20 Incredible Uses for Cardboard Tubes (2023)

Take a look at how handy cardboard tubes are. You'll never believe how many uses they have!

Most of us tend to throw out cardboard tubes. But it doesn’t mean there isn’t any use for it. From making kindling logs to using it as plant guards, there’s actually a lot you can do with cardboard tubes. Here are 20 really fun alternatives to throwing it out. Make sure you also check out these extraordinary uses for household staples you never knew before.

Make a fly and pest strip

Get rid of pesky flies and mosquitoes with a homemade pest strip. Just cover an empty paper towel or toilet paper roll with transparent tape, sticky side out, and hang where needed.

Use as kindling and logs

Turn toilet paper and paper towel tubes into kindling and logs for your fireplace. For fire starter, use scissors to cut the cardboard into 1/8-inch (3-millimeter) strips. Keep the strips in a bin near the fireplace so they’ll be handy to use next time you make a fire. To make logs, tape over one end of the tube and pack shredded newspaper inside. Then tape the other end. The tighter you pack the newspaper, the longer your log will burn.

Make boot trees

To keep the tops of long, flexible boots from flopping over and developing ugly creases in the closet, insert cardboard mailing tubes into it to help it hold its shape.

Protect important documents

Before storing diplomas, marriage certificates, and other important documents in your cedar chest, roll them tightly and insert them in paper towel tubes. This prevents creases and keeps the documents clean and dry.

Preserve kids’ artwork

You want to save some of your kids’ precious artwork for posterity (or you don’t want it to clutter up the house). Simply roll up the artwork and place it inside a paper towel tube. Label the outside with the child’s name and date. The tubes are easy to store, and you can safely preserve the work of your budding young artists. Use this method to hold and store your documents, such as certificates and licenses, too.

Make a plant guard

20 Incredible Uses for Cardboard Tubes (1)Getty Images, rd.comIt’s easy to accidentally scar the trunk of a young tree when you are whacking weeds around it. To avoid doing this, cut a cardboard mailing tube in half lengthwise and tie the two halves around the trunk while you work around the tree. Then slip it off and use it on another tree.

Start seedlings

Don’t go to the garden supply store to buy biodegradable starting pots for seedlings. Just use the cardboard tubes from paper towels and toilet paper. Use scissors to cut each toilet paper tube into two pots, or each paper towel tube into four. Fill a tray with the cut cylinders packed against each other so it won’t tip when you water the seedlings. This will also prevent it from drying out too quickly. Now fill each pot with seed-starting mix, gently pack it down, and sow your seeds. When you plant the seedlings, make sure to break down the side of the roll and make sure all the cardboard is completely buried.

Store knitting needles

To keep your knitting needles from bending and breaking, try this: Use a long cardboard tube from kitchen foil or plastic wrap. Cover one end with cellophane tape. Pinch the other end closed and secure it tightly with tape. Slide the needles in through the tape on the taped end. The tape will hold it in place for secure, organized storage.

Store fabric scraps

Roll up leftover fabric scraps tightly and insert it inside a cardboard tube from your bathroom or kitchen. For easy identification, tape, or staple a sample of the fabric to the outside of the tube.

Store string

Nothing is more useless and frustrating than tangled string. To keep your string ready to use, cut a notch into each end of a toilet paper tube. Secure one end of the string in one notch, wrap the string tightly around the tube, and then secure the other end in the other notch.

Keep linens crease-free

Wrap tablecloths and napkins around cardboard tubes after laundering to avoid the creases it would get if it was folded. Use long tubes for tablecloths and paper towel or toilet paper tubes for napkins. To guard against stains, cover the tubes with plastic wrap first.

Make a DIY speaker

20 Incredible Uses for Cardboard Tubes (2)Getty Images, rd.comYes, you read that right. No need to pay for a brand new speaker as you can easily make one out of an empty Pringles can. Just follow the instructions on Sandy Toes & Popsicles, then sit back and enjoy!

