How to Repurpose Used Toilet Paper Rolls

How to Repurpose Used Toilet Paper Rolls

How to Repurpose Used Toilet Paper Rolls

As an environmentally conscious person, I’m always looking for ways to reuse and repurpose items to avoid waste. One item that accumulates quickly in my home is empty toilet paper rolls. Rather than throwing them directly in the recycling bin, I’ve discovered many creative ways to repurpose used toilet paper rolls and give them new life.

Gathering and Preparing Used Rolls

The first step is collecting used toilet paper rolls. I simply place a small bin next to each toilet paper holder in my bathrooms. Whenever a roll is finished, the cardboard tube gets placed in the bin.

Once I’ve gathered a decent quantity, I do a quick check of each roll:

  • Remove any remaining toilet paper or adhesive residue
  • flatten the tubes by pinching them to make them easier to store
  • Cut any extraneous cardboard so they are uniform in size
  • Wipe down the tubes with a disinfecting wipe or damp cloth

Now the rolls are ready for their transformations!

Crafts and Decorations

Toilet paper rolls are great for kid’s arts and crafts. Their tubular shape lends itself perfectly to all kinds of creations. Here are some ways I upcycle toilet paper rolls for decorative purposes:

Bird Feeders

Converting toilet paper rolls into bird feeders is an easy craft. Simply coat the outside of the roll in peanut butter and roll it in birdseed. Add some twine to hang it up outside. The birds will love nibbling on these tasty treat holders!

Fire Starters

These toilet paper roll fire starters make starting campfires and fireplaces a breeze. Just stuff the rolls with dryer lint or cotton balls, melt old candle wax into the rolls, and let them dry completely. They light easily and burn slowly.

Flower Vases

Cut slits around the bottom edge of a toilet paper roll to create a makeshift flower vase. It adds a cute, eco-friendly touch to any desk or countertop. I like to wrap the rolls in pretty scrapbook paper first.


Link multiple toilet paper rolls together end-to-end to create a paper garland. Get creative with paint, markers, glitter, and other decorative embellishments. Use it to liven up a wall, doorway, or table.

Organization Aids

The cylindrical shape of used toilet paper rolls also makes them perfect for keeping all sorts of items neat and tidy. Repurpose them into these helpful organizational tools:

Pen/Pencil Holder

Keep writing utensils corralled on a desk or work table with a toilet paper roll holder. Use washi tape to seal up the bottom and wrap the outside in a fun pattern. Throw in pens, pencils, markers, scissors, etc.

Electronic Cord Winder

Minimize cord clutter by winding up longer electronic cords around toilet paper rolls. Secure the end of the cord to the roll with tape. When not in use, the cord winds neatly around the roll for easy storage.

Jewelry Holder

Punch holes in the sides of a toilet paper roll, string some ribbon through it, and now you have a place to hang and organize necklaces! Or, cut vertically to make rings and earring holders.

Pet Toys

Toilet paper rolls make great boredom-busting toys for cats, dogs, hamsters, and other pets too. Here are some roll-based toys I frequently make:

Cat Scratcher/Mouse

Cats love swatting at and shredding cardboard. Pinch and fold the end of a toilet paper roll into the shape of a mouse head. Entice kitty to scratch on it instead of your furniture!

Pet Treat Feeder

Plug both ends of a toilet paper roll with cardboard. Cut a few holes big enough for kibble to fall through. Put treats inside. As your pet bats and rolls it around, treats are released.

Hamster Tunnels

Interconnect toilet paper rolls to build tunnels for hamsters to scurry through. I often attach rolls to pets’ existing habitats to expand their explorable space.

Gardening Aids

Toilet paper rolls have many uses for gardens and houseplants as well. Repurpose them into these handy helpers:

Seed Starters

The cardboard tubes are the ideal size and shape for starting seedlings indoors before transplanting outside. Just fill with soil, plant seeds, keep watered, and place in a sunny spot.

Flower and Plant Markers

Write the name of a plant directly onto a toilet paper roll with permanent marker. Insert into the soil by new seedlings. The marker on the tube eliminates the guesswork of what’s growing where.

Compost Bin

Punch holes all around a toilet paper roll. Place it upright in the garden and fill with compostable food scraps. The whole roll can get buried when full to compost the contents.

Final Thoughts

Toilet paper rolls clearly have endless possibilities for DIY projects! I love finding new ways to repurpose these everyday household items that would otherwise end up in a landfill. It takes just a bit of creativity and craftiness to give used toilet paper rolls an exciting second life.