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26 Ways to Reuse...{Paper Towel Rolls}

Posted on September 8, 2010 at 1:46 AM
People have {hopefully} asked themselves many times if there is something you can do with paper towel or toilet paper tubes before just tossing to be recycled.  Yes, I encourage recycling but why toss it to go through huge machines to be reincarnated to be a tube again?  {...boring} 
Why not give it another life?.... or many?
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Here, I have compiled a {pain-staking} random list of 26 things you can do with them that may surprise you, in no particular order. Some are innovative, and some are crafty and some are even very beautiful. 
{Yes, I said beautiful... You'll see what I mean}
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1. Ribbon/Trim Storage
For a crafty way to store ribbon and keep them looking pretty, store them on 2" sections of the tubes and put them in a pencil basket to keep them aligned.  How OCD!... I love it!

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2. Hanging Pen Holder
This one from re-nest.com, is the only pic I could find that featured this type of project.  However, I believe that aesthetics are nothing to mess with.  I would've wrapped some pretty paper around it and duplicated them in odd numbers, but that's just me. 
There's something about the bare tube just hanging like that.

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3. Lantern Decoration
I told you there was beauty involved.  When people think about the tubes they think of the function they have and not thinking outside the box. {....er, roll}  When you want to re-purpose something, ask yourself if it can be cut up for repetition.   Anything in multiples can be very attractive.  I am soooo going to try this one.
also check out her tealight decoration
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4. Kid's Craft: Making Animals
The vertical shape in a toilet paper or paper towel roll is perfect for the torso of any animal or critter.  Just decide what creature you want to make and add the features.  Materials are up to you.  All you need are pipe cleaners, paint and some construction paper.  Check out what Crafty Crafted Studio did with their tubes.
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5. Crease Free Linens or Scarves
Folding scarves can make for an unsightly ensemble.  Why not roll them up around the tubes to keep their condition wrinkle free?  Then to hold them, wrap a ribbon through the tubes lengthwise and tie in a bow.  Then store in a linen closet or a drawer.  Check out what ideas Squidoo has in store.

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6. Cord Storage
Organization is key and cords take the cake for being one of the most unfriendly culprits when it comes to clutter. I don't see them going away any time soon.  Even with the wireless technology stepping up to the plate, it will be a looong while before we can stop holding our breath.  Another tip:  when wrapping the cords, label them with sharpie or wrap in pretty paper with labels if they are a specialty wire. ie: printer, mp3 player or cellphone.

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7. Kid's Craft: Make a Rocket
The tube shape is perfect for your child to create the wildest rocket he can imagine... and we know that imagination is WILD!  Have them decorate them with stickers, markers or foil.  Then watch as they instantly become an astronaut right before your eyes!
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8. Kid's Craft: Make a Kaleidoscope
This project from Mother Nature Network, shows you how your child can make their own kaleidoscope with very little materials and a lot of imagination.  The world could use a little more color...
So check out the tutorial. 




9. Napkin rings
You can never have too many napkin rings in your home.  Think about all the seasons and holidays families get together for a home cooked meal.  The kids are perfect for this project because it's sooo easy and it allows them to be creative.  The possibilities are endless.  In this pic from ehow.com, they have wrapped yarn around pieces about 1" wide.  You can wrap lots of complimenting fabric and store them for different occasions.  Check out the site for the tutorial on this project.
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10. Photo Displays
This project from photojojo.com shows you that you are not limited to just paper towel tubes. You can also use mailing tubes to vary the size of the circle.  There's a tutorial on the site.
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11.  Modern Fruit Bowl
More additions of mailing tubes.  All you need for this project from replayground.com, is a little paint and protecting spray and you have a very interesting fruit bowl to add character to your kitchen.  Check out replayground for the tutorial.

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12. Glitter Star Ornaments
This project is great, not just for the holidays but all year round.  Besides the roll, all you need is glue and glitter and multiply the process and it can turn into amazing wall decoration.





13.  Small Toy Storage
We don't think about it but in their own way, kids love to organize too!  It's true.  Kids love when there is a perfect spot for everything.  On this site, they show you that kids can store their collection of cars in a very attractive box.  And it won't be unsightly either.  It sure beats the pain you get from stepping on that yellow Ferrari!
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14.  Seedling Pots
If you have kids, this idea from The Good Mood Food Blog, they get a lesson in gardening and repsonsibility. They love to keep checking to see how their little seedlings are progressing. They wil get such joy when they see a little green "something" pop up out of the soil.   There is also an article on this type of project on Folsom Garden Club and  mrbrownthumb using a bakery container.

