Use This Throwaway Bathroom Item to Grow Your Seeds
Any house that has a lot of girls has an excess of toilet paper rolls. I always start collecting them in January so I will have a bunch on hand.
I use them to make toilet paper seed pots and get a head start on my planting season and any remaining extras It use for various projects, time permitting. It couldn’t be easier.
Make Your Seed Pots
All you need to begin is
-// A (generous) collection of toilet paper rolls,
-// Light potting soil,
-// Seed and a
-// Waterproof container
- Cut the toilet paper roll in half
- Make four cuts in the roll, 1/3 of the way up
- Fold the cut area on the bottom like you would close a box (secure the bottom with some string if it refuses to stay in place)
- Fill your new seed pots with a light potting soil, pack it down with your thumbs – it’s that simple
- Next Add Your Choice of Seed, Planting Them to Their Proper Depth, according to seed packet instructions.
- Wait for a few weeks before you can transplant the seedling into the garden. To prevent shocking your seedlings grown indoors, harden them off. You’ll need to place the toilet paper roll planters in semi-shade outdoors for a few hours the first days and grow the exposure to the elements gradually over the first week. Don’t keep the seedlings in drafts or when temperatures get too low. Also, bring them back inside overnight.
- When the young plants have hardened off, transplant them into your garden by placing the seed pots directly into the ground. Make sure that no part of the toilet paper rolls is left outside the soil. or else it would needlessly draw moisture from the seedlings’ nascent root system.
After Planting the Seeds…
place the planted pots in a watertight container and give them a good watering. You want to completely soak the paper roll and keep it wet the whole time you are growing. Go lightly with the water though, you do not want them to sit in water, just to be wet. If the paper roll dries out, it will wick water from the soil.
Place your container in a plastic bag or cover it with a clear plastic wrap. You can also recycle used clam-shell containers from takeout. The purpose of the cover is to create a small greenhouse, trapping in the moisture, until the seeds sprout.
Keep an eye on your seedlings and spritz with water if it becomes necessary. You probably won’t need to though, the greenhouse you’ve set up should trap the moisture inside.
Take off the plastic once your seeds have all sprouted and reach the top cover. They will need air circulation, otherwise the toilet paper seed pots may mold. Place your seed tray in a south facing window so they will get sun.
You may also consider making your own grow light area. I have a nice sunny window and don’t find that necessary for seedling success. If you need to give your seedling extra light, here’a an economical alternative from Amazon – Philips Agro Plant Light 60-Watt A19 Light Bulb at under $6 per bulb.
Once the seeds have sprouted and are hardened off, these toilet paper seed pots can be placed directly in the ground and will compost away. Make sure that when you plant them they are completely covered with garden soil.
What Should You Plant in Your Toilet Paper Seed Pots?
Any kind of seed will work in a toilet paper seed pot, but they are especially good for planting seeds that do not like to have their roots disturbed.
These include any root crop (carrot, beet, parsnip, turnip or radish) and other plants that would usually be sown directly in the garden. Consider getting a head start on your melons, pumpkin, sunflower, peas and beans. This is also a fantastic project to do with the kids.
Need more toilet paper rolls? Just ask a family with girls. I’m sure they would be happy to set you up.
What other frugal seed starting tricks have you tried? Share your ideas in the comments below. See other great gardening ideas on our Pinterest Board – Sow What!
Bonus: Other Amazing Uses of Toilet Paper Rolls for Your Home and Garden
Now that so many of us are stuck in their homes with the CoVid scare, give kids something to do with their free time with one of these DIY projects involving empty toilet rolls.
Your nerves will thank you for it, your kids will gather bonus points in the confidence and handicraft skill departments, and your home and garden will look refreshingly nice afterwards.
A win-win all the way around, as toilet paper is all the rage now (#toiletpaperchallenge).
Toilet Paper Roll Bird Feeders
Draw more feathered friends to your garden with these handy bird feeders made from toilet paper. Making them is easy too. Just cover each toilet paper roll in nut butter (peanut butter works best) and gently press the roll onto bird seeds until they firmly stick.
Make sure that the meal is as varied as it can be for the birds. You might attract species that you didn’t even know dwelled on your premises. Hang the toilet paper rolls with a string or place them on a branch in your yard or garden and get those binoculars out before the show starts.
Toilet Paper Roll Fire Starters
Yes, you’ve heard that right. You can make some neat fire starters out of used toilet paper rolls. They’re cheap, reliable, and will burn 20 to 30 minutes until you get that flame blazing. They are no match for wet wood either.
For this project you’ll need the rolls, lots of dryer lint, and melted wax. Stuff the rolls with dryer lint, place them upwards on an even surface and pour in the liquid wax until the lint is saturated with it. Let the wax in the rolls cool off and flip the toilet paper rolls over and repeat procedure to the other side. When everything is cooled, store the DIY fire starters in a zip-lock bag or an air-tight container to keep humidity out. The last thing you’ll need when out in the wilderness or camping is a damp fire starter.
Watch this gentleman making them.
Toilet Paper Roll Flowers
These amazing paper flowers are made from toilet paper roll. You’ll only need rolls, a pair of scissors, and a bit of patience. The flowers can be turned into wall art, painted and used to adorn gift boxes, and so one. Plus, kids are going to love making these. Read the full tutorial on Michele Pacey’s “crafty life blog.”
