Wednesday, March 18, 2020

45+ DIY Games, Toys and Crafts to make from Toilet Paper Rolls

*This post contains some affiliate links*

In my opinion the humble toilet paper roll is one of the most overlooked and underutilised craft resources available. Firstly they're free, and anything free is a good thing! They're readily available {well they're usually readily available to any household that has toilet paper}. You're helping the environment and reducing waste by reusing them. Also once your children lose interest in whatever craft or masterpiece you've made with them, they're recyclable. So they're a win for the hip pocket, the environment and one of the best boredom busters to entertain children at home, plus an added bonus is you don't need to be a crafty mum to use them. I've put together a list of over 45 things you can make using toilet paper rolls.

Basket of toilet paper rolls
I know some people may be a bit freaked out about using toilet paper rolls given they may contain germs because they've been near a toilet, however there are a few ways you can disinfect them. If you're concerned, they can be sprayed with disinfectant spray like Glen 20, or left out in the sun for a few hours, or you can use this technique by The Artisan Life. Alternatively you can also make everything below using paper towel rolls, empty wrapping paper rolls or empty cling wrap and baking paper rolls cut to size {or purchase craft cardboard tubes here or here}.



DIY GAMES AND TOYS THAT CAN BE MADE FROM TOILET PAPER ROLLS


Toilet paper roll construction tower

Kids bored of their toys? No problem, make your own DIY cardboard construction blocks using toilet paper rolls. These cardboard linking blocks from Picklebums are similar in concept to plugging flowers and are the ultimate open ended DIY toy. Leave them plain, or make them bright and colourful with watercolours or acrylic paint.


toilet paper roll watches

Help teach the kids how to tell the time by making their own toilet paper roll watch. Make them for different times of the day so they can change them throughout the day. Follow the super easy instructions on Red Ted Art.

toilet paper roll stacking toy

Probably the easiest DIY toy to make from toilet paper rolls is this DIY cardboard tube stacking toy. Simply cut some toilet paper rolls in half and use a paper towel holder like Normal Life Mom or even a jewellery stand or plate stand to stack them on.


cardboard tube diy marble run

Create a DIY marble run using toilet paper rolls. You'll need cardboard tubes, paint, tape and glue. You can make it as simple or complex as you like {see Powerful Mothering for instructions}. Use the marble run with marbles or pom poms.


magnetic cardboard tube marble run on a fridge

For another twist on a traditional marble run, try making this magnetic toilet paper roll marble run. Follow the tutorial at Go Science Kids and you can make your own ball run using toilet paper rolls, washi tape and magnetic tape. Imagine how much fun the kids will have designing their own ball run on the fridge or dishwasher {also a great way to occupy them while cooking dinner!}.


Make a really simple pom pom ball drop activity for younger kids by taping paper towel rolls into the wall with paper cups underneath like Active Littles. Use stronger tape like painters tape or masking tape so they don't fall off the wall.



Create a stem building challenge with toilet paper rolls and other loose parts like Hands-On Teaching Ideas did. Give the kids a box of recyclable loose parts like toilet paper rolls, paper plates, empty cardboard boxes and anything else you have and challenge them to build a structure that won't fall over. The beauty of this activity is that it can be done over and over with different results every time and there's no right or wrong outcome.



Use toilet paper rolls and cardboard tubes to create a dinosaur skeleton like Your Modern Family. This is a great steam activity {science, technology, engineering, art + maths} and a great hands on experience while homeschooling children. Toilet paper rolls can be used to make a number of different transient art skeletons. Go with your child's interests and research skeletons of animals they love then they can be little paleontologists and try to recreate them with cardboard rolls.



Use an empty cardboard box, pieces of cardboard and toilet paper rolls to create a DIY bug hotel like Sarah. Add in some bits and pieces from nature like leaves, sticks, bark and pinecones. Use the bug hotel inside with plastic bugs, or leave it outside to attract some real creepy crawlies.




IMAGINARY PLAY USING ITEMS MADE FROM TOILET ROLLS


There are so many different crafts that can be made from toilet paper rolls {scroll down further in this post to find heaps of them}, however some of them can also then be used as props for imaginary play.

We made these toilet paper roll houses for small world play using toilet paper rolls and egg cartons. They're the perfect size for peg dolls, fairies, Shopkins and other mini figurines. To make them follow my tutorial for toilet paper roll houses here.



If you want to make some more detailed fairy houses try these toilet paper roll toadstool houses. They'd be great in a fairy village small world and you can add an led tea light to turn them into lanterns. Follow the tutorial at Moms & Crafters for step by step instructions to make them.



If your kids are into space themed activities then make some rockets using paper towel rolls {or toilet paper rolls} and use them in a space small world or activity tray. Look We're Learning has an easy to follow tutorial for making cardboard space rockets. You'll need a hot glue gun {but could substitute with tape if you don't have one}.



