How to Reuse Toilet Paper Rolls for Seed Starters

How to Reuse Toilet Paper Rolls for Seed Starters

How to Reuse Toilet Paper Rolls for Seed Starters

Reusing household items is a great way to reduce waste and get creative. Toilet paper rolls are one of the easiest items to repurpose. Their cardboard construction makes them perfect for starting seeds indoors. With a little preparation, these humble cardboard tubes can be transformed into cute and functional seed starters.

Why Reuse Toilet Paper Rolls?

  1. Reduces waste. Toilet paper rolls are typically tossed into the trash. Repurposing them keeps these cardboard tubes out of landfills a little longer.

  2. Free materials. Toilet paper rolls are free and abundant. Most households already have a ready supply.

  3. Compostable. The cardboard tubes can go right into a compost bin after the seedlings are transplanted. This makes them a sustainable choice.

  4. Customizable. The small size of toilet paper rolls allows for creativity. They can be decorated, labeled, and modified easily.

  5. Space saving. The narrow tube shape doesn’t take up much room on a windowsill or planting table. Rolls stack and store compactly.

Preparing the Toilet Paper Rolls

Transforming a toilet paper roll into a seed starter takes a few simple steps. Here’s how to prepare the tubes:

Remove the Cardboard Core

  • Toilet paper rolls have a cardboard inner tube. This needs to be removed to create a single tube.

  • Use a chopstick or skewer to poke through the cardboard core. Twist gently to break up the inner tube.

  • Remove as much of the loose cardboard fragments as possible.

Cut the Tube to Size

  • Most toilet paper rolls are too tall for seed starters. Cut the tube in half (or thirds) to make them a more usable size.

  • Aim for a height of 2-3 inches. This gives enough depth for roots to develop.

Open the Bottom

  • Seedling roots need drainage holes to grow properly.

  • Use a pencil to poke several holes in the bottom of the tube. Try making a hole pattern.

  • More holes can be added later if needed.

Filling the Toilet Paper Rolls

Now that the tubes are prepped, it’s time to fill them with planting medium. Here are some options:

  • Potting soil – Fill 1/3 full and pack down gently. Good for larger seeds.

  • Seed starter mix – Formulated specifically for seeds. Holds moisture well.

  • Coconut coir – Made from coconut husks. Retains water and resists compaction.

  • Sphagnum peat moss – Lightweight and acidic. Good for moisture-loving plants.

  • Vermiculite – Absorbs water and aerates soil. Can be mixed with other mediums.

  • Perlite – Helps aerate the soil. Often added to commercial seed starting mixes.

Planting Seeds in the Rolls

Once the tubes are filled, it’s time for seeds. Follow basic seed planting guidelines:

  • Moisten the planting medium before planting.

  • Check seed packet for planting depth and spacing.

  • Plant 2-3 seeds per tube. Thin later.

  • Gently cover seeds with more planting mix. Pat down lightly.

  • Label rolls with plant name and date.

  • Consider staggering plantings over several weeks for continuous harvests.

Caring for Seedlings in Rolls

Seedlings in toilet paper rolls will need the same care as any other seed starters:

  • Water gently with a spray bottle to avoid dislodging seeds.

  • Place in a sunny window or under grow lights.

  • Maintain consistent moisture. Check soil daily.

  • Watch for sprouts in 1-2 weeks. Thin after true leaves appear.

  • Transplant into larger containers or garden beds after 2-4 weeks.

  • Harden off seedlings for 7-10 days before transplanting outdoors.

Getting Creative with Toilet Paper Rolls

Beyond the basics, there are lots of creative ways to customize toilet paper roll seed starters:

  • Decorate tubes with paint, markers, stickers, or recycled wrapping paper.

  • Make labels using cardstock and hole punch reinforcers.

  • Use as mini greenhouse domes to cover newly planted seeds.

  • Stack and store on a removeable rod. Keep organized with dividers.

  • Add drainage by setting rolls in a tray of pebbles. Elevates soil.

  • Recycle as pots for seedlings instead of transplanting. Just cut down tube as plant grows.

With proper preparation and care, those humble toilet paper rolls can nurture plants from seed to transplant. This simple repurposing project brings creativity and sustainability to starting seeds indoors.