Keep pants crease-free

You go to your closet for that good pair of pants you haven’t worn in a while, only to find an ugly crease at the fold site from the hanger rack. It won’t happen again if you cut a paper towel tube lengthwise, fold it in half horizontally, and place it over the rack before you hang up your pants. Before hanging pants, tape the sides of the cardboard together at the bottom to keep it from slipping.

Keep Christmas lights tidy

Spending more time untangling your Christmas lights than it takes to put it up? Make yuletide prep easier by wrapping your lights around a cardboard tube. Secure it with masking tape. Put small strands of lights or garlands inside cardboard tubes, and seal the ends of the tubes with masking tape.

Protect fluorescent lights

Keep fluorescent light tubes from breaking before you use it. It’ll fit neatly into long cardboard tubes sealed with tape at one end.

Make a kazoo

Got a bunch of bored kids driving you crazy on a rainy day? Cut three small holes in the middle of a paper towel tube. Then cover one end of the tube with wax paper secured with a strong rubber band. Now hum into the other end, while using your fingers to plug one, two, or all three holes to vary the pitch. Make one for each kid. It may still drive you crazy, but they’ll have a ball doing it!

Make a hamster toy

Place a couple of paper towel or toilet paper tubes in the hamster (or gerbil) cage. The little critters will love running and walking through them, and they like chewing on the cardboard too. When the tubes start looking ragged, just replace them with fresh ones.

Make a cord organizer

20 Incredible Uses for Cardboard Tubes (3)Getty Images, rd.comAre your cords always tangled no matter how hard you try? A couple of cardboard tubes can help solve that problem. Follow the tutorial on Our Thrifty Ideas to create these fun and colorful cardboard tube organizers. Next, check out the clever ways to use Q- tips.

Preserve kids’ artwork

You want to save some of your kids’ precious artwork for posterity (or you don’t want it to clutter up the house). Simply roll up the artwork and place it inside a paper towel tube. Label the outside with the child’s name and date. The tubes are easy to store, and you can safely preserve the work of your budding young artists. Use this method to hold and store your documents, such as certificates and licenses, too.

Make English crackers

Keep the spirit of holiday firecrackers but cut out the dangers associated with burning explosives. Use toilet paper tubes to make English crackers, which “explode” into tiny gifts. For each cracker, tie a string about 8 inches (20 centimeters) long around a small gift such as candy, a balloon, or a figurine. After tying, the string should have about 6 inches (15 centimeters) to spare. Place the gift into the tube so the string dangles out one end. Cover the tube with bright-colored crepe paper or tissue and twist the ends. When you pull the string, out pops the gift.

Make a toilet roll dinosaur

If you have young children, they will definitely love this activity by The Craft Train. You also probably already have all the materials you need inside your home, so no shopping trip necessary. All you have to do is enjoy this time you’re spending as a family.

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20 Incredible Uses for Cardboard Tubes? ›

Paper tubes, also known as cardboard tubes, are cylinder-shaped components that are made with cardboard. Paper tubes can be used for a wide range of functions.

What are cardboard tubes called? ›

Paper tubes, also known as cardboard tubes, are cylinder-shaped components that are made with cardboard. Paper tubes can be used for a wide range of functions.

What do toilet magnets do? ›

Drop magnets (housed in clear plastic) into the tank of your toilet and walk away. The long-lasting magnets prevent natural minerals that exist in all water from staining your toilet bowl and building up on any metal parts of the toilet. Lime and minerals flush right down the drain.

Can I sell toilet roll tubes? ›

In fact, toilet roll tubes are some of the best things to recycle for cash. All you have to do is take a quick photo, post the listing on eBay and take them to the Post Office when they sell. Simple as that!

What can I do with cardboard vinyl rolls? ›

12 Practical Ways To Reuse Cardboard Tubes
  1. Organize Your Office Supplies. ...
  2. Keep Pants Crease-Free. ...
  3. Secure Wrapping Paper. ...
  4. Store Cloth Napkins. ...
  5. Make A Handy Firestarter. ...
  6. Organize Cables & Cords. ...
  7. Make A Bird Feeder. ...
  8. Store Plastic Grocery Bags.

