14 Clever Uses for Paper Towel & Toilet Paper Tubes

14 Clever Uses for Paper Towel & Toilet Paper Tubes

Stop! Don’t throw that cardboard tube in the trash!

By Jeanne Sager

Whether they’re the result of finishing a roll of toilet paper or a roll of paper towels, chances are you have at least a few cardboard tubes hanging around you home, waiting to be carted out on trash day. If you pop them in your recycling bin, chances are those tubes will be watered down and sent through a process to create new tubes that will one day pop up in your Charmin.

But why send them out of the house when you can upcycle the tubes and put them to good use around your house? Here are some smart but simple ways to re-use the rolls:

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1. Cat Treat Dispensers
A set of scissors, some non-toxic glue and some cat treats turns the tubes into a puzzle toy for your cats.

2. Gift Wrap Organizers
If your tubes of gift wrap tend to unroll, grab the leftover tube from your roll of Bounty, and cut one vertical line, from top to bottom. Slide the tube over your gift wrap, and it will hold the roll together.

3. Baby Shower/Birthday Party Décor
Cut a toilet paper tube in half. Wrap in decorative paper, leaving one side of the tube open. Fill with candies and top off with ribbon for a cute table centerpiece.

4. Candy Surprises
Cut a paper towel tube so it’s just tall enough to sit inside a glass candy jar. Fill the jar with candy, but only around the tube. Stick a surprise inside the tube -- be it money or a different kind of candy. Give to a friend!

5. Electric Cord Organizers
Fold electric cords and slide into an empty Charmin tube. The cords will stay and won’t get tangled!

6. Holiday Light Organizers
Wrap your holiday lights around a paper towel tube, so they’ll be easier to store.

7. Toy Watches
Cut tubes into 1- to 2-inch thick circles. Decorate white paper with the face of a clock and glue to the tube. Behold a toddler’s “ watch.”

8. Bird Feeders
Coat a tube in peanut butter or shortening. Roll in birdseed. Loop a long piece of string through the tube and tie. Hang outside for the birds.


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9. Crafts Organizer
Cut the top off of a rectangular tissue box and line with Charmin tubes, one hole facing up. Add dots of glue between the tubes to keep them in place. Fill with pencils, markers, scissors and other craft supplies.

10. Seedling Starters
Cut toilet paper rolls in half or paper towel rolls into quarters. Fold the bottom in on itself. Fill with soil, and add seeds! Once the seedlings have begun to grow, the whole thing can be planted into the ground as the tubes will biodegrade, or they will easily pull away.

11. Roller Stamps
Cut shapes out of foam, glue to the sides of the tubes. Roll in ink and then roll on paper to create fun designs. If you don’t have foam, try wrapping the tubes in bubble wrap instead (use a few dots of glue to hold the wrap in place).

12. Gift Boxes
Just the tubes and some pretty ribbon or string makes for small pockets perfect for little gifts.

13. Bracelet Organizer
Fill a Bounty tube with old paper (enough to add some heft if you stand it up). Cover in fabric. Slide bracelets on your new organizer, and display!

14. Campfire Starter
Stuff the tubes with dryer lint and close off each end with leftover newspaper. The results are perfect starters for campfires.

What do you do with those leftover empty tubes?

Jeanne Sager is a freelance writer, photographer and social media junkie. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, daughter, and way too many pets. You can follow her @JeanneSager.

Image ©iStock.com/marugod83

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Thank you now my granddaughter and I have more crafts we can do together.

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@Linda, @Nancy -- Thank you! We're glad to hear you enjoyed this article.

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It always bothered me to throw the card-paper rolls away. Thank you for the great ideas for DIY projects.

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great ideas

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