Crafting can get expensive. That’s why using simple leftover items such as paper rolls seems to be like the most natural thing to do.
This is a collection of 20 brilliant ideas on how you can recycle those hollow cardboard tubes. Whether it’s your paper towel or toilet paper rolls!
1. Tubular Race Cars
Give your kids an avenue to explore their creativity by helping them turn toilet paper rolls into custom-made race cars. It’s a pretty straightforward project.
All you need are a pair of scissors, craft foam for the wheels, aluminum foil for the rims, glue, small paper fasteners, a hole puncher, and decorative paper or acrylic paint for the kids to go crazy on their car designs.
You can get a good acrylic paint set here.
Depending on your child’s age, you may just need to help them cut a few bits and pieces or punch a couple of holes.
Then, you can leave them to work on their formula one prototypes. That’s hours (hopefully) of “me” time for you!
What good are race cars without a proper race track, right? You can DIY a race track or click here to check out an ingenious road track play mat that doubles as a toy storage solution.
Check out more crafts for kids that you can make with Dollar Tree items here.
2. Extendable Pirate Spyglass
Playing the part of a pirate is probably one of the most exciting pretend plays ever. Complete your child’s pirate look with this easy to make extendable spyglass.
The extendable bit is achieved by attaching a paper cup to the end of your toilet paper roll. Have a look through your pantry for any spare ones lying around. But, if you can’t find any, this gold paper cup is perfect for creating a realistic spyglass.
3. Roller Bird Feeder
This is probably the easiest project on our list. All you need to do is spread peanut butter on your toilet paper tubes, roll them on a plateful of bird seeds, and slip them onto tree branches. Easy!
The fun part is waiting for your flying friends to take notice and enjoy their treat.
4. Gruffalo Character Set
Gruffalo characters are so interesting that kids would have tons of fun bringing them to life through the use of toilet paper rolls.
In case you missed it, the Gruffalo is an award-winning and internationally bestselling children’s picture book. If your kids have yet to read this, they’re on sale here in a variety of formats, from audiobooks to paperbacks.
5. Star Wars Cardboard Figures
Star Wars do not need any introduction at all. In fact, the adults in your household would probably love this project more than the kids.
This is another super easy project. Access free Star Wars printables here, cut them out, stick them to your toilet paper cardboard, and you’re ready to journey to a galaxy far, far away…
Check out more creative Dollar Tree crafts that are great for low budgets.
6. Cardboard Easter Resurrection Scene
Since we are on a roll with character sets, why not try recreating this Easter resurrection scene, too? You can draw the characters yourself or use the resurrection printables found on this page.
Yes, I know Easter has just passed, but the same idea can be used on other occasions, such as scary characters for Halloween or the nativity scene during the Christmas season.
7. Cardboard Bunny
If the children are still suffering from the Easter bunny hangover, get them to use their energy creating cardboard bunnies.
Add a bit more life to the hopping toilet paper rolls by using wiggly eyes available here in various shapes, sizes, and colors.
8. Cardboard Pencil Holder
This is an inexpensive addition to your home office or your children’s study desk. This photo is in keeping with the Easter hangover.
But, remember that your design options are endless when it comes to this project.
9. Animal Cardboards
Why stop at bunnies when you can have more animals?
To help your children create animal cardboards, enhance their knowledge on animal appearances, behavior, and habitat through this interactive animal book suitable for kids ages 3 to 8.
Don’t have the pom poms for the craft at home? Here is some you can get!
10. Elsa’s Bracelet
If you think the Disney Frozen fever died down years ago, your kids are obviously all grown up. The arrival of Frozen 2 in 2019 has re-ignited the Anna and Elsa craze, and you see merchandise with their faces on it almost everywhere.
What better way to keep up with the trend than creating upcycled accessories your Frozen-obsessed daughter will surely love! For the craft, you’ll need rhinestone gems, you can get them here.
11. Shining Shimmering Bangles
Another alternative to creating accessories from toilet paper rolls are shiny bangles made of tin foil wrapped around the cardboard rolls. Inject some color and personality by decorating them with ribbons.
DIY tip: If you want to make your life easier by doing away with glue, use washi tapes that serve both a decorative and adhesive purpose. Find a range of washi tapes here.
12. Cardboard Kaleidoscope Fun
Kaleidoscopes are great toys to teach kids about light and reflection. So, it’s a fun project for the whole family to do.
For best results, use paper towel cardboards as they are longer than the toilet paper ones. This DIY is also perfect for using any leftover washi tapes and gemstones from the bracelet and bangle projects listed earlier.
A detailed tutorial on how to make your cardboard kaleidoscope can be found on this page.
13. Paper Towel Roll Rainstick
What is a rainstick, you ask? It’s basically an instrument used to mimic the sound of rain, hence the name.
It’s easy to repurpose your paper towel roll into a rainstick. You essentially place rice plus a spiraled aluminum foil inside the tube, seal both ends close, and decorate to your heart’s content.
If you’re the visual learner type, watch this video for more detailed instructions.
14. Cardboard Roll Sculptures
This project takes the phrase ‘turn your trash into an art’ literally. Instead of throwing away those toilet and paper towel rolls, gather the family and create a piece of art worth a spot in the family room.
There’s really no step-by-step tutorial to this, because it is meant to be your own piece of art, so you call the shots. Just one tip though, cut slits on the cardboard and use a high-quality glue gun like this one, to ensure that the rolls stick and stand as they should.
15. Cardboard Bowling Pins
Credit: Cardboard Tube Bowling Game
Why spend dollars on a set number of bowling games when you can get unlimited games for free right at the comfort of your own home?
Recycle your toilet paper rolls and have a bit of fun and competition with the entire family. Since you’re already saving by playing at home, splurge a bit on this foam bowling ball to train the younger ones proper handling of a bowling ball.
16. Space Rocket from the Toilet
It might not be the best title for this project, but it rhymed perfectly, I couldn’t help it. The cylindrical shape of toilet paper roll is perfect for letting the kids create their own outer space vehicle.
Speaking of outer space, have you seen this amazing planetarium projector? If your kids are into the solar system and space travel, you may want to consider it as a gift idea for the future.
17. Confetti Launcher
Popping out confetti is not exclusively done for new year’s. Celebrate every milestone in the family with your own DIY confetti launcher.
You will need a balloon, confetti, and your creative touch. Cut the balloon just below the neck, place it on top of one end of the toilet paper roll.
Decorate your toilet paper roll however you want it, and pour confetti inside – that’s it. When you’re ready to celebrate, pull back the balloon and let it rain confetti!
18. Themed Cardboard Napkin Rings
Level up your game in table setting by creating napkin rings, customized for each occasion.
These gorgeous starfish rings are great for a beach-themed party, but feel free to adapt your design according to your event’s theme. Use any material you want; just remember to use a cut-out part of the toilet paper roll as your base.
You will need a thick jute rope for this one, you can get some here.
19. Personalized Napkin Ring Place Holder
Impress your party guests even more with a customized napkin ring place holder. If you want to take your penmanship up a notch, this book on calligraphy for beginners may be a good starting point.
20. Cardboard Roll Memento
If you love personalized gifts as much as I do, you will enjoy working on this project.
You basically use flattened toilet paper rolls as pockets to hold messages or keepsakes for your loved ones.
We hope these ideas gave your kids enough distraction for your relaxation. Go ahead and share your favorite project with the rest of your family and friends.