paper Roll Crafts

photo by Alice Keeler

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.

Top Photo Credit: tray.strawhorn via photopin cc


Chrissie R
Chrissie R3 months ago

Thank you for posting.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe2 years ago

We have a recycling box that sits just inside the back door. When it gets full, we take it out to the big recycle bin outside. Well, - our cats find the empty toilet or paper towel holders and I find them strung out through the house!! I think I will try to make some of these cat toys and see if they like them better than just the plain roll (LOL)!!

Melania Padilla
Melania P2 years ago


Jayasri Amma
Jayasri A3 years ago

Thank you!

Lydia S.
Lydia S3 years ago

I save them for cats and for making fire starters for the fireplace .
The ashes the next day are always composted so no waste .

Jennifer Daniel
Past Member 3 years ago

Very clever - thanks!

Dale O.

The cat that owns me has already laid claim to all of my toilet paper tubes, she will not purrmit me to use them for any other purpose other than to decorate them for own playful purrposes.

Slava R.
Slava R3 years ago

Arts and crafts are so cool. I remember as a kid we'd always go on school field trips, and one time we went to learn all about papier mache. So many great childhood memories. So sad how quick those few years of innocence get washed away. Seems like such a cruel joke. As kids we so eagerly anticipate to become adults, and when we do we suddenly yearn to be children all over again.

Arianna T.
Arianna T3 years ago

What about little ninjas? :D http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/59409/toilet-roll-ninjas

Patricija Velecki

The toilet paper tubes have actually the most categories of using,they are really good for all creative people