I would guess that the majority of people reading this post don’t think twice about their toilet paper tubes when a roll is finished. Now that the craziness of stockpiling and shortages have slowed down, now is a great time to consider the cardboard core of your bathroom tissues.

My husband probably thought I was crazy because as long as we’ve had kids, I try and save all of our toilet paper or paper towel tubes. When he asked “what are you planning on doing with these” when he saw my small stockpile for the first time, he didn’t realize he’d opened the lid to a box full of craft ideas for both parents and kids.

Crafty Ideas For Toilet Paper Tubes

So if you don’t save them now, by the time you’re done reading this, you will at least be considering repurposing your toilet paper tubes. You’ll never look at your hoard of toilet paper quite the same way again.

Outdoor Crafts with Toilet Paper Tubes

These are crafts that are great for outdoor fun, especially the bird feeders, which your feathered neighbors will love during the winter months.

Toilet Paper Bird feeders

Toilet paper tube covered in peanut butter and bird seed, hanging from string in a yard.

This is a great craft for your kids, even little ones. What I like most about them is that they’re useful, unlike a lot of crafting ideas for small kids.

You will need:

  • 1 toilet paper tube
  • Scissors
  • Peanut butter
  • Birdseed
  • 2 sticks, roughly six inches each
  • String or yarn

Punch 2 holes in the top of the tube, opposite each other – this is where your yarn or string will go to hang the feeder. Punch 4 holes in the bottom, also opposite each other. You’ll want to stagger these, as you’ll be inserting the sticks through them for the birds to perch on.

Smear a thin layer of peanut butter all around the outside of the toilet paper tube, stopped a finger-width or so from the top and bottoms. Then, roll the tube in the birdseed and let it sit for a few minutes. Tie the string through the holes up top and into a knot or bow to hang, and slide the sticks through the bottom hole.

Hang your finished bird feeder from a branch near a window and let your kids watch as their feather friends come by for a bite!

Paper Tube Seed starters

Small tomato plant growing out of a toilet paper tube filled with soil

When winter is slowing down and spring is approaching, it’s the perfect time to start your seeds. If you’ve been saving toilet paper tubes diligently, this quick craft will help you get your seedlings off to a perfect start. This is also a great way to kick start your plans for gardening on a budget!

You will need:

  • Toilet paper tubes
  • Hole punch
  • Whatever seeds you want
  • Dirt
  • Scissors

Start by making two 1/2 inch cuts on one side of the tube to allow the tube to fold in, creating a loose sort of bottom. Next, punch a few holes around the tube in various spots – this will help drainage when you water your seedlings. Fill the tube with dirt, and poke a small hole in the soil with your finger, dropping in your seeds.

These are the perfect biodegradable starters and with the holes you punched, even the least tenacious roots will find their way out into your garden’s soil.

DIY Campfire starters

Toilet paper tube with tufts of dryer lint sticking out

This is an easy must-do for every summer! Take your toilet paper tube and fill it up with dryer lint. Yep, it’s that easy.

Turns out, the exact thing that makes too much dryer lint hazardous makes it great for starting a campfire. Place the stuffed tube at the bottom of your pile of kindling and wood, and light it on fire. It will catch as well (if not better) than store-bought firestarters, it’s literally free, and it encourages you do to some dryer maintenance that you should be doing anyway.

Indoor toilet paper tube crafts

Not an outdoorsy kind of person? That’s okay! We’ve got plenty of ideas on what to do with toilet paper tubes that can be done indoors.

Paper Tube Monsters

This project is great for Halloween parties and it’s super inexpensive.

For this craft, you need:

  • 1 toilet paper tube
  • Googly eyes (I would suggest more than two for a monstrous effect)
  • Colored pipe cleaners
  • Puffballs
  • Elmer’s glue (or glue sticks)
  • Whatever other decorations you can think of

This project lets your kids do what comes naturally to them – being creative. Help them with cutting or gluing, but otherwise, they can decorate the tube monster as they see fit. These fit well for Halloween parties at schools or daycares; simply place a single tube with some assorted decorations into a quart-sized baggie and hand them out. You can include a glue stick or, if they’re making them immediately, have glue available.

Gift wrap holder

using toilet paper tube to hold wrapping paper

This is a quick and simple use for your toilet tubes that is nonetheless pretty invaluable. It keeps your wrapping paper from unraveling all over your closet, which is a nice touch, and you probably don’t even need to do anything to the toilet paper tube itself!

If you’ve used enough of a roll of wrapping paper, you might be able to simply slip the tube over the top and down into the middle of the roll. If not, simply cut a slit up one side to make it more pliable and slip the wrapping paper roll in. Easy peasy!

DIY Cardboard Bracelets and Wolverine claws

Boys and girls of all ages love bracelets and Wolverine; it’s science. This is a simple craft that will keep your kids occupied and, like everything else on this list, it’s cheap!

You will need:

For bracelets:

  • Toilet paper tubes
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Glitter, sequins, or anything else bracelet-y
  • Markers

For Wolverine claws:

  • Toilet paper tubes (though paper towel tubes work better for older kids)
  • Scissors

For the bracelets, all you need to do is cut down one side lengthwise. This will allow it to slip over your child’s wrist. The rest of it is up to them to decorate however they want.

For the claws, you’ll still slit down about 4 inches of one side, lengthwise, but the rest you’ll need to flex your cutting skills. Cutting one side off completely (again, lengthwise), you’ll next want to cut three long “claws” on the remaining half. It’s probably something you should do for your child if they’re younger, as it can be tricky but that’s why you’re the parent – you’re the best at what you do, Bub.

Paper Tube Cable storage

Toilet paper tube with electronics cables wrapped around, labeled "tablet" and "cell"

If you have a drawer full of extra charger cables, a toilet paper tube can help you keep them wrapped up tightly. Simply cut a small snip at either end and slip the very end of the cord through it, to hold it in place. Next, wrap the length of the charger around the tube. You can easily store multiple cables this way, and you can use a Sharpie to write on the tube to remind yourself just where each of those cables goes.

Do you have any other ideas for toilet paper (or paper towel) tubes? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Website | + posts

Thrifty Guardian was founded as a way to help parents lead richer lives through money saving tips, side hustle ideas, and parenting advice (including fun DIYs and recipes!)