Paper Towel Roll Crafts: Get 40+ Great Ideas!

These paper towel roll crafts are perfect boredom busters, and will bring out kids’ creativity on a budget. Grab a cardboard tube and get started.

Paper Towel Roll Crafts

I just recently wrote an article on toilet paper roll crafts, and I shared over 50 ideas to make with cardboard tubes. I decided, when looking at my ever growing stash, that paper towel rolls needed to be represented too.

Especially with times as they are right now – we’re all inside a lot. And given the purchases earlier this year, everyone has a lot of cardboard tubes taking up space in their home.

It’s time to start getting crafty with the tubes, if you haven’t already. And even if you have, there are a lot of ideas here you probably haven’t tried!

Paper Towel Tube Crafts

Before we dive into the crafts, let’s go through some frequently asked questions about toilet paper tube crafts! If you’re ready to dive into the projects, simply scroll down to the list below the questions.

What crafts can you make with paper towel rolls?

I’m actually kind of excited to share everything that you can do with the cardboard tubes. For years the only thing I knew about was seed starters, and I had no idea there were other things you could make. Turns out there’s a lot, from kids projects to wall art to holiday. You’ll see in the list.

What is the inside of a paper towel roll called?

he cardboard in the center of the roll is called the “core” and that’s what you’re going to use for your projects. Sometimes you can slide it out before the roll is done – but for the most part you have to wait until all the paper towels are off to use the cardboard tube within.

What paint can I use on cardboard tubes?

I recommend using Apple Barrel or FolkArt paint. Apple Barrel is the less expensive of the two craft paints, and it’s got great pigmentation. This brand is also non-toxic and waterbase for easy clean up, so it’s perfect to use with kids.

Are you ready to jump into the paper towel tube crafts? Keep on reading to get the list!

Paper Towel Roll Crafts

Grab a bunch of cardboard tubes and get started on these paper towel roll craft ideas! You're going to love the variety of the suggestions - plenty of ideas for ages kid to adult.


DIY Desk Organizer

Use old cereal boxes and toilet paper rolls to create a unique DIY desk organizer! This craft organizer is perfect if you're on a budget.


Geometric Wall Art

When I say this cardboard tube wall art is easy enough for kids to make, I mean it! The color and shape possibilities are endless!


DIY Napkin Rings

Use recycled paper towel rolls to make these burlap DIY napkin rings. You’d never guess they were made for pennies! Perfect for the holidays.


Polka Dot Paper Lanterns

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Grab an old string of twinkle lights and make some cool covers with paper towel rolls! You're going to the love the polka dotted glow when you plug these in at night.


Heart Stamping

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Did you realize that you can turn a paper towel roll into a stamp? Yes you can! In this case a heart was made - and a group of littles had a blast decorating canvases in this cute craft.


Make a Rainstick

A rainstick is a long tube-like instrument that makes a sound like rain falling when it is turned over. It’s easy to make a kid-friendly rainstick out of a recycled paper towel roll and some items from your kitchen and craft room.


Duct Tape Bracelets

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These duct tape bracelets are a great idea for kids who like recycled crafts! They’re easy to make and wear, and all you need in addition to the tape is a paper towel roll.


Fantastical Fortress

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All you'll need is some construction paper, markers, and a bit of washi tape to make this unique castle! Your princes and princesses will really enjoy making the fortress of their dreams.


Make a Kazoo

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Kids always love making homemade instruments! Here’s how to make a kazoo using a cardboard tube. It’s a fun craft for kid and a great science activity for exploring sound.


Flower Stamping

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Make adorable stamp flower works of art using recycled materials. This paper roll flower stamping craft is fun for kids of all ages and the end result makes a perfect gift!


Cardboard Snake

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I not only love that the fact that this reptile is recycled - I love that its segments move! This cool snake will fascinate children and is a great teaching activity.


Star Wars Characters

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These Star Wars characters are SO easy to make out of cardboard tubes! One tube can make multiple Rebels or any member of the Empire.


Paper Roll Gift Box

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No need to buy gift boxes when you can make adorable, pretty, and personalized recycled gift boxes for a fraction of the cost! Crafters of any age will love personalizing these.


Very Lonely Firefly

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This colorful craft was inspired by the Eric Carle book "The Very Lonely Firefly." Make your own fireflies (or lightning bugs as they're called) using a cardboard tube and some paper!