What are large cardboard tubes called? ›

Sonotubes. These are heavy-duty cardboard tubes that are used to make concrete pillars. Therefore, it is most commonly used by contractors and construction businesses. Kraft tubes. These are called so because they are made from high-quality kraft paper.

Are cardboard tubes waterproof? ›

Can cardboard really be waterproof? Whilst cardboard cannot ever be completely waterproof, Liquiguard coating allows for treated surfaces to become highly water resistant.

What is the best tool for cutting cardboard tubes? ›

The bandsaw is the tool of choice, but a table saw works fine. A coarse blade is better than fine. If the tube is a structural one and convolute wound from Cubicon or Contour's or Shapes Unlimited, it will cut fairly clean but there will be some fuzz.

How many times can paper be downcycled? ›

Paper can only be recycled about five to seven times before its fibers become unusable. Most plastics can only be recycled once, so they are generally downcycled into unrecyclable products.

How does a stealth toilet work? ›

The Stealth Dual Flush has primary and secondary chambers for either a full or half flush. When the “half” flush button is pressed, only the primary chamber is used, releasing 0.5 gallons of water to handle liquid waste. A “full” flush utilizes both chambers for additional power to accommodate solid waste.

What is the purpose of two buttons on a toilet do? ›

A dual flush button features two buttons that can flush different amounts of water. The main purpose of a dual flush button is to save water. The dual flush button allows the user to control the waste water. The smaller button (half flush) delivers a smaller volume of water than the larger button (full flush).

How much is a piece of toilet paper worth? ›

“After looking at hundreds of data points, I came to the conclusion that the deal price for quality toilet paper is 0.253¢ per sheet,” Ly says.

Why is toilet roll so expensive? ›

Why Is the Price of Toilet Paper So High? A slowing of the U.S. housing market is putting a squeeze on lumber prices and extending to other tree byproducts, namely wood pulp, which is used in the manufacture of toilet paper, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Will one piece of kitchen roll block a toilet? ›

Kitchen roll will not break down in pipes the same way toilet paper does. Instead, it can combine with fats and grease to cause 'fatbergs' - major blockages which are incredibly difficult to get rid of.

What is the cardboard of vinyl called? ›

A record sleeve is the outer covering of a vinyl record. Alternative terms are dust sleeve, album liner and liner. The term is also used to denominate the outermost cardboard covering of a record, i.e. the record jacket or album jacket.

Do vinyl stickers stick to cardboard? ›

Burnish really well with a scraper tool, then pull the transfer tape from the vinyl backing to remove your labels. Apply the transfer tape onto your cardboard surface and remove as usual. Now the cardboard won't pull off, and your labels still stick.

What is museum cardboard? ›

High quality solid archival board,with alkaline reserve. It can be used for the purpose of exhibition, as a photograph or graphic art display board, etc.

What are cardboard cores used for? ›

Cardboard cores (spools, sleeves, tubes) are traditionally used for winding various roll materials and as cylindrical containers for packaging loose food and non-food products. Paper cores of spiral winding of any size and color.

What are those squeeze tubes called? ›

Polyethylene Tubes (PE) or Plastic Tubes

These types of mono-layer or multi-layer tubes are suitable for everyday skin care products, or products with short shelf life, such as cleansers, creams, shampoos, lotions, and conditioners.

How do you make cardboard tubes stronger? ›

Use a strong wrap

One better option would be to use epoxy resin which is known for strengthening surfaces. Coating the cardboard tube with resin can essentially develop a hard case shell for the tube, allowing it to be further protected from any potential damage.

Can you wet cardboard to shape it? ›

Wet cardboard can be molded into subtle shapes using a damp cloth and dried in sunlight.

How do you harden cardboard tubes? ›

  1. Mix one part PVA glue with one part water. ...
  2. Apply the mixture to the cardboard surface. ...
  3. Apply a second coat of the PVA mixture. ...
  4. Mix up two parts PVA glue and one part water.
  5. Apply a third coat using the more concentrated PVA glue mixture. ...
  6. Create another mixture of one part PVA glue and one part water.

