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Don't Save Empty Toilet Paper Rolls for Craft Supplies

Updated on May 29, 2020
Ladymermaid profile image

I write paint decoupage knit & crochet. As a craft enthusiast it seems my hands have a natural desire to bring my ideas to life

Crafts that are cute and quick to create.
Crafts that are cute and quick to create. | Source

To Use Or Not To Use - That Is The Question

In my internet travels I am frequently running into posts featuring simple craft projects made using empty toilet paper rolls. Perhaps it is just the clean freak in me but I cringe each time I see one. What is especially concerning is that these craft tutorials are often aimed at young children. Recycling items to be used in craft projects is great but please do not re-use any paper products previously used in your bathroom and this especially more so for those items used for toilet functions.

The toilet area can be the perfect breeding ground for germs and bacteria and hands that reach out to grab that toilet paper may be laden with nasty stuff that a cardboard roll can easily come in contact with. I don't know the odds of someone catching E.coli from these cardboard rolls but I find the mere thought of using them as a craft supply frightening. Their reuse should never be encouraged and especially when there is such a plentiful supply of other recyclable cardboard that can be used in their stead.


Most Paper Products Can Be Recycled

Any time you participate in the Reduce Reuse and Recycle theology you help our environment stay a little greener. Recycling items can greatly help to reduce the amount of waste in landfills. Recycling can also aide in the reduction of green house gasses that are produced both in the production and disposal of a product.

Re-using an article rather than trashing it is generally a good thing and but there are times when an article is better off being disposed of in a more appropriate manner. Empty toilet paper rolls are one of these items. Most paper waste can be sent to your local recycling centre to be turned into new paper products and this is where you should be discarding these empty rolls. There is a multitude of cleaner cardboard cast offs that can be safely used to satisfy most crafting needs.

Teaching our children green environmental practices is important but there are also important lessons in cleanliness that also must be learned. Hand washing is an important method to prevent contamination but our hands are generally washed after we touch toilet paper rather than before. There are a lot of germs and bacteria in a bathroom and they will gather on any surface to which they are exposed. Many schools have banned cardboard toilet paper rolls from being used in their craft projects and with good reason.

What Illness Can You Catch In The Bathroom?

Each person who uses the same bathroom as yourself has the potential to leave behind any illness or germ that they carry along with them. A bathroom can also have a life of its own when it comes to being the perfect breeding ground for mold, bacteria, and germs. There are logical reasons for this.

We all know what goes on in the bathroom. When you have completed your task and the toilet is flushed it sends out a fine mist spray much like that released when a person sneezes. Anything in the toilet at the moment it is flushed has the potential to land on yourself and any other surfaces present within that little room. It's a scary thought.

To insure we remove any potential contaminants we may have picked up in our visit we generally wash up after having using the facilities but, we may also unwittingly leave behind those very same germs and bacteria that we are currently busy washing off. Our hands are generally not washed when we reach for the toilet paper, flush the toilet, or turn on the tap. Now take just a minute to think about that.

So what potential nasties could you be exposing to yourself and others? There are many but here are the most popular few:

  • e.Coli
  • Streptococcus aureas
  • Staphylococcus
  • Shigellosis bacteria
  • Hepatitis A
  • Salmonella
  • Athlete's Foot or Fungus
  • In rare instances STD

As most bathrooms have the potential to be a moist area they are also the perfect room for mold and mildew to grow in. Cleanliness in the bathroom area and of the items leaving it, is very important to keep these risks to a minimum.

Source: Web MD

What Do You Craft With?

Have You Ever Used The Toilet Paper Roll?

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These Are Simple Crafts for Children

There is a very good reason as to why toilet paper roll craft tutorials have become so popular, most are easy to create. These projects are generally super simple to create so for young children they are the ideal crafts for them. It is really quite astonishing how many items can be imagined from that small paper cylinder. With a snip or two of the scissors, a splash of paint, a few extra add ons and a dab of glue in the appropriate place kids design a wonderland of creative play. There are hundreds of kid friendly projects that can be made and each in its own personalized way.

1. A man, woman, worker, or any other person you can desire to make.

2. An animal

3. An insect, bat, bird, or snake

3. A dinosaur or dragon

4. A gift box

5. A flower pot

6. A bowling game

7. A race car, family car, boat, ship, or train.

8. A watch

9. A cardboard teacup

10. A fish or two or three

You are only limited by your imagination in the number of projects a cardboard cylinder tube can create. Just insure the cardboard you use for these crafts does not come out of your, or anyone else's, bathroom.

