6 Arts and Crafts with Toilet Paper Rolls

Help your kids make these cute, clever crafts using the cardboard tubes from paper towels and toilet paper rolls.

Tube Crafts Colorful Butterfly Bunch on Wall
Photo: Biz Jones
01 of 06

Sweet Cake Stand

Tube Crafts Sweet Cake Stand
Biz Jones

This toilet paper roll craft elevates any dessert display.

What You'll Need: Corrugated cardboard; 2 toilet paper tubes; hot glue; gesso (optional, for brighter color); craft paint; edge punch (or pinking shears); colored cardstock (or ribbon); adhesive dots


1. Cut out a 12-inch, 9-inch, and 5-inch circle from the cardboard (an adult’s job). Lightly mark the center of each disc, measuring out from the center point to each of the four sides to make sure the distance is equal. Place a tube at the center of each circle and trace around it with a pencil (you’ll need to do this on both sides of the 12-inch disc).

2. Starting with the 5-inch base, trace the outline with hot glue (an adult’s job), then place the tube on top and add extra glue around the seam. Attach the bottom of the 12-inch disc to the top of tube. Repeat these steps to attach the 9-inch circle on top.

3. If desired, gesso the whole stand; let dry. Then coat with one to two layers of paint.

4. To add trim: Cut the cardstock into 1-inch-wide strips until you have enough to cover the edges of the 12-inch and 9-inch rounds. You have a few possibilities to add a decorative edge: Use an edge punch (as shown), cut a scalloped trim using pinking shears on one side, or use a piece of ribbon. Attach to the circles with adhesive dots. For the base, cut a ¼-inch-wide strip of cardstock or ribbon.

02 of 06

Jewelry Holder

Tube Crafts Jewelry Holder
Biz Jones

Show off accessories and clear your dresser with this paper towel roll craft.

What You'll Need: 3 paper towel tubes; felt (about 2 feet); pinking shears; double-stick tape; screw punch (find it on Amazon); ribbon; skewer; command Velcro strips


1. Cut paper tubes to desired length (ours were 6½ inches long). Cut two pieces of felt large enough to wrap around each tube, adding an extra ½ inch to the length. Cut a third piece of felt the same width, but at least 2½ inches longer for the earring organizer.

2. Add a few rows of double-stick tape to a tube and roll the felt around it to cover, letting the felt edge overlap (this is the back). Repeat for the other two. (The third tube will have the earringholder overhang.)

3. Lightly mark dots for earring holes (ours were 1 inch apart) on the overhang, then punch out using a screw punch.

4. Mark two centered spots for ribbon at the top and bottom of two tubes, and only on the top of the earring-holder tube. Cut a slit at each mark with a craft knife (an adult’s job).

5. Cut two pieces of ribbon to the total height of your organizer, plus 6 inches, and knot each at one end. Use a skewer to push each ribbon up through the slit of the earring tube. Knot each 2 inches above slit, then push through the second tube and knot again. Push through the third, then tie the ends together. To keep the organizer in place once it’s hung, use Command Velcro strips attached to the back of each tube.

03 of 06

Pet Phone Stand

Tube Crafts Pet Phone Stand
Biz Jones

These little friends help you go hands-free as you FaceTime with Grandma!

What You'll Need: Templates; toilet paper tubes; gesso (optional, for brighter color); craft paint


1. Cut out the template, wrap it around the tube, and trace. Cut out the shape.

2. If desired, coat with gesso; let dry. Paint a color; let dry. Add the features and let dry.

Download the Cat Template Here

Download the Dog Template Here

04 of 06

Butterfly Bunch

Tube Crafts Colorful Butterfly Bunch on Wall
Biz Jones

No one will believe this butterfly wall art is made from paper towel tubes.

What You'll Need: Toilet and/or paper towel tubes; gesso (optional, for brighter color); craft paint; hot-glue gun or adhesive dots; poster putty


1. If desired, prime tubes inside and out with gesso; let dry. Then paint; let dry completely

2. Flatten the tubes and use scissors to cut them into slices. For a large butterfly, you’ll need five ⅝-inch-wide slices. For a small butterfly, you’ll need two ½-inch-wide slices and one ¼-inch-wide slice (eyeball it).

3. To construct the small butterfly: Fold two ½-inch wide slices in half; unfold. Add a dot of hot glue (an adult’s job) to the inside center of each and refold to make a set of wings. Glue the two sets of wings to the sides of the ¼-inch-wide “body.”

4. To construct a large butterfly: Add a dot of glue to the inside center of one of the ⅝-inch slices and squish it together to make a “body.” Add a dot of glue to the flat side and press on another slice for a wing, as shown. Repeat for the other three wings.

5. To assemble into artwork: Arrange the butterflies on the floor first; use poster putty to attach them to the wall.

05 of 06

Popsicle Stick Puppet

Puppy Puppet
Avery Powell

With this toilet paper roll craft, you can transform cardboard tubes into a marionette.

What You'll Need: 2 toilet paper tubes, paint, paintbrush, hole punch, bendy plastic straws, yarn, 2 popsicle sticks, office dot stickers, 2 googly eyes, glue, scissors


1. Paint the toilet paper tubes; let dry. Cut one tube in half; one half will be for the head, the other for the ears.

2. Cut the ears—a single elongated 8-shape out of the cardboard tube—and glue them to the top of one side of the head. Push in the cardboard where the ears are glued, creating an indent on the head to make the ears stick up.

3. Glue two Popsicle sticks together to form a cross; set aside.

4. Punch four holes on the bottom of the body for the legs. Thread two 6" pieces of yarn through the leg holes, adding cut bendy straw pieces for the feet. Knot at each end.

5. On the opposite side of the tube, punch holes at both ends of the body; thread a long piece of yarn (approximately 24") through the body and head. Tie it to the Popsicle stick-cross.

6. Glue on a cut bendy straw to create a tail and stick on office dot stickers and googly eyes.

06 of 06

Tube Town

Little colorful cardboard houses
Photograph by Alexandra Grablewski

Transform cardboard tubes into cute cottages in just a few simple steps.

1. Paint the tube and let it dry.

2. Make two angled cuts into one end of the tube to form a point. Fold a 3- by 3.5-inch piece of scrapbook paper in half, then set it on the pointed end as a roof. Use tacky glue to secure it.

3. Make two cuts to create a rectangular door, as shown. Glue on a bead for a doorknob.

4. Draw windows onto colored paper, cut them out, and attach them to the cottage using a glue stick.

5. For a chimney, fold a strip of paper into a four-sided, open-ended box, and glue it to the roof.

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