If you have some yarn and fabric scraps you can make these toilet paper roll red riding hood figures from Red Ted Art. By raiding your craft stash and using up a few bits and bobs you can make these cute toilet paper dolls and use them to re-tell Little Red Riding Hood.


There's quite a few different way to make a race car from toilet paper rolls, but this tutorial from Thrifty Jinxy makes some of the sturdiest ones I've seen. You'll need to have some special craft items on hand like split pins and a hole punch {if you don't have these there are other toilet paper car crafts further down in this post}. Once you've made the toilet paper hot rods, the kids can have loads of fun racing them against each other.


FINE MOTOR ACTIVITIES USING CARDBOARD TUBES


Toilet paper rolls are also a great tool to help children build their fine motor skills. Use them for various threading, stacking and cutting activities which get fingers working as well as helping with hand/eye co-ordination and problem solving. Below are four different fine motor activities using toilet paper rolls.


If you have a packet of plastic straws or paper straws at home and a hole punch, you can set up this cardboard tube threading activity in just a few minutes. Simply punch a few holes around the cardboard tube and let the kids thread the straws through in all different directions. I love how Laughing Kids Learn has used really bright coloured straws.



A fun way for kids to start using scissors is by giving paper haircuts to cardboard dolls. These dolls with bright paper hair by Laughing Kids Learn are really easy to make and because the hair is coloured paper it's quite easy for kids to cut through. How many different hairstyles will they make?



Another really cute way for preschoolers to practice cutting with scissors is to turn toilet paper rolls into cute fine motor skills men {and women}. The kids can help draw faces onto the toilet paper rolls and then practice cutting through the cardboard to create hair. Find more info at Mama Teaches.



For toddlers you can easily turn a toilet paper roll into large cardboard beads for threading. To make the beads colourful like Laughing Kids Learn, either wrap them in coloured paper or paint them with acrylic paint. Make sure you always supervise younger children while doing this activity as the cardboard tubes can start to disintegrate and could be ingested if they mouth them.


PAINTING AND STAMPING METHODS USING TOILET PAPER ROLLS


If you don't have an art cupboard brimming with paint brushes, stamps and bits and pieces, never fear! Toilet paper rolls make the perfect substitute paint stamp and there's many different ways to create a unique masterpiece using them. Here's four different ways to paint with toilet paper rolls.


Create a beautiful stained glass painting using toilet paper rolls and watercolour paints. The kids will be entertained while creating their own artwork plus you'll have some unique pieces to decorate the house with once they're done. Get all the instructions at Powerful Mothering.



Make these cardboard tube or toilet paper roll flower stamps and use them to create some pretty flower art. Cut different flower petal shapes into the rolls and then use different coloured acrylic paint to create some gorgeous floral masterpieces. Find more info on flower painting at Taming Little Monsters.


Make these shape stamps from toilet paper rolls by simply moudling them with your fingers into different shapes. It's really easy to make a toilet paper tube into a heart, circle, rectangle, square, triangle and oval. This painting activity from Laughing Kids Learn doubles as a way for younger children to learn and recognise shapes as well get messy and creative indoors {or out in the backyard if you're worried about the mess}. 


Toilet paper rolls are also the perfect shape to make bunny and Easter egg paint stamps. This is a great craft idea for right now as Easter is on it's way and it's also great for spring. Follow the instructions at Natural Beach Living to make the bunny and egg toilet paper paint stamps.



16 EASY CRAFTS USING TOILET ROLLS AND CARDBOARD TUBES


The most obvious way to use toilet paper rolls is for 101 different craft ideas. I've collated a few different craft ideas in this post, however you can find more toilet paper roll craft ideas on my Pinterest board here. Some of these may require some basic art and craft supplies, if you don't have them at home I've added some links to purchase online below, or you can shop craft supplies in my Amazon store.




Frozen fans will love this DIY toilet paper roll Olaf. He's so easy to make using the free printable from Simple Everyday Mom, some white cardstock and black mini pom poms.



Bring your favourite Star Wars characters to life as toilet paper roll dolls. Download the free Star Wars toilet paper roll dolls printable from Rock Your Homeschool. The template includes 18 different Star Wars characters.



For more movie based craft try these Despicable Me toilet paper roll minions. Download the free printable template from That Kids Craft Site.



If you have a stash of yoghurt/baby food pouch lids at home then give these toilet paper roll cars a go. Full instructions can be found at The Inspiration Edit.



If you have a well equipt craft stash then these toilet paper roll unicorns are the perfect afternoon craft with the kids. You'll need some rainbow wool, coloured paper and gold glitter foam. Follow the step by step instructions at Meraki Mother.


If you want to make unicorns from toilet paper rolls but don't have all the craft items you need, try this template from Messy Little Monster. All you'll need is some paint, coloured pencils and the free template.


