• Shawna Rundstrom

When Life Gives You Lemons

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

by Diane Cretin, Operations Coordinator

In these days of sheltering in place, one of the biggest surprises to me has been the hoarding of toilet paper. I don't really understand why people feel compelled to hoard. I decided I did not want to have such a negative mindset when I thought about toilet paper, so I began keeping the toilet paper rolls. Doing that made me happy about being more environmentally friendly as well as thinking of the fun we could experience making crafts with them. It also made me think of the phrase, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade".

You can google "crafts using toilet paper rolls" and get a seemingly endless variety of suggestions. I picked some favorites after consulting with my 8 year old granddaughter Olivia and thinking of various age groups and genders (although I believe any gender can make any of these).

You can customize these ideas to fit your own preferences and the available resources in your home. You can paint the toilet paper rolls, cover them with construction paper or fabric or even wrapping paper. However, you can also simply use markers or crayons; just be careful not to crush the rolls.

We have a craft cupboard in our house that we raided. I suggest you scour your home for options and think outside the box. Don't forget buttons if you want to make the dwarfs. I think you will be amazed at what you have available to use.

You can use a glue stick or tape to attach paper around your toilet paper rolls if you decide to go that route. We did both - we glued paper on the pencil holders and bangles, then taped the overlap or ends, depending on the project.


There are so many options to use when making owls. We found it easier to fold over the top for the head if we made 2 small slits across from each other (it ends up being where the ears are). For some of the owls, we cut out eye shapes and noses from white paper, then used marker to draw the eyes and color the nose. The owls were colored with markers or colored pens. Pictured below are owls from online, followed by our creations. Olivia wants a family of owls to reflect our family, so we have

more to make.

Bangle bracelets

Cut your toilet paper roll as pictured below. Then glue one half inside the other for added stability. On the first bangle, we glued colored paper on, then added foam shapes we had on hand. It can be helpful to make your length a little longer than the length of the bracelet. This lets you wrap the paper around the end to the inside so you can tape it down. This helps your decorated layer not come unglued. The second bangle shows what you can do if you only have white paper and crayons, colored pencils, or markers to use. Olivia's best friend likes the color pink and unicorns. You can also do things like draw the batman symbol on the bangle (bat in black surrounded by yellow inside an oval), then color the rest black.

Desk organizer

Olivia looked at this picture and decided she needed her supplies organized for homeschooling.

Hers is the following pictures. She covered the bottom ends of the toilet paper rolls with aluminum

foil. The container was left from a veggie start for our garden.

Well known characters

There are many well known characters you can make with toilet paper rolls. We love the seven dwarfs. For these, the color of the clothes should have a high contrast to overpower the natural color of the roll. Other fun choices are Minions, Batman and Robin, Star Wars figures, and ninjas as well as a hula girl and mermaid.

The minions are loved by nearly everyone. Color them yellow and then draw the smile. Add artificial eyes and cut out the clothes from a colored paper or color white paper with crayons or markers. They have blue colored clothes and yellow-colored body so try to stick to this. The hair can be made by coloring paper or cardboard with a black marker or crayon.

Spiral snakes

An easy project for younger children is making spiral snakes. You can cut the toilet paper roll in the spiral form. Paint it, color it, or leave it at its natural color. Then add the eyes.


This is a project that we have decided to do as an ongoing summer project since we need to save more toilet paper rolls. We want to make an enclosed castle. We plan to use some paper towel rolls to make some of the taller towers. And if you don't like castles, you can build a mini village.

Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy some quality family time using up your toilet paper rolls. Continued blessings to you and yours.

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