How to Make a Rose From a Cardboard Tube | Recycled Toilet Paper Roll

Laura Dogariu
by Laura Dogariu
3 Materials
1 Hour

I love creating decor items for my home using recycled materials. I save plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, and even empty toilet paper rolls to use for craft projects. When I started to collect a lot of toilet paper rolls, I knew it was time to dream up a home decor idea to make use of some of them. Think toilet paper rolls are only for kids’ projects? Think again! These lovely toilet paper roll roses were not only free and fun to make, but they also look beautiful on display in my den. I collected toilet paper rolls and brought out my paints and that was all it took to complete the project. This is a quick craft to complete but your own DIY cardboard rose creations will last forever and never have to be thrown out!

You Will Need:

  • Empty toilet paper rolls (Two rolls per rose)
  • Scissors 
  • Circle shapes to trace (I used two different sized glasses)
  • Pencil
  • Paint
  • Wooden skewers for stems
  • Hot glue gun and glue

Step 1: Cut Toilet Paper Rolls

I collected several empty toilet paper rolls and used a pair of scissors to cut them open in the center then folded in half. You will need two rolls for each rose you want to make.

Cut Toilet Paper Rolls

Step 2: Trace Circles on Cardboard

I traced a small circle on one folded toilet paper roll and one large circle on a second unfolded flat roll for each rose I wanted to make. The folded roll will produce two cut circles in the next step and the unfolded will create one large circle.

Trace Circles on Cardboard

Step 3: Cut Circles

I used scissors to cut along the traced edge and cut out my three circles. If you are making several roses, trace and cut them all at the same time. 

Cut Circles

Step 4: Make Holes in Center of Circles

I used one end of a pair of scissors to create a small hole in the center of each cardboard circle. It only needs to be large enough for a barbeque skewer to fit through the opening.

Make Holes in Center of Circles

Step 5: Draw Petals

I used a pencil to draw lines from the center of the circle to the edges creating what looked like six equal slices of pizza. The slices become petals when they are cut in the next step.

Draw Petals

Step 6: Make Cuts in Petals

I used scissors to cut halfway down each line, being careful not to cut any petals completely off. This slight separation in the petals will allow for them to be folded and shaped.

Make Cuts in Petals

Step 7: Round Petal Edges

I used scissors to gently snip each petal cut in the previous step at the corners to round them into the shape of a rose petal.

Round Petal Edges

Step 8: Bend Petals Inward

I bent the ends of each petal inward slightly at the ends. Fold each of your petals up on the end.

Bend Petals Inward

Step 9: Insert Stick for Stem

I inserted a barbeque skewer like the kind used for kabobs into the center hole of my cardboard circles. I added a small drop of hot glue at the base in the center to keep the cardboard disc in place on the stick stem.

Insert Stick for Stem

Step 10: Glue Flower Petals Into Rose Shape

I placed a bead of hot glue in each upturned petal and folded them up more, attaching the glued surface to the stick and then to the other petals around in a circle. Once I created the inner flower body, I repeated the same process with the second cardboard circle but rather than fold the petals in tightly, I left this layer slightly more open.

Glue Flower Petals Into Rose Shape

Step 11: Add Outer Layer

I added the third, outer layer to the flower and created the flower exterior. You want this outer shell of the flower to be less tightly folded in and to create a soft look. Add dots of glue and gently bend the petals into shape.

Add Outer Layer

Step 12: Paint Roses

After I finished the construction of the rose shapes, I painted them in shades of pink, red, and yellow. I used a paintbrush to lightly coat the three roses. After letting them dry a bit, I added darker shades of the same color into the center and on the edges of the petals for a realistic look. Try to create a shadow with the darker shade of paint. The cardboard soaks up the paint but be careful not to paint too heavily and weigh the material down.

Paint Roses

Step 13: Paint Stems

I applied green paint to the skewers to make them look like the stems. After your roses have dried, place the stem over a sheet of paper and holding the flower, paint the entire stem green.

Paint Stems

Step 14: Create Leaves

I traced and cut leaves out of one of the cut pieces of an empty toilet paper roll. After cutting about four leaves per rose, I spread them flat on a sheet of paper and painted them the same green as the stems. Once the leaves dry, bend them slightly to give them the look of a natural leaf.

Create Leaves

Step 15: Attach Leaves to Roses

I used a dab of hot glue on the underside of the roses to attach my leaves. Space them naturally around the rose, using 3-4.

Attach Leaves to Roses

Step 16: Display in Vase or Pitcher

I added some fern leaves to a vase and arranged my cardboard roses around it for a beautiful, natural look. I placed them in a display on my bookshelf in the den.

Display in Vase or Pitcher

Empty toilet paper rolls are definitely NOT just for preschool art DIY projects! I created realistic, gorgeous, hand-painted roses from empty toilet paper rolls, paint, and hot glue. Even though this would be a really fun project to do with the kids, it creates a style that looks great in even the most grown-up areas of your home. Think twice before throwing out those empty toilet paper rolls; grab some paint and get busy making your own roses!

Have you used empty toilet paper rolls to make flowers or any other gorgeous home decor? Share your project ideas and get inspired by DIY creations like this one on Hometalk!

DIY home decor using recycled materials

Check out more ideas for DIY projects using paper here and discover Hometalk's best DIY toilet paper roll crafts here.

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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 4 questions
  • Tina Tina on Feb 24, 2020

    Really lovely and well done!

  • Mary Ann Mary Ann on Mar 29, 2020

    Have any ideas for small cans of coffee>

  • Bly63230321 Bly63230321 on Oct 18, 2022

    Can you use paper towel rolls instead?

Join the conversation
2 of 50 comments
  • Kay Kay on Mar 20, 2023

    I will try this! I haven’t seen it done with toilet rolls before. A friend makes them out of stiff coloured paper. I was wondering if you could paint the petals first be fore assembling them also what about glazing them afterwards or sprinkling some glitter here and there over them while the paint is still wet. Thanks for sharing a great project.

  • WyldSage WyldSage on Aug 08, 2023

    Your flowers are gorgeous! Such an amazing idea! Thank you for sharing it!