Just For Fun Lets Build A Car

Gather Your Supplies

These are the items you will need.

  • A small cardboard tube (for the body of the car)
  • 2 sheets of coloured cardboard ( for the windshield and tire detailing)
  • A cardboard cereal box flap (for the tires)
  • Wood or bamboo skewer ( tire axels)
  • Glue
  • Circles (to trace out the tires and hubcaps)
  • Scissor
  • Ruler
  • Marking pen
  • Stickers (optional)

It's Really Quite Easy

Follow these directions to build your cardboard tube car.

  • Draw 3 lines to create a windshield for your car. Cut out the 3 lines to form the windshield and the now loose cardboard up to see how it will look once your car is complete. Now lay the cardboard flap back down.
  • Cut a piece of construction paper to fit around the cardboard tube. This will be the colour that you want your car to be. Cut out the appropriate size and shape.
  • Put glue around the edges of your cardboard tube as well as around the shape of your windshield then roll your construction paper around it. Cut around the windshield flap to allow it to be raised.
  • Use a larger circle to draw tires onto the cereal box flap. Cut these out.
  • Use alternate colour construction paper to draw smaller circles (hubcaps) and a small flap (glass of windshield) then cut these out.
  • Glue the hubcaps onto the centre of each of the 4 tires you previously created. Glue your windshield onto your car's windshield flap.

Now It Is Time To Add The Tires

You can add the tires in one of two ways. You can glue the tires directly onto the sides of the car or you can create a front and rear axel made from a wood skewer. Just snip the skewer to the appropriate size being careful not to use the pokey end of the stick. As young people are generally making these projects we don't want anyone to get hurt.

Poke holes in the tires and also the car where the axels will connect to the tires. Pop in your axels and use a glue gun to affix them in place.

That's All There Is To It

Recycled Cardboard Tubes To Use Instead of Empty Bathroom Tissue Rolls

  • Cardboard gift wrapping paper rolls
  • Paper towel rolls
  • Kitchen plastic, tinfoil, and wax wrap rolls
  • Parcel Post tubes
  • Cardboard art tubes

You can also easily make your own cardboard rolls from a recycled cereal box. This cardboard is the perfect weight to be used in many craft projects. All you have to do is cut the front and back side off of the box and you will have 2 sheets of craft weight cardboard. Cut the cardboard sheet into the required size for your project, roll it into a cylinder, then tape around it to hold your work in place.

Children learn through their play and crafting is an excellent way for them to learn a variety of new skills. It is also a great way to encourage their imaginative nature to emerge. Just insure to stay within their age capabilities and to always play safe.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Lorelei Cohen

Do You Upcycle Items Into Your Crafts?

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    • sparkleyfinger profile image

      Lynsey Hart 

      6 weeks ago from Lanarkshire

      Great hub. I have always been reluctant to craft with anything that may have germs on it- I'm glad it isn't just me!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      6 weeks ago from Central Florida

      My husband always checks with me before tossing things into the trash. "Do you want this for a craft or anything?" he says.

    • Ladymermaid profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorelei Cohen 

      6 weeks ago from Canada

      Virginia I am always astonished how many times I see these used in any number of ways. I'm a devout recycler but I opt to use the gift wrap tubing instead. It truly is amazing how many items in the home can be re-used if we get creative.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      6 weeks ago from Central Florida

      I've used some by closing the end, filling with dirt, and planting seeds in them. Since no children are involved with the project and I can be mindful about handwashing, I may continue with this. I won't recommend it though to others. Thanks for raising my awareness.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      6 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      You have some good craft ideas and you wrote an interesting article. As I have no children at home I don't do these types of crafts unless I have my granddaughter visiting. I think knowing about possible bacteria in the bathroom is also important.

    • Ladymermaid profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorelei Cohen 

      6 weeks ago from Canada

      It's something I didn't think too much about when I was younger and crafting but now that I have grandchildren it was something I investigated. Definitely something I would no longer use in craft projects and especially knowing that I can save the rolls from holiday gift wrap and recycle those instead.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      6 weeks ago from USA

      I've thought about that in passing but never verbalized it because I thought it was a it obsessive. Glad someone else shared my concern. I hope people will recycle.

    • Ladymermaid profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorelei Cohen 

      6 weeks ago from Canada

      Yes, there are many options to use instead of empty rolls from bathroom tissue. Much safer to avoid the other.

    • lindacee profile image

      Linda Chechar 

      6 weeks ago from Arizona

      These options for toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, gift wrapping rolls and plastic wrap kitchen rolls. There are crafts to make from paper rolls, cardboard and construction paper for the cute car!


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