How to Upcycle Used Toilet Paper Rolls into Quirky Home Decor
Used toilet paper rolls often end up in the trash, but they have so much potential for DIY crafts and quirky home decor. Upcycling toilet paper rolls is an easy, fun way to reduce waste while making one-of-a-kind creations for your home. In this article, I’ll share my tips on how to transform this unassuming household item into whimsical works of art.
The first step is to start collecting toilet paper rolls. I try to save every roll my household uses. To build up a good stock, ask family and friends to donate their rolls too.
Here are some other supplies you’ll need:
- Acrylic or tempera paint
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
- Embellishments like googly eyes, pom poms, sequins, buttons, fake flowers, etc.
- Decorative paper, fabric, ribbon, lace, etc. to cover the rolls
- Dowels, straws, or chopsticks for axles (if making things that spin/turn)
Get creative and raid your craft stash to see what interesting materials you can use!
Prep the Rolls
Before starting a project, I like to prep the rolls by:
- Unraveling – Remove any remaining toilet paper
- Drying – Allow to fully dry if any moisture remains
- Sealing – Seal the inside of the tubes with white glue so they don’t warp
- Sanding – Lightly sand the edges to remove rough areas
This helps create a nice smooth surface for painting and decorating.
Fun and Simple Designs
Here are some easy toilet paper roll crafts to get your creativity flowing:
Paint the tubes with acrylic paint in fun patterns and use as tiny vases for small blooms. You can paint stripes, polka dots, abstract designs, or floral motifs. Lean into quirkiness by painting faces, animals, or scenes on them!
Cut the rolls into 1-2 inch segments and paint in different geometric patterns. Once dry, line them together and fill with soil and small succulents. The varied stripes and colors make for a cool geometric garden.
Slice rolls into 1/4 inch strips. Then stack several strips together, twisting and pinching them into funky abstract sculptures. Glue strips together for stability, and spray paint them in metallic sheens. Display on shelves or tabletops.
Once you’ve got some experience, try your hand at more advanced toilet paper roll crafts:
Use rolls as bird bodies, adding wings cut from cardstock. Attach feathers, googly eyes, pom pom beaks, and decorative papers for whimsical birds to hang or display.
Make a basic wind chime frame from wood/wire, then hang cut toilet paper rolls from it. You can paint them, add beads, glue on sequins, etc. for visual interest. Add a hanging bead inside each one so they clank together in the breeze.
Let your imagination run wild making 3D creatures like robots, dinosaurs, or invertebrates. Stack and glue rolls for the bodies, adding wings, eyes, claws, tails, etc. They make quirky decorations or toys.
Display Your Creations
The great thing about upcycled toilet paper rolls is they can be adapted to any decor. Here are some ways to display them:
- Cluster on shelves or bookcases to add pops of color
- Use in tabletop centerpieces or corner vignettes
- Hang swag garlands from the ceiling or stair railings
- Line them up as artsy pen/pencil holders
- Give as gifts like vases or jewelry holders
The possibilities are endless! With a bit of imagination, you can upcycle boring old toilet paper rolls into delightful home accents. Turn trash into treasure and have fun crafting in the process.