40 Incredibly Clever Ways To Re-use Toilet Roll Tubes – And How To Make The Most Of Them At Home

The average U.S. household gets through upwards of 400 standard rolls of toilet paper annually. What happens to the cardboard tube inside, though? You probably recycle it, which is a great option. But you could go for more than just waste-reducing – you could go zero-waste with one of these 40 projects instead. You can transform what appears to be trash into cute crafts or useful household items. Read on and decide which one you’ll try first.

40. Build a garage for Matchbox cars

After a long day at the (plastic, miniature) racetrack, your child needs a place to store all of their Matchbox cars. And you can build a garage with a shoebox and a bunch of leftover toilet-paper rolls. Start by gluing rolls along the bottom edge of the box, then adhere the next layer in the divots between the already-attached cylinders. In the end, you’ll have a circular garage for every set of wheels.

39. Start a blazing fire

Your leftover toilet rolls make the perfect kindling in a fireplace. You can simply shred the cylinders into strips that you may use to start a fire. Or you can close off one of the ends and stuff the tube with newspaper or dryer lint before sealing off the open side. The more flammables you can fit in, the more effective your makeshift log will be.

38. Untangle your cord drawer

Everyone has a bin or drawer stuffed with a mess of tangled cords. Fix up yours using a handful of toilet rolls. First, separate and coil your cords. Then, slide them into a cylinder and label the outside so you know what they are. That way, you can easily pluck the cables and wires you need, rather than becoming frustrated and confused.

37. Craft napkin rings

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Feeling creative? You can transform a toilet paper roll into the perfect-sized napkin ring with just a pair of scissors. Of course, you don’t want a drab cardboard cylinder on your dining table, so grab some supplies and embellish each ring. You could use ribbons, glitter and any baubles in your craft box.

36. Create a desk organizer

You can’t just have a pile of pencils, scissors, paper clips and highlighters on your desk. So you need a storage unit to keep them all in order – and you can make one with toilet paper rolls plus a firm base to go underneath them. Cut cylinders into varying sizes, depending on the supplies they’ll hold. Then decorate them and apply the base to create a sturdy and recycled organizer.

35. Craft a set of “binoculars”

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Need a rainy day activity to entertain your kids? Grab three toilet rolls per child and get ready to craft. Use a stapler to connect two of them side by side so they look like binoculars. Cut the third lengthwise and wrap it over top of the pair of tubes. Once it’s glued in place, let your kids embellish their eyepieces – and don’t forget to add a string so they can wear them around their necks.

34. Transform your scarf storage

Who doesn’t love to wear a scarf, especially during the winter? But it’s less easy to enjoy storing the long accessories. You can fix all of that by clearing out your scarf drawer, then lining it with upright toilet rolls. Next, fold and roll up the scarves so they slide right into the cylinders. With that, you’ll have an organized drawer and a much easier time finding the particular neckpiece you want to wear.

33. Keep knee-high boots upright

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Tall boots make a fashion statement, but they don’t reach so high when they’re in your closet. The boot shafts tend to fold and fall over instead, which can crease your footwear in an unsightly way. So stick a paper towel roll into the boots to keep them upright and ready for your next wear.

32. Make twinkle lights one of a kind

A few toilet paper rolls, a hole-puncher and spray paint – that’s all you need to transform any run-of-the-mill twinkle lights. Cut the rolls in half, then hole-punch around the edges. Paint the outside black to complete your project: a miniature lampshade for your Christmas lights.

31. Stamp a custom tote

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A few pinches of your toilet roll can easily shape the circular ends. You can create a heart, star, lightning bolt… the possibilities are endless. When you have your perfect outline, dip it into paint and stamp with it. And with that, you can design your own custom tote bag.

30. Dry winter gloves quickly

A snowy day means you’ll build snowmen, make snow angels and throw a few snowballs – and your gloves will be wet because of it. Try this hack to dry out your winter gear faster, so you can get back to your wintertime pursuits ASAP. Simply stick gloves on TP rolls to dry, as the tubes allow more air into them.

29. Slice through wrapping paper with ease

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It can be tough to use scissors to cut through a sheet of wrapping paper. Sure, the part close to you is easy to snip, but as your arm lengthens it becomes harder to slice in a straight line. So use this hack to effortlessly chop up your wrapping paper. Cut a notch out of your TP roll before gluing a blade inside of the rectangle. The cutout will guide the paper straight through, and the blade will cut a straight piece of paper perfectly.