Hidden Gift Jar
This hidden gift jar is the perfect gift when you have no clue what the recipient would like to get. The concept is quite simple. You give your loved one money as a gift, but you do it in a way so that they’ll have a huge surprise.
Just wrap a toilet paper roll in tin foil, place it in a mason jar, put the money into the roll, and fill the rest of the jar with M&Ms or other type of button-shaped chocolate. Close the jar, embellish it with ribbon or string, add the name of the recipient to it and you’re set.
You can access the full tutorial here.
Important note: Toilet paper roll is a pretty hazardous material for crafts as the bathroom is full of germs. It is best to sanitize it first. So, before using them in this project, “bake” the toilet paper rolls for around 20 minutes in the oven on the lowest setting (+160 degrees F) to make sure that you kill off al the bugs that might be lurking on the rolls. For the paper not to catch fire, keep it away from the heating element and keep a constant watch on it.
Toilet Paper Roll Owl Craft
Children will love this project. The sky is the limit to how the toilet paper roll owls will look. It depends on the materials on hand and your kid’s imagination. This project along with other toilet paper crafts for kids can be found in Kimberly McLeod’s “Fun and Easy Crafting with Recycled Materials” paperback.
Toilet Paper Roll Lamp Shade
Here’s a craft project for you if you’re drowning in toilet paper rolls and want to give your home a retro-kitsch vibe with an amazing, low-cost design. You’ll need 32 toilet paper rolls, 1 low-watt bulb, scissors, tape, and pen. For the step-by-step guide, check out this Instructables page.
Make sure that the bub is indeed low watt to prevent fire hazards. If the design is not on your liking, just search online for other “toilet paper roll lamp shade” craft projects.
This one is not a genuine DIY project that you can try with your kids, but toilet paper rolls can be easily turned into compost for your yard and garden as they are an important source of carbon.
Just make sure that the toilet paper rolls are not contaminated with human or pet waste, toxic chemicals including household cleaners, oil, or any other thing that might harbor bad bacteria or lure in pests.
To help the toilet paper rolls decompose faster, shred them into tiny pieces before throwing them onto the compost pile. Also, spray them thoroughly with unscented and biodegradable liquid dish soap to speed up decomposition even more.
You may mix the toilet paper roll bits with dry plant litter, old hay, or other biodegradable materials rich in carbon and can top with a layer of cow or horse manure, grass clippings, and kitchen scraps. Seal everything with a layer of soil (and you can repeat the process until you have multiple layers in your compost pile.
Keep the pile moist, and turn the compost every five to seven days. In 6 to 8 months, you should have a nice pile of finished compost.
DIY Desk Organizer
Here’s an upcycling idea found on Pinterest. You can turn toilet paper rolls into an amazing eco-friendly tabletop organizer for your kids’ pen, pencils and whatnots. For this project, you need the rolls, origami paper, scissors or craft knife, glitter and other ornaments, permanent craft glue, and a tray. Here’s how to do it.
Toilet Paper Roll Snowflakes
Kids will love to make and admire these zero-waste Christmas decorations when displayed around the house. For this project, you need toilet paper rolls, paint, paint brushes, glue, glitter glue (optional), and glitter (optional too).
Here’s how to do it (a step-by-step guide) and check out the video below for the fabulous pink snowflake version. Just make sure that you sanitize the toilet paper rolls before you get started.
Bonus: Here are some interesting Amazon items to help you with your seed starts. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting PreparednessMama in this way!
Help! My rolls got moldy. I don’t think there is enough air circulation. Is there anything I can do now? Can I still plant them like this?
Hi Chrystal., mine tend to get a bit of mold on them too. I have not had any trouble with it and just plant them like they are. You’re right, it’s air circulation, so the starts probably need to be uncovered now.
Julian Kaya says
needed this badly thanks!
Hi, is there anyway to contact you without having it post to comments. I am doing an article.
Hi Janet, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Unfortunately, toilet paper and paper towels are treated with carcinogenic chemicals. Better think twice about planting seeds in them for vegetables.
Melanie A Thibeau says
I read through that whole article & saw no mention of what you claim.
Brilliant way of recycling old toilet rolls and save money! I will be trying this out thanks!
Hattie Hamilton says
Great and very easy idea! I just finished with my seed starters – this year made out of old newspapers, but I’ll have on mind these rolls for next year. My sister is just beginning with all this and I’m surely recommending your post to her. Thank you for sharing and happy gardening!
Great idea. Just wondering if the roots able to break thru the rolls? Rolls are biodegradable but not sure if they will degrade in time for the roots to go through. Thanks.
yes, the roots will break through.
if there is a small hole at bottom of toitet roll pot, just put in last toilet paper square to hold in potting medium. In regular soil will break down.
i’ve used this method but already on day 3 have mold! have opened up the air vents to max and crossed fingers
Raeann Beistel says
Look forward to trying this.
Sarah from Woli Creations says
Hi there! What a great list of toilet paper roll upcycle ideas. Thank you so much for including our blue toilet paper roll snowflake!
I never would have thought of using them as seed starter pots! I definitely need to try that out myself. Thanks again!
No Lie says
Great! thank post.
Useful uses of toilet paper core. I like it best to use it to cultivate seeds. Can be planted always on the ground then the paper will decompose well for the plant.
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