It is a commonly known fact that everyone poops. And with the global pandemic we find ourselves in, it seems that everyone has an extraordinary amount of toilet paper at home. So of course, you knew this was coming. In these times of resourcefulness and being a total homebody, it was only a matter of time before you started considering what you could do with the excessive toilet paper rolls you have collecting in your home. (Or perhaps you didn’t think that at all, and now it’s all you’re thinking about.) Well, I am here to help you out, because I have a list of creative and practical ways that those fantastic cardboard tubes can be used in a plethora of ways.
First, let’s talk about why I am asking you to play with toilet paper rolls. As a Visual Arts teacher for 20+ years, it is my number one goal to challenge people to think both creatively and critically. Developing both of those thinking skills leads to strong problem solving skills, the ability to be open minded, the ability to assess and interpret and make judgment calls confidently. These are LIFE SKILLS, my friends; important skills that will help you navigate this strange world we live in. Yup. All of that just by playing with a cardboard toilet paper roll. So let’s get started!
Let’s start by using a TOILET PAPER tube as a tool for creating
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1. The tube itself is perfect for printing circles. Simply dip the end of the tube into paint, and press it onto paper or material.
2. You can alter the shape of the tube to print different shapes. Simply squeeze the ends of the tube to create a leaf shape. What other shapes can you make just be squeezing the tube?
3. You can also cut fringes on the ends of the cardboard tubes. Then simply fold them back so that they spread out, dip them in paint and then print them onto paper, making sure to rotate your wrist while printing.
See what happens when you make short fringe. Then see what happens when you make long fringe. How can you use this technique artistically? (Think of flowers or fireworks!)
But Wait a Minute!
WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE PAINT AT HOME? Many natural things can be used to create colour. I have painted with beet juice, mashed blueberry juice, and raspberry juice, as a quick example. You can even make a paint like paste by mixing flour and water together, or flour and white glue. You can add different drink powders in for colour, and get really experimental and start painting with some foods directly, like ketchup or mustard!
But let’s get back to talking about toilet paper rolls.
PRACTICAL USE FOR TOILET PAPER ROLLS
Perhaps you are not into painting or dipping cardboard in ketchup. There are practical ways to use cardboard toilet paper rolls as well. You will want to head over to my freebie resource library and check out the great toilet paper roll trick that I have been using for years. A toilet paper roll is a cylinder, and if you look around your house, you’ll notice many things are put into cylinders.
4. If a tube is held vertically, it can hold items such as pencils, or make up brushes.
5. It can have items slide through it, like materials, or ropes and cords.
6. It can be used on its side, with slits cut out of it for inserting things such as an iphone or photos.
Your challenge will be to make it sturdy and durable for whatever it’s use is going to be. That’s where your resourcefulness will come in. What can be put on the outside of the tube to make it more durable and still hold its shape? Think of the durability and waterproof duct tape. Or maybe you want to take it as far as using plaster or paper mache.
How are you going to keep your pencils or iphone from toppling over if you use a cardboard tube as a holder? What kind of weight or base can you use that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing?
These are all poignant questions that will have you really working on finishing that roll of toilet paper so that you can ponder the possibilities with this nugget of practical gold.
CREATIVE USE FOR TOILET PAPER ROLLS
Now let’s get into some creative magic and see how we can transform the lowly, quickly forgotten cardboard tube into something worth proudly displaying in your home!
7. As we all know, as soon as you add googly eyes to anything, you’ve got a face, right? So the big question is, what else can you add to a cardboard tube, besides eyes to transform this tube into a fantastic character?
Here are some what if’s:
What if you added more eyes? What if you added wings? How about a snout? A tail? A funny hair style? 2 legs, 4 legs or a 1000 legs???
Is your character sitting? Standing? Flying? Sliding? Floating?
8. What if this was not a person or animal or mythical creature? Instead, what if it was a place? What kind of dwelling could it be? Who would live in here? What would the door look like and the windows?
What can go on top of this tube? What can go below or beside it? I WANT TO MAKE A WHOLE LADY BUG VILLAGE WITH TOILET PAPER TUBES!!! AHHHHHH!
Ok, maybe you are thinking I am getting carried away here….toilet paper rolls as home décor? Now hear me out. Toilet paper rolls are simply cardboard cylinders. Remember? Cardboard is used in a variety of ways around your home, and this is no exception, so let’s take the tube out of the bathroom and put it in the livingroom instead.
What if you decide to change the tube into another shape? How can you fold it? Cut it? Bend it? Squish it? Remember those ring and leave shapes I talked about at the start of this blog? 8. What if a bunch of them were attached together to create wall art? What if you created a large 3D wall mural with real branches and spray painted toilet paper tube leaves?
What if you cut a bunch of rings and glued them together as a wreath? What could you put inside the rings to make it even more festive? Pinecones? Christmas bulbs?
THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS
Truly. They really, really are. Depending on what you have at your disposal, you can use toilet paper tubes in a variety of creative and practical ways. We have been quickly dropped into a world of having to be even more resourceful than we may have already been, and using literally every item that comes into our homes is not only a fun way to pass the time, it’s also a way of expanding your already awesome thinking skills.
Don’t forget to head over the the resource library to see how I usually use toilet paper rolls!
Please share your creations with me, and I’ll be sure to post them to my Facebook page at The Clever Corvid’s Art and Art Workshops with Rhonda Beckman.