28. Roll up fabric remnants

A craft project might leave you with scraps of fabric too big to justify throwing them away. So roll up the leftover pieces and slide them into toilet paper rolls. You can clip a bit of the fabric and tape it to the outside, too. That way, you can quickly identify what’s inside for your next project.

27. Blow rainbow-colored bubbles

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This certainly isn’t your store-bought plastic bubble-blower. Start by covering one end of your empty TP roll in an old sock. Then, drop a few different shades of food coloring onto it. Dip all of that into a bowl of soapy water before lifting the non-sock-covered end of the roll to your lips. Blow and watch the rainbow-colored bubbles fly.

26. Form a fruit bowl

With water whizzing around in your blender, drop some empty toilet rolls into the mix. The cardboard-filled water will turn brown, at which point you can take it out and strain it. The resulting dough-like mixture can be sandwiched between two bowls and dried into a receptacle of its own. Fill it with fruit and display it on your kitchen counter.

25. Sub your vacuum’s crevice cleaner

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A vacuum’s crevice attachment can get into small cracks and creases to suck up all of the dirt and dust hiding there. But you have a problem: it’s gone missing. So, grab a toilet paper roll and slip it around your vacuum’s hose. Squeeze it a little at the end to imitate the real thing’s design, then get to cleaning.

24. Put drinks on them

This project begins with you cutting your TP rolls into rings. It’s all handiwork from there as you weave the loops together in an interlocking geometric shape. Finish it off with a coat of Mod Podge to seal the paper and prepare the square for its new life as a coaster.

23. Feed backyard birds

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A toilet paper roll makes the perfect base for a backyard bird-feeder. All you have to do is slather the outside in peanut butter, then roll the cylinder in birdseed. Run a string through the middle of the tube or just slide it onto a tree. Then see your winged neighbors go to town on their new treat.

22. Pop a Christmas cracker

The original English version of a Christmas cracker would have fireworks inside to make for a real pop. You can achieve the same effect without any explosive material, though. Tie a ribbon to a toy or treat small enough to slide into a toilet paper roll. Once it’s in there – and a bit of the ribbon hangs out of the end of the tube – wrap the container in tissue paper. With a tug, the prize bursts out!

21. Capture mosquitoes and flies

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Summertime often brings bothersome flies, mosquitoes and other winged pests into the home, but an old toilet paper roll can help you get rid of them. Wrap the cylinder in see-through, two-sided tape and dangle it where the bugs seem to linger. They’ll whizz right into the trap – and leave you alone.

20. Amuse your cat

Kids famously enjoy playing in cardboard boxes and, as it turns out, your cats can appreciate these materials, too. You only need a TP roll to entertain your pet, though. Simply snip the edges of the tube so they look like tassels and watch your cat go crazy for it.

19. Start some seedlings

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You could go to your local garden center and pick up biodegradable pots to start your seeds… or you could just save a few empty toilet paper rolls in the lead-up to spring. Slice each one in half, stand the pieces on a tray and put some soil inside. Then, sow your seeds and, when it comes time to pot them, you can bury them along with their TP container – it’s biodegradable, too.

18. Make your own eyeglasses case

An extra toilet paper tube can become the shell of a new eyeglasses case. You’ll need some fabric, strong glue and a few clips to complete the project. Slice the tube vertically before lining the outside of it with glue and then apply the fabric. Fold any excess cloth inside the cardboard and stick that down, too. Then fold your case into the desired shape and glue the edges shut. Use binder clips to hold everything in place till it’s dry.

17. Stop wrapping paper from unraveling

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When you chuck wrapping paper rolls under the bed or into a closet, they tend to unravel by the time you next want to use them. But you can keep the sheets perfectly contained and rip- and wrinkle-free with a toilet paper roll. Simply slide the cylinder over the gift wrap’s tube and voilà: the flaps stay in place.

16. Keep string tied up

We imagine you don’t want to untangle a pile of thread every time you have to sew or tie something – but you might find yourself doing just that if you aren’t properly organized. All you need’s an empty TP roll with a slit cut into either end. Slide one end of the string into one side, then wrap it around the roll. Finish by tucking the other into the opposite slit.

15. Store plastic bags

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Leftover grocery bags often fill up the space under our sinks and in random kitchen drawers. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Stuff your loose bags into a toilet paper or paper towel roll and you’ll have instant order. And, if your bags start to overflow again, you can always add more tubes to the mix.