Make the three little pigs out of toilet paper rolls. Follow the instructions at The Inspiration Edit using pink paper, googly eyes and glue.


These toilet paper roll spring butterflies are so cute and a great craft activity for younger kids. You'll need some coffee filters and coloured pencils. Follow the steps over at Look We're Learning.



If you have a craft cupboard overflowing with yarn, let the kids loose with some glue and googly eyes and make some toilet paper roll monsters like Danya Banya. How many different designs can the kids make?

Make some pretty toilet paper roll flowers like Pink Stripey Socks. You'll need some paint, washi tape and skewers or coffee stirrers. These would be a great homemade Mother's Day gift too.



Make these super cute toilet paper roll butterflies from The Best Ideas for Kids. You'll need googly eyes, coloured paper, paint, pipecleaners, mini pom poms and buttons.


I've never seen anything like these toilet paper roll clothespin puppets. You can make them using the free template and instructions from Moms & Crafters, however you can also mix and match the face pieces to make unique quirky puppets.



If you want to go all out crafting, try these toilet paper giraffe marionettes from Red Ted Art. This is the perfect bookish play craft to go with the book Giraffe's Can't Dance. They'd be a great craft for older kids too.



Make this cute feed the shark game with toilet paper rolls and the free game printable from Hunny I'm Home. This game is a great way to reinforce colours and counting in a fun way by feeding the sharks.


If your kids love bugs they'll love making these toilet paper roll minibeasts. You will need some specific items to make these like acetate sheets {overhead projector sheets}, glitter glue and pipecleaners, however Red Ted Art has also included alternatives in her instructions for those that don't have these materials available.


The kids can have fun making some diy toilet paper nature cuff bracelets. Go on a nature walk and collect some bright flowers and leaves to decorate the cuffs. Assemble them following the steps from Danya Banya using toilet paper rolls and sticky tape.



6 RECYCLED DECORATION IDEAS MADE FROM CARDBOARD ROLLS


Toilet paper rolls also make great recycled ornaments and holiday decorations. Free decorations + a crafty activity for the kids! There's toilet paper roll decorations for Easter, Halloween and Christmas.


These toilet paper roll spooky halloween trees will look great around the house at at Halloween. While they look pretty detailed, they're actually really simple to make. Just follow the instructions at Taming Little Monsters.


Toilet paper roll mummy decorations for Halloween
While we're on the topic of Halloween, why not have a go at making these toilet paper roll mummies I made with the girls. They're so simple to put together, you'll just need toilet paper rolls, a black marker, googly eyes and white masking tape. See my full halloween mummies post here.


Toilet paper roll snowflake ornaments.

These toilet paper roll snowflakes are quite possibly the easiest recycled ornaments you'll ever make. I made similar ones to decorate our school classroom last year and literally all you need is a toilet paper roll and glue {and paint if you want to pretty them up even more}. I used hot glue to make mine, but if you follow the Red Ted Art tutorial it's even easier.


Bunny butt craft using toilet paper rolls and plastic easter eggs

How stinking cute are these flowerpot Easter egg holders! The little bunny butts, omg I die. To make these you'll need some plastic eggs, pom poms, paint and toilet paper rolls. Follow the full tutorial at Taming Little Monsters.


Chicken craft using toilet paper rolls and paper

If you want a fun way to hide mini Easter eggs for an egg hunt, or a cute Easter gift basket idea, make these toilet paper chicken gift boxes. You'll need a stapler, some coloured paper, eye stickers and of course mini chocolate Easter eggs! Follow the step by step instructions at Red Ted Art.


Toilet paper roll bird house ornaments hanging on a branch

Make these cute toilet paper roll birdhouse ornaments by following the tutorial from Rhythms of Play. Use them to decorate an Easter tree, a Christmas tree, or even for small world play.



EASY BIRD FEEDERS TO MAKE USING TOILET PAPER ROLLS


If the kids are going a little stir crazing being couped up inside, these bird feeders will get them outside enjoying the fresh air. Make some toilet paper roll bird feeders with a few items from around the house and put them in the backyard to attract local birds. The kids will have great fun making them then have just as much fun bird watching.


Toilet paper roll bird feeder sitting on a tree branch

To make this super simple toilet paper bird feeder from Fireflies and Mudpies all you'll need is some vegetable shortening {like Crisco or Copha} and bird seed. I remember growing up we always had Copha, so if you have some hiding away in a back corner of the fridge whip it out and make a bird feeder. 

2 level hanging toilet paper roll birdfeeder

If you have lots of birds in the neighbourhood, take things to the next level and make a double decker bird feeder with a toilet paper roll and paper roll cardboard tube. Mommy's Bundle made this one using peanut butter, bird seed and twine.


45 craft and toy ideas to make with toilet paper rolls





Disclosure - This post contains some affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, should you make a purchase. All craft images featured within this post have been used with express permission from original authors.

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