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15. Nesting Tubes for Toddlers.
These projects from Toilet Paper Crafts {top} and Highlights Kids {bottom}, show you that you are not limited to the radius of the tubes.  You can cut them lengthwise and they can nest into each other for a special suprise each time a new one is revealed.  In a child's mind that is absolutley amazing! 

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16. Wrist Cuffs:
All you need for this project from Eighteen25 are the tubes and embellishments like scrapbook paper, stickers, trim and jewels.  It's a craft so easy, any age can enjoy it.  My tip:  use two layers of rolls glued together to give it rigidity, so it sustains the movements of a child.
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17. Knife Storage/Transport
For social gatherings, we all depend on someone to bring the necessities for cutting the lasagna.  Transporting knives can be a bit scary!  Try this idea from RecipeTips.com for safer storing and transporting of those sharp utensils.

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18. Binoculars
Check out Two Hearts Together.  Again, very simple ageless project, and the tools are few.  Glue, yarn and tubes.  They'll feels special when they spot their first bird and better yet... identify it!
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19. Candy Cracker
Just in time for the fall season when candy makes it's way either onto the candy dish on the counter tops all the way to inside the tummy.  This idea is perfect for kids parties, Halloween, wedding favors, or your grandkids that stopped in for a treat!
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20. Mouse Trap
Ok, stop laughing... I know your chuckling about this one but, you have to admit, it's a great idea.  Just place the food at the inside outer edge of the tube and as soon our friend Mickey gets nosy, before he can even blink, he finds himself at the bottom of the can.  Still alive, waiting to be set free back with his family.
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21. Using End as a Stamp
Genius, genius, genius... We are so busy looking at the cylinder shape of the tube that we're not thinking about the shape of the tip.  Check out this blog to get the tutorial on how to create these onsies.  Believe it or not, the pic to the left is also from the end of the tube!  She slightly flattened the tube and pulled the one point down to make a heart.  {love it}
 
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22. Bubble Blower
What kid doesn't loooove blowing bubbles?  {Yes, adults too!}  The Helping Mommy helps you with this tutorial.  Check it out.




23. Rain Stick
Another thing kids can't get enough of is noise {...er, I mean, music!}  Rain sticks can add interesting sound to their one-man band.  Don't forget, you can make a kazoo and drumsticks with more tubes. Be ready for him/her to lay down an awesome track in the recording studio!

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24. Wedding Favors: 
Seed Storage & Mini Notebooks
When I came across this idea, from Do It Yourself Weddings, I was like... omg!  What an awesome idea.  For the seed packets, all you need are the tubes, letter stamps, flower seeds and a stapler.  And for the mini notebooks, just add some paper!  So inspired!
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25. Jewelry Storage for Kids
Having a place to store their jewelry is not the problem.  It's that they haven't created a place to store their jewelry!  Give them ribbon, pipe cleaners, fabric, and anything else to create a haven for their earrings and bracelets.  It's perfect for dress-up.  Or a great display if they play store.  C'mon... you remember! Don't play Miss Forgetful on me now!

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...And now for my favorite in the list!
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26.  Abstract Wall Art
Both, Design Sponge & Rhonna Designs feature wall designs so beautiful, you have to remind yourself it's garbage!  Simply cut the tubes in strips of 1" and freely create a design to your liking and glue in place.  Then, simply hang from two nails on the wall when dry. ...So creative!
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I hope you enjoyed this useful list of suggestions for reusing trash and turning it into treasure or function.  Let me know how this list has helped you bring out your creative side!  There are more links to creative and useful ideas at the bottom of this entry.

Good Luck!  And don't forget to...


more ideas at squidoo.com, howcast.com,
Book available at amazon
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Oh, and I also found this comic from a website called:... Enjoy!

Categories: don't throw that out!, lists, upcycling

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6 Comments

Reply jen
3:17 PM on September 20, 2010 
wow... who knew you could do all that with paper towel rolls?? :) thanks for including our project!
jen@eighteen25
Reply icouldsomakethat
9:02 PM on September 21, 2010 
lol... Yeah, I had a lot of fun making the list. There were so many, I had to keep changing the title. I actually started with 12!
Reply Michelle Willow
1:38 PM on March 29, 2011 
Thanks to linking back to my Squidoo page. Much appreciated :)
Reply frank
11:32 AM on April 11, 2011 
those are really cool. never thought you could do so much with simple postal tubes and rolls. I get loads here so I think I will try and experiment with a few designs. http://www.euroffice.co.uk/postal-tubes/
Reply zoey
4:32 PM on November 17, 2013 
this is all really creative and i love the whole design for the girls jewelry holder that's adorable.
Reply omg...icouldsomakethat
5:19 PM on November 17, 2013 
I agree with you. The only thing I would've changed is getting rid of the bare roll and wrapped or painted. But the idea is definitely unique.

Thanks for your comment!












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