A colourfully painted and decorated toilet paper roll desk caddy holding pens, pencils, highlighters, etc.


How To Make A Toilet Paper Roll Desk Caddy

Jan 15, 2021

If your kids are craving some craft time, but you’re running low on supplies, this toilet paper roll desk caddy is the perfect project for all ages.

Not only is it a fun and creative craft made with a few items from your recycling bin, it’s fitting for the times as well, as it’s a great way for kids to organize their work station when learning online from home.

This caddy can hold all the essentials (pens, pencils, ruler, earbuds, etc.) and it’s portable, which is especially handy if your child works at the kitchen table and needs to clear the space at the end of their online school day.

To make this caddy, all you need are a few cardboard rolls and the front or back panel of a cereal box. And to keep the supply list to a minimum, we’ve simply used paint to decorate our caddy. If your craft cupboards are well-stocked though, your kids can get even more creative. For example, they can cover their cardboard pieces with patterned scrapbooking paper or wallpaper samples, or wrap the cardboard rolls in yarn like we did here. They can also embellish their caddy with stickers, sequins or craft gems, if you have them.

However your kids choose to decorate their caddy, the result will be a custom-decorated, portable catch-all for keeping their most-used school supplies close at hand.

What you'll need to make a toilet paper roll caddy

What You'll Need:

  • several toilet paper or paper towel rolls
  • front or back panel from a cereal box
  • paint (we used acrylic craft paint)
  • acrylic craft varnish (optional)
  • paint brushes
  • low-heat glue gun
  • pencil
  • scissors

These yarn-wrapped initials are easy to make, and a fun piece of art for kids to display.

How It's Made:

Start by having your kids assess the supplies they’ll want to store in their caddy. This will help to determine how tall or short to cut the cardboard rolls. For tall items like scissors and rulers, you may need to use a paper towel roll. For very small items like paper clips, ear buds and pencil sharpeners, cut the rolls short enough that the items will be easy to see and access.

Cut the cardboard rolls to the desired size. If you want the tops of your cardboard rolls to have a scalloped or wavy edge, you can cut that now, or do it after you’ve painted them, but before varnishing.

Next, paint the cardboard rolls inside and out with a couple of coats of paint.

Painting the cardboard rolls in bright colours

 Allow to dry, and add details and designs in a contrasting colour. Once dry, you can brush on a coat of clear craft varnish to add some shine and to make your paint colours really pop.

decorating the cardboard rolls


When your varnish is dry, group the toilet rolls together, playing with the placement of them until you come up with an arrangement you like. Using a low-heat glue gun, glue the toilet rolls together.

Gluing the painted and decorated rolls together in their arrangement

Next, you’ll need to make a base for your caddy to prevent your supplies from falling out through the bottom when you lift it up.

Place the panel of the cereal box on a flat surface with the plain side facing up. Set your cardboard roll arrangement on top of it. With a pencil, trace around the arrangement, adding an extra 1/2 inch or so to the shape.

tracing the base around the roll arrangement on the plain side of the cut cereal box

Cut this piece out, paint and varnish it and allow to dry.

To attach the cardboard rolls to the base, squeeze some hot glue along the bottom of the toilet paper roll arrangement, and press it into place on the base.

the rolls glued to the cut-out and painted base

Now the caddy is ready to fill up with all the supplies your littles need to keep close at hand during the day — and you can enjoy a more organized work space.

Article Author Jackie Currie
Jackie Currie

Read more from Jackie here.

Jackie Currie is a mother, daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind the blog Happy Hooligans. A self-proclaimed glitterphobe, she specializes in easy, affordable arts & crafts and good, old-fashioned play.

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