November 5, 2012
to enjoy enhanced features like these.
Use them as they are, or cut them in rings. Leave them plain or decorate them. Any way you look at it, there are tons of thrifty ways to reuse cardboard
1. Bag Holder: Corral all those plastic grocery bags by stuffing them inside a cardboard tube, then put it in the car so you always have a trash bag handy on the road.
2. Seed Starter: Cut tubes down to size and place upright in a cardboard or plastic shoebox, then fill with potting soil and plant seeds
3. Cable Organizer: Tame your unsightly cable tangle by corralling each cord in its own cardboard tube.
4. Circular Stamp: Use one tube as a circular stamp for craft and décor projects, or bundle a group of them together with a rubber band to
create modern multi-circle designs.
5. Heart-Shaped Stamp: Pinch both ends of the tube, then push one side inward, creating a heart-shaped stamp.
6. Cord Storage: Fold unused extension cords and computer cables into tubes, then place in a small shipping box for tangle-free cord storage.
7. Twinkle Light Storage: Keep small strands of twinkle lights inside cardboard tubes or wrap longer strands around them.
8. Taper Candle Container: Use long paper towel tubes to protect taper candles from breaking while they’re stored.
9. Papier Mâché Frame: Add structure to papier mâché
projects by attaching cardboard tubes with masking tape.
10. Vacuum Wand Extender: Add a tube to the end of your vacuum cleaner wand to clean ceiling corners, fans and other hard-to-reach places.
Get help with chores by teaching kids (and asking others) to refill the toilet paper holder when it's empty, and to let you know when you're almost out so you can get more. Charmin® Ultra Strong with DuraClean™ texture cleans so well you can use less*.
*vs. the leading value brand
11. Napkin Ring: Turn cardboard tubes into stylish napkin rings.
12. Kid's Wall Art: Make an oversized pencil from a cardboard shipping tube to hang as wall art in a kid’s room.
13. Utensil Holder: Hot glue tubes to a sturdy rectangle of corrugated cardboard. Spray paint to match your kitchen décor, then mount on the wall as a handy way to hold
14. Faux Wrought Iron Art: Flatten tubes and cut into short pieces to create leaf-shaped designs. Hot glue the pieces together to make
wreaths, sunbursts and other pretty motifs.
15. Office Supply Organizer: Insert tubes into a small cardboard box and secure with tape. Use as storage for scissors, pencils and other
16. Homemade Chalk Mold: Cover tube in aluminum foil, leaving one end open. Secure foil with duct tape and use as a mold for homemade chalk.
17. Tea Light Collar: Cover slices of cardboard tube with washi tape (decorative masking tape) and put LED tea lights inside.
18. Kids Bracelet Form: Cut a cardboard tube into narrow circular strips, then cut each open. Cover with duct tape or paint to create kid-sized
19. Tea Light Lantern: Carefully punch patterns into tubes with a nail, then paint. Glue pieces of wooden skewers in an X formation in the
bottom of the tube. Tie a string from two holes in the top, insert an LED tea light and hang as a glowing lantern.
20. Mini-Basket Party Favor: Cut paper towel tubes into 1” pieces, hot glue inside a cupcake liner and attach a piece of ribbon or a pipe
cleaner as a basket handle. Fill with candy.
21. Personal Piñata: Cover one end of the tube with three layers of tissue paper and secure with glue. Cut tissue paper fringe and glue
around tube, then fill piñata with candy. Punch two holes in the
top and make a handle, then cover hole with three layers of tissue paper and secure with glue.
22. Pretend Microphone: Crumple a paper towel into a ball and wrap with another paper towel. Tape to one side of a cardboard tube to
create a pretend microphone for kids.
23. Cardboard Kazoo: For a fun playtime instrument, attach a piece of wax paper over one end of a cardboard tube with a rubber band and
hum into the open end.
24. Shoebox & Tube Guitar: Cut a circle the size of a tube in the side of a shoebox. Push the tube into the hole to create the
guitar’s neck, then stretch several rubber bands around the box to create the strings.
25. Shaker Instrument: Tape paper over one end of a tube. Pour in one teaspoon of dry rice, beans or pasta, then seal up the open end with more paper and
26. Cardboard Drum: Turn a couple of empty cardboard oatmeal canisters over, and beat on them with sturdy cardboard tubes.
27. Tubular Bells: Paint the outside of a sturdy cardboard tube a bright color, then punch a few holes near the top and attach jingle
bells with thread.
28. Cookie Packaging: Package cookies in cardboard tubes to give as hostess gifts or party favors.
29. Bird Feeder: Spread a tube with peanut butter, then roll in birdseed. Thread a ribbon through the tube and tie to a tree
for an easy bird feeder.
30. Mini-Windsock: Paint a cardboard tube, glue ribbon streamers to the bottom and hang outside for a teeny tiny windsock decoration.
How do you use empty cardboard tubes? Add your idea to the list by commenting below.
Heather Mann is chief editor of Dollar Store Crafts, and specializes in transforming inexpensive materials
into stylish and simple craft projects. She has appeared on the Martha Stewart Show and been featured in Reader’s Digest and the New York Times, and
her work has appeared on the cover of Family Fun Magazine.
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