14. Freshen up the bathroom

Finding an empty roll of toilet paper in the bathroom is nothing new – that is, unless it’s been repurposed into an air freshener. Decorate the tube on the outside so it coordinates with your color scheme. Then pour a few drops of essential oil over a cotton ball and stuff the fluff into your roll.

13. Avoid creasing linens and laundry

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A perfectly folded tablecloth stores nicely, but it has pronounced creases when it’s unfurled again. So, wrap your linens around toilet paper and paper towel rolls so they’re more gently folded. You can do the same with pants hanging in your closet – wrap the hanger bar in TP rolls, too.

12. Perfectly space curtain pleats

It often seems impossible to stretch your curtains so that there’s perfectly even spacing between every pleat. But you can make your vision a reality with a handful of toilet paper rolls. Put the first eyelet onto the rod, then put a TP roll onto the line. Repeat this process until you have the whole curtain looped in – and exactly evenly spaced.

11. Start a countdown with a TP roll calendar

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Your leftover toilet rolls can transform into a countdown calendar for Christmas, birthdays or any other exciting events in your life. Attach the cardboard cylinders into a grid, then cover each end in brown kraft paper. Next, mark each one with a number to create your countdown. You can hide treats behind the paper as well if you’re making an advent timer.

10. Safely pack up jewelry

You can’t just toss your baubles into your suitcase and go, or else they’re likely to become tangled along the way. Instead, slice a toilet paper roll lengthwise and slide necklaces through the hole. They’ll stay rolled around the cylinder, knot-free, until you reach your destination.

9. Wrap up Christmas lights with ease

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year – except if you’re the one left to sort out the twinkle lights. Ensure that next year’s different by wrapping the wires around card tubes, then taping them down. You can store other festive decorations inside of the cylinders, too.

8. Sheath sharp Christmas knives

Storing knives can be tough without a block on your counter – you certainly don’t want to go digging through a drawer full of blades. If you have some empty TP rolls lying around, though, you’re in luck. Simply flatten the tube and close off one end before sliding your knife in for safe storage.

7. Amp up your smartphone’s volume

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Imagine you and your friends have gathered for an impromptu party and your Bluetooth speaker isn’t charged. Don’t worry – you can still blast your favorite tunes if you have a smartphone and an empty TP roll on hand. Cut a notch into the center of the tube, making sure it’s just as wide as your device. Then stick tacks into the four outer corners of the cylinder so it stands on its own. Next, pop your phone inside and let the music echo through the newly created cardboard chamber

6. Mold homemade chalk

An empty toilet paper roll makes a perfect mold for homemade chalk. And you can easily whip up a batch of the sidewalk favorite. You just need eggshells – blended into a powder – along with flour, water and food coloring. Pour that mixture into a cardboard tube, then leave it to dry into a nice, big piece of chalk.

5. Create a space-saving tie organizer

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All of your neckties can fit on a single hanger, thanks to a thoughtfully modified toilet paper roll. First, slice up the tube into rings. Next, hot-glue them onto the hanger, then onto each other, in straight-across rows. Once that’s dry, it hangs in your closet like a normal hanger, and you can loop all of your ties through the cardboard openings.

4. Cut out a smartphone stand

With a few smart snips you can transform your toilet paper roll into a sturdy smartphone stand, perfect for hands-off video calling and recipe reading. Press the tube down so it’s easier to cut the tube diagonally. Then, toward the lower end of the angle, cut a notch big enough to hold your phone. You can take things a step further by covering the exterior of the tube in glue and rolling it in glitter, but it’s up to you how you want to decorate your new, free stand.

3. Untangle a pile of yarn

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This toilet paper roll is equal parts useful and visually impressive. Make a notch in one end of the cardboard tube, then feed the ball of yarn through and wrap it around the outside of the tube once. Next, stick one arm of your hand mixer into the middle of the tube and turn it on. Magically, the spinning mechanism will whip the tangled yarn around the tube, creating a usable spool for your next project.

2. Safely store your children’s artwork

You want to save every little creation your child makes. And now you can organize them all, too. Simply roll up each drawing or painting and store it in a paper towel or toilet paper roll. If you need a way to quickly organize and store their certificates, schoolwork and other important documents, rely on your leftover tubes for that as well.

1. Keep sock pairs together

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Finally, your empty toilet paper rolls can help you in the laundry room. Almost all of us struggle to keep sock pairs together after they come out of the dryer. But if you partner them, roll them up and slide one set into a cardboard tube, well, you’ve got an organized drawer. And matching socks, for once.

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