One of our regular readers, Rita, sent us an e-mail asking for help. She writes:
I have about 75 empty cardboard wrapping paper rolls left over from Christmases past and I donâ€™t want to throw them away but I am not sure what to do with them besides let my kids use them as fake swords. Any suggestions?
Rita, that’s a great question, and we have lots of ideas for you!
- If you ever find that your dress pants get creased when you hang them on a hanger, just take a length of narrow cardboard tube and cut a slit in it lengthwise, then place it over the hanger. You can then hang your pants over the tube and creases will be no more! (Fig 1) This trick is especially helpful for corduroy pants.
- Wider cardboard tubes are great for storing extension cords. Just fold the cord back and forth every 10-12 inches and then stuff the wad into the tube. You can even label the outside of the tube with the length of the extension cord (Fig 2). Toss it in a basket or drawer with all the others and you’ll find that next time you’re able to pull one out very easily!
- Use the tubes as holders for party favors. Just cut them down into equal lengths and fill them with various party favors, such as candy and small toys. Wrap the tube with wrapping paper or other fancy paper, tie the ends up with ribbon, and hand them out at the end of the party. These would be great for a kid’s party, or even a baby or bridal shower.
- Stuff empty cardboard tubes with items like scrap paper or dried leaves and then wrap in newspaper, stuffing the edges of the newspaper in the ends of the tubes. Keep them in a basket by your fireplace and use them as firestarters whenever you want to light a cozy fire.
- Roll up leftover scraps of fabric and insert them into a cardboard tube. Tape a small sample of the fabric to the outside and write the approximate size of the fabric on the tube, and next time you go looking for scraps for a project, you’ll find it’s a lot easier (Fig 3).
- Fold and then wrap your tablecloths around the outside of a long cardboard tube. Keep it in place by tying a ribbon (not too tight!) around each end. Store all your tablecloths tubes in a giant organizer container that you can store under your bed. The next time you set your table, you’ll find a lot less ironing is required!
- Cut two of the tubes in half. Stick two halves in each of your knee-high boots to store them upright in the closet (Fig 4). No more floppy boots!
If those tips aren’t crazy enough for you, let me share one more:
A few years ago, I had a luau party and wanted to go all out with the decorations. The party was to take place in the backyard, around the pool and on the deck. We had a small shed in the yard that I wanted to turn into a tiki hut with bamboo sides, and cardboard tubes were just what I needed to pull it off.
I started by collecting cardboard tubes from everyone I knew and even hung signs at work asking people to save them for me. Once I had enough gathered, I cut them all in half lengthwise. I then took large sheets of brown kraft paper and cut them to the size of the sides of the shed. I glued the cardboard rolls to the paper with hot glue, overlapping the ends slightly so that they looked like bamboo knots. Once all my pattern pieces were covered in cardboard, I painted them all with some leftover tan paint (check the “mistake” paint bin at your local hardware store for a bargain). I used a staple gun to attach the panels of bamboo to the sides of the shed and covered the top with some palm fronds (I had brought a trunk-full of them home with me after recent trip to Florida). Fortunately, I only had to decorate two sides of the shed because that’s all that was visible to the guests. The result was extraordinary and everyone marveled at it! (Fig 5)