#AtoZChallenge | Reduce, reuse & recycle : toilet paper roll napkin rings

After only a few months of collecting our cardboard toilet paper and paper towel rolls, I was amazed and horrified at how many we had. It was like the classic Star Trek episode The Trouble with Tribbles. They just seemed to multiple until suddenly we were overrun.

It started out harmless enough. We wanted to make a donation to a local non-profit, Ruth’s Reusable Resources. Their mission statement reads,

“Our mission is to ensure that all students, from pre-k through high school, have the basic supplies and creative tools for literacy, STEAM, and health education through the environmentally-conscious distribution of donated business supplies.”

They have an extensive list of donations that they accept in support of their programs. There are so many ways to help this wonderful organization. As part of my support local new year’s resolution, I had researched their organization and was focused on the donation section for “Things to save from the trash and recycling bin”. I printed it out and hung it on my refrigerator so my family could get into the habit of saving these items for our donation.

Three particular items started to build up quickly:

• Packing peanuts
• Egg Cartons
• Cardboard Tubes

I established a donation space off to the side of our sofa table. I thought it was a foolproof spot to keep everything until we were ready to drop off the donation. My curious cat kept trying to get into the bag where I was collecting the cardboard tubes. I turned him away repeatedly which was a mistake. My cat is the grittiest of the gritty. If you tell him no, he is relentless until he gets his way. Two days after admonishing him, my husband texted me this picture.

Rossi wins again.

Fortunately, it seemed to get the interest out of his system and after this picture was taken he had moved onto new ways to wreak havoc.

Before dropping off our donation stash, I wanted to do a mini craft with the cardboard tubes. They’re such a versatile craft supply. For one of my daughter’s birthday parties many years ago, we had a Scooby Doo themed party and for an activity the kids made Scooby Doo from toilet paper rolls. It was easy for little hands to do. Between that and the phantom stealing all the presents, it was a successful party.

For my mini craft, I opted for something a little more grown up. I decided to make napkin rings. Since I don’t use napkin rings every day, I made festive ones that I could use during the holidays. At this point, Christmas is really the only time we set a formal table.


Below are the instructions for making my toilet roll napkin rings:

Step 1)

Cut the paper towel tubes in the width that you want for the napkin rings. I went with 1 ½”. You want to cut them so that the circle remains intact.

Step 2)

I wanted to be sure my napkin rings were extra sturdy so I cut a second set of rings the same width as the first. I cut these length wise so I could slip them over the original tubes and glued the second layer to the first.

Step 3)

I cut strips of material that would cover the diameter of the napkin rings leaving extra material to fold under on both the top and bottom.

Step 4)

I’ve seen this craft done with a glue gun, but I didn’t want to have the hot glue leave any dimension so I opted to use regular white glue. I glued the material in a seam and then glued the top and bottom into the tube covering the exposed part of the ring in my material.

Step 5)

I keep anything that could potentially be used as a craft supply. I had some gold ribbon from a box of holiday chocolates that matched my napkin rings perfectly. I glued them ribbon around the napkin ring where the gap in the second layer of cardboard was to cover the seam.

Step 6)

I glued on a button accent as a final touch.

Step 7)

There was so much material folded under that I was concerned the rough edge might make using them more challenging. I ended up added 2-3 layers of mod podge to the inside of the napkin rings so the napkins wouldn’t catch on any stray material.

Once done, I stored my new napkin rings  with my holiday linens. It will be a fun surprise when I pull them out for Christmas next year. By that time, I’ll probably have forgotten that I even made them.

Have you ever made any crafts using toilet paper rolls?

I’m participating in a Blogging A-Z Challenge for April 2021. I will be posting new content every day this month except most Sundays. Each post is associated with a letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. My theme for the challenge is Craft Projects for my Home. To read more of my A to Z posts from this year, click HERE.

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33 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge | Reduce, reuse & recycle : toilet paper roll napkin rings

  1. Deborah Weber says:

    The photo of your cat surveying his handiwork is hilarious. How great you have/had a place to recycle those peanuts. The Scooby Doos were a clever idea – and no doubt a hit. And I love that you’ve store your napkin rings away, and will likely be surprised when you pull them out. That’s always a treat. I’ve used rolls as forms when doing peyote stitch beading to make amulet bags.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 15andmeowing says:

    Those came out great. I made hanging bats with my great niece last year. You paint the tp roll, add pipe cleaners for hanging them upside down and add wings.


  3. Lisa says:

    I remember making them into animals etc. with my kids! Now I cut them into sections and use them for seed starting, the little cells in the purchased seed starting kits are too small. They then rot away after planting. The longer paper towel ones can be made into rain sticks, a great craft to add to studies of the rain forest.


  4. Trudy says:

    Rascally kitty! hahaha!

    The napkin rings turned out so cute! I like what you said about probably forgetting you made them and they will seem like a surprise when you get out the decorations. 😄


  5. mollyscanopy says:

    Love the napkin rings! I made a cell-phone stand early on using a paper covered toilet paper roll. Happy to say it has survived and is still in use! One other development in my neighborhood is a volunteer composting operation that popped up during the pandemic. A big relief, because NYC ceased its organics collection a year ago, and I am dedicated to continuing to compost. https://mollyscanopy.com/2021/04/rock-n-roll-djs-my-brief-crush-on-jack-rose/


    • Weekends in Maine says:

      That is awesome that your cell phone stand is still in use. I’m hoping my napkin rings have a long life too.

      I’m glad you were able to find a good composting option. We have some local companies that provide compost bins for a reasonable fee. I want to give that a try this year.

      Liked by 1 person

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