How to Upcycle Used Toilet Paper Rolls into Eco-Friendly Crafts

How to Upcycle Used Toilet Paper Rolls into Eco-Friendly Crafts

I absolutely love finding new uses for items that would otherwise be thrown away. It’s so rewarding to turn what’s considered trash into creative treasures! Used toilet paper rolls are one of my favorite materials to upcycle. Their cardboard construction makes them sturdy enough for crafting, and their hollow tube shape lends itself to so many possibilities.

Upcycling toilet paper rolls into eco-friendly crafts is a great way to reduce waste. It also allows me to make one-of-a-kind items on a budget. In this article, I’ll share my top tips on collecting, preparing, and upcycling toilet paper rolls. You’ll also find step-by-step instructions for turning these recycled tubes into beautiful bird feeders, organizers, toys, and more!

Collecting Used Toilet Paper Rolls

The first step is gathering up a good stash of used toilet paper rolls. I like to set up collection bins around my house to save the rolls easily. Here are some tips for accumulating toilet paper rolls:

  • Place a small bin in bathrooms – This makes it easy for my family to drop rolls in after they’re used up. I just empty the bin into a larger collection bag when it gets full.

  • Ask friends and family to save rolls – I tell people about my upcycling projects and ask them to collect rolls for me. It’s a simple way they can help out!

  • Check with businesses – Some local stores may be willing to save their used toilet paper rolls for you. It never hurts to ask!

  • Watch for empty rolls in public restrooms – Keep an eye out for abandoned rolls that can be quickly grabbed and reused.

Preparing Used Toilet Paper Rolls for Crafting

Before I can start crafting, I like to prep the used toilet paper rolls by:

  • Removing any remaining toilet paper – Make sure to clear out any bits of tissue left inside the rolls. This prevents smearing while crafting.

  • Unraveling the rolls – For some projects, it’s helpful to gently unroll the tubes into flat cardboard sheets. This allows me to cut customized shapes.

  • Trimming edges – I cut the rolls down to uniform sizes if needed for certain crafts. A simple scissors does the trick.

  • Sanding rough edges – Scuffing down any roughness with fine grit sandpaper helps create smooth surfaces for painting or gluing.

  • Wiping rolls clean – Give the tubes a quick wipe down with a damp cloth to remove residue and germs.

Eco-Friendly Crafts to Make From Toilet Paper Rolls

Now comes the fun part – turning those empty toilet paper rolls into cute and creative upcycled crafts! Here are some of my favorite ideas:

Bird Feeders

Bird feeders made from toilet paper rolls are simple to whip up. They also make great eco-friendly gifts!

Supplies needed:

  • Used toilet paper rolls
  • Acrylic paint and paintbrushes
  • Twine or string
  • Scissors
  • Birdseed


  1. Paint the outside of the rolls in cheerful colors and let dry completely.

  2. Cut a large rectangle in the side of each roll big enough for birds to enter.

  3. Thread and knot twine through the top of each roll to form a hanger.

  4. Fill the bottom of each roll with birdseed and hang outdoors for birds to enjoy!

Pen Organizers

Toilet paper rolls are perfectly sized to corral pens, pencils, and other desk supplies. Creating organizers from the tubes keeps items tidy and add a crafty touch to any work space.

Supplies needed:

  • Used toilet paper rolls
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Ruler
  • Hot glue gun
  • Decorative paper, fabric, ribbon, etc.


  1. Use a ruler and craft knife or scissors to cut slits into the rolls at regular intervals. These will hold writing utensils.

  2. Fold over the top edge of each roll to create a finished look.

  3. Decorate the rolls with scrapbooking paper, fabric, ribbon, etc. using hot glue to attach.

  4. Set the decorated rolls on a desk and slide pens, pencils, and other supplies into the tube slits to organize.

Stamped Wrapping Paper

One of my favorite upcycling projects turns toilet paper rolls into custom wrapping paper stamped with fun patterns and designs. The stamped paper looks so creative wrapped around gifts!

Supplies needed:

  • Used toilet paper rolls
  • Acrylic paint
  • Rubber stamps and stamp pads or potatoes carved with designs
  • Ruler
  • Scissors


  1. Cut the toilet paper rolls open into long rectangles using a ruler and scissors.

  2. Stamp designs along the cardboard rectangles using rubber stamps and ink pads or carved potato stamps dipped in paint.

  3. Allow the stamps to dry fully.

  4. Trim the stamped cardboard sheets into pieces sized for wrapping gifts.


It’s easy to upcycle toilet paper rolls into puppets for homemade shows and playtime. Let kids help decorate the puppet characters for extra fun!

Supplies needed:

  • Used toilet paper rolls
  • Colored cardstock or construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Markers, pipe cleaners, pom poms, googly eyes, etc. for decorating


  1. Cut cardstock or construction paper into the shape of the puppet character’s head and appendages.

  2. Glue the head shape onto one end of a toilet paper roll.

  3. Glue arms, feet, and other pieces onto the roll to form the full puppet.

  4. Use markers, pipe cleaners, pom poms, and googly eyes to decorate the character.

  5. Slip your hand into the open end of the roll to animate the puppet.

With a little creativity and reused materials, the crafting possibilities are endless! Upcycling toilet paper rolls into fun DIY projects allows me to reduce waste while making charming home decor, toys, gifts, and more. I hope these tips and project ideas inspire you to give used toilet paper rolls a second life through crafting. Turning trash into eco-friendly treasure is super rewarding.