What can I spray on cardboard to make it waterproof? ›

You can use polyurethane coating, or clear acrylic paint or lacquer spray sealer spray to form cardboard waterproof. These protective coatings are themselves harmless but must always be tired a well-ventilated space.

Does wet cardboard get moldy? ›

Wet cellulose materials, including paper and paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood, and wood products, are particularly conducive for the growth of some molds. Other materials such as dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation materials, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery, commonly support mold growth.

What is waxed cardboard? ›

What is waxed cardboard? Waxed cardboard is corrugated (multi-layered) cardboard that is lined with polyethylene to prevent it from getting soggy. This material is designed to be refrigerated or frozen. If you can see or feel waxy residue when you scrape a box with your fingernail, it is waxed.

What is the sharp thing to cut cardboard? ›

Utility knives and hobby knives are best, as they have very sharp, replaceable blades. Cardboard dulls edges quickly! Other knives that work well are contractor's knives, for thicker cardboard and scalpels for curves and more intricate work. Both of these types also use disposable blades.

Can a Dremel cut cardboard? ›

With two cutting edges, the Dremel Multi-Knife is designed to easily cut flexible material when being pushed or pulled, the Multi-Knife makes quick cuts in a variety of materials such as:Cardboard, Plastic, Foam Insulation and Carpet.

What metal is infinitely recyclable? ›

Steel and aluminium are infinitely recyclable, without any degradation in quality. They are also versatile.

What material can be recycled an infinite number of times? ›

Glass: Infinite

Glass, like metal, can be recycled an unlimited number of times. Also, it is more cost-effective to reuse and recycle glass than to create from scratch, The only thing you have to watch out for is the type of glass.

Why can paper only be recycled 7 times? ›

The higher the quality of the paper, the more paper you can make using its recycled fibers. But paper can only be recycled up to seven times before the fibers become too weak and too short to make another product.

How do you cut a flex tube? ›

CHOP SAW: For best results, use a 1/16" wide blade. Make sure the Flex Pipe has the open side facing to the right. Align and secure pipe so the cut guide lines up with the Chop Saw blade, and cut.

How do you glue cardboard tubes together? ›

Pull the coupler out of the tube and put some white glue on the back of the strip you cut off the edge of the coupler. Glue it inside over the butt-splice where the two edges of the coupler butt against each other for reinforcement. Works like a champ...

What can I do with small plastic tubes? ›

10 Simple and Creative Ways to Reuse Plastic Tubes
Apr 10, 2020

What glue holds cardboard together? ›

So the best types of glue for gluing Cardboard is either PVA Glue or Contact Cement. Both of these glues are very strong and perfect for permanently bonding any type of Cardboard.

What is the best adhesive for sticking two pieces of cardboard together? ›

Hot melt glue is one of the best ways to join cardboard. It is fast to cure, strong, and can fill in gaps in uneven surfaces.

Will hot glue hold cardboard together? ›

Hot Glue: By far my favorite way to glue cardboard, Hot Glue will stick to almost anything and can be used almost anywhere. It is best used to glue large pieces together permanently, but is terrible for use with paint. Hot glue is also good for filling gaps.

What can I do with old Tupperware lids? ›

Plastic food storage containers and lids-such as Tupperware containers-that have the 1 or 2 recycling symbol on the bottom are accepted in almost all local recycling programs, provided they are empty, clean and dry. Recycle with the lid attached. Most recycling programs also accept #5 plastics.

What can I do with old storage bins? ›

Take them to local charity shops.

If your plastic storage containers are still in good condition and you don't have any use for them, you could take them down to your local charity shop. These stores could sell them on or perhaps even keep them for their own use.

What can you do with empty canisters? ›

One of the best uses for empty chemical containers is to reuse whenever it is possible or appropriate. Old containers can be used for water storage collection or to dispose of spill residue. These containers should not be used for any radioactive waste storage or disposal.


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