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Sherri Richards, Published September 12 2013

Five crafts using empty toilet paper rolls

FARGO – They’re often quickly discarded into a bathroom wastebasket, but used-up toilet paper rolls (and paper towel and wrapping paper tubes) can be upcycled into super cute crafts.

Toilet Paper Roll Flowers

This technique can be used to make sunflowers, tree leaves or any geometric shape. Consider framing them in a shadow box or attaching them to a board or canvas for 3D art.


7 to 10 toilet paper rolls (more or less depending on size of project)


Hot glue gun and glue sticks


Flatten the toilet paper roll. Cut into half-inch slices, or petals.

Paint the pieces. You can also paint the roll before cutting, though you will need to touch up the cut edge afterward.

Glue the petals together with hot glue. For the sunflower, create a small starter flower, then glue petals between the spaces until it’s as big as you want it to be.

Project from www.favecrafts.com

Tube Racers

Turn your empty roll into a hot rod.


Toilet paper tube

Acrylic paint and brushes


Hole puncher

Black craft foam

Aluminum foil


Paper for decoration (optional)

Small paper fasteners


Coat the tube with acrylic paint. When dry, mark location for wheels on sides, and cockpit and steering wheel on top.

Snip out the cockpit, and punch holes at the wheel and steering wheel marks. Fold the cockpit flap up to serve as a seat back.

Cut four wheels about the size of the tube end and a quarter-size steering wheel out of the black craft foam. Cut four quarter-size hubcaps out of aluminum foil. Punch holes in the centers of all the circles.

Glue the hubcaps onto the wheels and decorate the steering wheel with foil accents.

Decorate the car’s body with colored paper or more paint. Once ready, attach the wheels and steering wheel to the tube with the small paper fasteners.

Project from http://spoonful.com/crafts

Office Organizer

Glue together empty tubes to create a station for pencils, crayons, paintbrushes and more.


Paper rolls

X-Acto knife

Acrylic paint and brushes


Scrapbook paper

Mod Podge



Cut the tubes into different heights using the X-Acto knife. Make sure the tubes are not taller than the items they will be holding.

Paint the inside of the tubes black, white or any color to match the paper and let dry.

Cut the scrapbook paper to the tube’s size. Decoupage the paper onto the tubes using the Mod Podge. Then, cover the paper with Mod Podge to seal it. Let dry, then join the tubes together with the Mod Podge (holding the tubes together for a while will create a stronger bond).

To create the base of the organizer, cut and paint a piece of cardboard. Glue the rolls to the base with the Mod Podge. You can cut around the base of the rolls with the X-Acto knife and touch up the edges with paint.

Project from http://craftionary.blogspot.com

Mini Chinese Lanterns

These little lanterns are about 2 inches tall and make a festive group when strung on garland. You can get two lanterns out of each empty roll.


Toilet paper tube



Acrylic paint and brush


Floral wire for hanging


Cut the toilet paper tube open vertically, then cut in half horizontally. Cut 2 inches off the end of one half. (Save the other half for another lantern.)

Paint the inside of the cardboard yellow so the lantern appears to be glowing. Paint the outside the color of your choice. Let dry.

Fold the painted piece in half horizontally, and make small, evenly spaced cuts beginning on the fold to ¼-inch from the open edge.

Unfold the cardboard and roll back into a cylinder. Glue the lantern closed and squash down to shape.

For the handle, shape floral wire around the barrel of a marker, then flip up each end to hook through the slots of the lantern.

Project from www.thecraftycrow.net

Cardboard Creatures

Empty toilet paper rolls can be quickly transformed into all sorts of tubular pals. Paint on a penguin, bee or bunny. Add tissue paper wings for butterflies. Cut and curl the ends into tentacles to make a mini octopus. Fold the top edges in and the tube takes the form of a cat, owl or monster. Create your own super hero, or “Despicable Me” minion. For more ideas, check out http://99crafting.net or http://kidsactivitiesblog.com.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556