Paperboard Tube Crafts for Summer

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  Transform your paperboard tubes into fun toys like binoculars, animals, crowns, or superhero bracelets. 

Transform your paperboard tubes into fun toys like binoculars, animals, crowns, or superhero bracelets. 

This summer rescue the paperboard tubes from your recycling bin and transform them into toys, animals, action figures, and even crowns worthy of royalty. Here are several crafts you can make starting with a single tube, scissors, and art supplies you probably already have on hand. Who knew that the humble paperboard tube found snuggled in the middle of rolls of toilet paper and paper towel rolls could ignite such creativity!


• Princess Crowns: Ready to pretend you’re a royal for the day? Gather a tube for each member of your royal family, a pencil, scissors, paints or markers, a hole-punch, and ribbon or another type of string.


Decide which end of the tube will be the top. Using the pencil sketch out where the pointed triangles of the crown will be. Or, cut out the triangle shapes free hand for uneven points that will add a bit of whimsy to your crown. Decorate the outside the crown using paints, markers, or even gluing on gold scraps of tissue paper. Let the paints and glue dry thoroughly.


Use a hole-punch to make two holes towards the bottom of the crown. One should be on the far left, and the other on the far right, directly opposite of the first. Tie some ribbon to each end. Crown your Royals by placing the crown and tying the ribbon so that the crown fits like a little party hat.


• Personalized Action Figure: Since the paperboard tubes can stand up on their own, they make an ideal base for a custom, personalized action figure. You’ll need a tube, scrap paper, and pictures clearly showing the head of a friend or family member. Cut out the heads of the people you want to make an action figure of. Use scrap paper to make clothing or draw funny bodies, then glue those onto the tubes. 


Attach the head towards the top end of the tube, and get ready for some fun. These action figures could be used as markers for a board game, or star in a play.


• Animals with Pointy Ears: Lots of animals have pointy ears: cats, dogs, foxes, owls, and other birds. Transform a tube into an animal to accompany your action figure. An easy way to get pointy ears without gluing on anything is to fold down the top edges of the tube.


Hold the tube gently in one hand. Then, using two or three finger press down on the top edge of the roll pushing it down, towards the middle. Turn the tube and press down on the other side. Next draw and paint faces, fur, or glue on tails and eyes for your very own toy.


• Bird Watcher Binoculars: Make a pair of binoculars for kids using two paperboard tubes, glue, paint, and ribbon. If you have a tube from a paper towel roll use a bread knife to gently saw it in half without crushing the tube. First, paint the tubes and set them aside to dry or wrap them with washi tape.


Next place the tubes flat on the table and line them up so that both the top end and bottom ends are next to each other. Glue or tape the tubes together in the middle where they’re touching. Set them aside to dry if using glue. Clasping the ends with a clothes pin can help keep the tubes together as they dry.


Decorate the outside with stickers, tape, or more paint. When you’re done you can start using the binoculars or attach a ribbon to each end that will be the lanyard to hang the binoculars around the neck.


• Superhero Bracelet: This paperboard tube bracelet can be jewelry accessory or a superhero’s secret weapon – it depends on how you decorate it. You’ll need one or two paperboard tubes depending on the size of the bracelet you want to make. Cut the tube vertically from one end to the other to make a cuff. The curved shape of the tube will fit snugly around the wrist. If the tube is too long or not fitting well trim to size before decorating.


For a superhero look, you need to make two matching bracelets, one for each arm. Jewelry accessories can be more versatile with each one having a different color scheme. Decorate the outside of the paperboard with markers, stickers, press on jewels, tissue paper, or glitter. For a Wonder Woman theme color or paint the tubes yellow then cover with gold glitter. Add a red star to each one using construction paper and red glitter.


If the paperboard tubes are not wide enough, especially for teens or adults, add a ribbon to each end of the bracelet. The ribbon can be tied together for a secure fit.