Creative Experiment #1: Toilet Paper Roll

Toilet Paper Roll

To mark the start of the new year, I’m starting a project called Creative Challenges. A new challenge will be introduced every month or so, and you are invited to join in on the fun. The project should be executed by children, but adults are welcome to facilitate or collaborate if the mood strikes! Okay, here we go…

Make something with a toilet paper roll.

We all have a few of these lying around (right?!), so why not have fun with them before they hit the recycling bin.

To join in on the Challenge

  • Use at least one toilet paper roll, along with any other materials of your choice
  • Attach a photo of the experiment along with a description of what you and/or your child/ren did in the comment section below.
  • There is no deadline for this project.

If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some thoughts to get you started:

  • As a provocation, put a variety of art materials in front of your child (i.e. markers, tape, yarn), and see what they come up with
  • Make an installation, using only toilet paper rolls, scissors, and string
  • Attach things to it with a glue gun
  • Decorate it to look like an object (person, animal, house, etc.)


  1. I just happen to have a bag full of toilet paper rolls. I use them for so many kid activities. . . but I never thought to see what they would do with them on their own. We’ll have to give it a try.

    • Looking forward to seeing what your kids do!

  2. Yes, we have these on hand! ; ) Your picture reminds me of the tape I wanted to purchase, inspired by your post last year on tape!

    • These rolls of tape are one of our best purchases! My daughter pulled them out again tonight for taping some prints to the wall, and earlier today for scissor practice.

  3. My son wanted a TIE Fighter and he wanted to make it, not buy it. So I got the idea from a post on Filth Wizardry and we got to work. I prepared all the materials and laid them out, including a tube from toilet paper roll. Then we looked at the picture of a TIE Fighter and my 4-year old figured out what goes where (with a bit of help). Then we hot glued it all together and I spray painted it.

    • A TIE Fighter!!! This is great, and so inspiring. Because your son had a hand in inventing and creating it, I imagine that the pride of ownership will make this a well-loved toy.

  4. Recycled Paper Tube Sculpture (this also appears on my blog: The Chocolate Muffin Tree):

    First, we cut a cardboard base from a gift box. Then I cut the tubes into different sizes. My daughter fringed some of the tubes on the ends. Then we dipped the ends of the tubes in white glue. (making sure to gently shake the tube to get the excess glue off)

    We stuck them down to the base and let them dry for a day. We attached tubes on the sides by gluing and holding them temporarily with tape until they were dry.

    The next day we removed any tape and painted the project! FUN!!!!!

      • I like Yelena’s idea. You also add painted texture like dot patterns with Q-tips; look at Oaxacan animal wood carvings with your daughter for inspiration. What does your daughter think? Is it done, or does she have other ideas for it?

        • She has been using it to put small toys in! Hiding little treasures in the tubes like plastic bugs and whatever she can find! She sees it as a play structure or castle! I’ll suggest these ideas and see what she thinks! I think she would like the Q-tip idea, but I have a feeling she will keep it as is!

    • Melissa, this project looks like so much fun! Love how colorful it turned out. Pipe cleaners – well, maybe you can punch some holes in the tubes and “weave” the pipe cleaners through them?

    • That’s awesome! The marks are so expressive.

    • I just saw this on your blog, and it’s AWESOME! And your daughter’s focus shows how engaged she is in the activity. Thanks for posting, Melissa.

  5. We’ve done a bunch of projects using cardboard tubes!
    Here is the marble run…

  6. Here is the princess castle with turrets!

  7. Here is tube stamping. I started with circles and then we made them into different shapes. I tried to get her to roll them as well, but alas she didn’t want to dirty her hands!

    • Hi Roxanne,

      Oh my goodness gracious! You’ve been busy with toilet paper roll experiments! Thank you for sharing all of these fabulous photos that are sure to inspire others. N loves her marble run toy, and we should really make our own. She would love that. TP rolls make wonderful easy-to-hold stamps for little ones, and I’m in awe of all the different shapes you were able to make. I see the box of wipes in the background there — good try on encouraging exploration of the medium in multiple ways!!


    • I’m all over that! Thanks for the link. Oh, and it’s never too late to start…

  8. Happy yo be a part of this challenge . Here is my  link : ear rings holder @ http://myhandicraftscollection.blogspot.com/2011/11/ear-rings-holder.html

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