Easy Wind Twirlers

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Don't throw those paper towel rolls away - turn them into colourful, spinning outdoor ornaments! Make these for the 4th of July or just because you love summer.


Bowling Game

Grab a roll of Duck Tape and some cardboard tubes to make this inexpensive bowling game! Kids will love knocking over the "pins," stacking them up, and playing another round.


Rainbow Wind Catcher

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This cardboard tube craft was made for St. Patrick's Day, but you can customize it for any time of year! Pick your favorite paint colors and ribbon.


Simple Swan

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Paper roll swans are a fun recycling craft for kids of all ages! Your finished swan can be embellished with real feathers and sparkles if you choose.


Dragon Pencil Pot

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Brighten up your desk and keep your pens and pencils safe with a fiery dragon pencil pot holder! This project is fun, easy, and looks cool in a variety of colors.


Cardboard Tube Zebra

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I love the black and white pipe cleaner mane and tail on this African equine! Once you start making zebras from paper towel rolls - you'll never go back.


Four Seasons

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Teach your children about the four seasons and have fun doing it! You'll make winter, spring, summer, and fall trees with cardboard and construction paper.


Advent Calendar

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Make your Christmas countdown a little more fun with the addition of tealights! Every day your faux tree will get just a little bit brighter. So fun and easy to do.


Seahorse Puppets

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Aren't seahorses magical? These strange little creatures are a crucial part of an aquatic habitat. Paper roll puppets are so fun to make and will provide hours of undersea fun.


Giraffe Marionette

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The long necks and legs of giraffe make them perfect for turning into marionette puppets! Easy to make and paint in the colors of your choice.


Paper Roll Cacti

If you love cute paper towel roll crafts, you're going to have to try these cacti! You can use one tube to make some prickly friends in a variety of sizes.


Paper Roll Angel

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This easy paper roll angel makes for a fun upcycling craft for Christmas. She looks beautiful sitting on the mantlepiece!


Caterpillar Pencil Holder

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Caterpillars are perfect for paper towel roll crafts - the segments of their bodies are conducive to getting creative with color! Learn how to make this simple pencil holder with a few tubes.


Paper Tube Pumpkins

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Paper towel roll pumpkins are a simple fall decor craft that makes a big impact. Create them by repurposing items you already have in your home!


DIY Kaleidoscope

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I love working with perler beads, and in this craft you can use them along with cardboard tubes to make a super colorful kaleidoscope!


Homemade Xylophone

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Musical toys are great developmental tools for kids. Try letting your child personalize their xylophone by decorating the tubes before you fasten them together!  


Ice Castle

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One of my favorite parts of this lovely winter castle is the base - made out of old CDs! So sparkly, and perfect if you're looking for a magical Frozen craft idea.


Marble Run

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This marble run is one of the coolest new games around! Decorate your rolls, add magnets to the back, and then create your own course as desired.


Colorful Superheroes

Superhero tales never fail to capture the imaginations of the young (and the not-so-young), so what better way for you and your kids to bring them to life together than with a few paper roll superheroes?


Cardboard Tube Minions

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Add a few Minions to the family with this fun craft idea! Let kids personalize their Minions with the expressions that most resonate with them.


Tree Branch Wall Art

The only thing you'll likely need to buy for this craft idea is a few canvases - the twigs and cardboard tubes were recycled, and then paint was from a craft stash. Budget wall art at its finest!


Recycled Flowers

These recycled flowers are a perfect rainy day or summer boredom buster activity! Kids will love the unlimited ways to paint and decorate their seasonal blooms.


Paper Roll Mermaid

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Turn one paper towel roll into a pretty under-the-sea princess! Make a variety of these cute girls using various colors of hair and sparkly tails.


Simple Party Crowns

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These paper tube crowns are great party favors, or a perfect kids' activity to do during a celebration! Very easy to cut and decorate with washi tape.


DIY Phone Speakers

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Ever notice that how your phone just doesn't play music loud enough? Well, if you have a cardboard roll and two cups lying around, you can fix that problem in a couple of minutes!


Jumping Jellyfish

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Turn a cardboard tube into a cute and colorful jellyfish craft for kids! You’ll just need an empty paper towel roll, some paint, and scissors.

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