As you know from my 21 Reuses for Freezer Bags and 21 Uses for Coffee Grounds (apparently I love the number 21) posts, I don’t like to waste things. I take pride every week in how small the garbage sack is at the bottom of my driveway. It means I am reusing, reducing and recycling! That being said, every time I stared at that cardboard tube, I knew there had to be more uses for empty toilet paper rolls than throwing them in the recycle bin or shouting funny voices through them (which is hilarious every time, by the way). So without further ado …
21 Reuses for Toilet Paper Rolls
1. DIY Halloween decorations: Make glow-in-the-dark eyes for the perfect scary décor.
2. Tame wrapping paper rolls: Slide empty toilet paper tubes over wrapping paper to keep it from unraveling. Tube not big enough? Cut it the long way, then snap around the paper roll. Have longer rolls? Try using two, one at each end for extra strength!
3. Extend the vacuum: Your vacuum attachments just won’t fit in that windowsill track or under the sink? Attach a toilet paper roll to the end of the vacuum hose, wrap your hand around the connection and shape cardboard into the perfect crevice tool!
4. Seed starters: Place several tubes open-end up in a shallow dish or plastic container. Fill with potting soil, and plant seeds. When plants are ready to be transferred to the garden, simply bury the entire tube – it will eventually decompose naturally!
5. DIY birdfeeder: Slather an empty tube in peanut butter, then roll in birdseed. Place the tube over a low branch and watch the birds flock!
6. Media cord taming: Use cardboard tubes to organize cords is a great organizing hack around the house.
7. Eyeglass case: This no-sew fabric eyeglass case only requires three things you probably already have: empty toilet paper roll, fabric, craft glue. It’s so easy!
8. Wall artwork: There are thousands of decorating ideas out there, but this toilet paper roll art is my favorite. It’s simple, subtle and beautiful!
9. Desktop organizer: Use a glue stick and attach decorative paper around three rolls. Save some paper at the bottom, this will make the “floor” so that the pencils don´t fall through. Glue the three rolls together in a circle with some multi purpose glue. Stand them up or lay on their side and you’ve got an instantly organized pencil, pen or scissors holder!
10. Small gift boxes: Fold, paint and tag toilet paper rolls for the perfect DIY jewelry gift box.
11. Fire starter: There is nothing I love more than sitting around my fire pit on a cool evening. Finding the right sticks or paper to get the flames going can be tough. So I have made fire starters by stuffing an empty toilet paper roll with leftover dryer lint. Wrap the whole thing in newspaper, tuck in the ends – and there you have it! Light that puppy on fire and watch it burn!
12. Octopus kids craft: My sister made these with the kids over the holidays, and they made the perfect wacky tree decorations! They were so easy, and used items that were already around the house.
13. Hosiery drawer organizer: Line a drawer with empty toilet paper rolls, and stuff with pairs of socks, nylons or underwear.
14. Bowling: Cover ten rolls with white butcher paper. Draw a red line about an inch from the top. Roll out a long strip of butcher paper (6-8 feet). Draw 10 rings in a pyramid shape at one end. Stand up each toilet paper roll on each circle. Use a light weight plastic ball to knock them down! This is a great rainy day activity.
15. Napkin rings: Cover paper tubes with wrapping, contact or other thin paper to make napkin rings. Simply cut the tubes to size and use a decorative paper. Jazz them up with stickers, beads, feathers or faux berries.
16. Stamps: Form cardboard tubes into homemade stamps by shaping, dipping and pressing! It’s that easy, and cleanup is a snap. (I also like this idea because the blog post has a cute baby in it.)
17. Refrigerator pen holder: Slightly flatten the toilet paper roll and tape closed at one end. Wrap in decorative paper, and glue a strong magnet to the back. Stick to the fridge and fill with pens! Place it next to a magnetic notepad and you’ll never search for a pen when the peanut butter runs out again!
18. iPhone/iPod speaker: Cut an opening the size of your device in the cardboard roll. Stick two pushpins into the backside of the roll as “legs”. Place device into the opening and lean it back. Voila! Your beats are amplified. Check out these step-by-step instructions for a DIY iPhone speaker if mine make zero sense. It happens.
19. Compost booster: Toilet paper rolls can be added to your compost – it is a high carbon item that will complement high nitrogen food waste well.
20. Crochet aid: When crocheting or knitting, wrap yarn around a toilet paper tube to keep it from tangling.
21. Worm wrangler: If you garden, you know that cutworms can destroy seedlings. You can make a simple “cutworm collar” to place around your seedlings from a toilet paper tube. Cut them into two inch lengths and place around each plant, pushing it at least a half an inch into the surface of the soil. The tubes will protect your seedlings from cutworms, and will fall apart within a few weeks in the garden—just when your seedlings will be too large to sustain any damage.