DIY Projects / Green Christmas / Handmade / Holidays

Two Styles of DIY Toilet Paper Roll Christmas Ornaments

Every year, my husband and I (ie. mostly me) pick a color scheme for our Christmas decor. This year, we chose turquoise and gold (with a tiny bit of lime green added for a little extra pizzazz). The problem? We owned exactly two ornaments in any of those colors. In years past, we have always incorporated silver into our Christmas color palette. Not a speck of gold. Ever. So what’s a girl to do? Buy a whole tree’s worth of ornaments? You know me better than that 🙂

First, I swapped ornaments with my mother, who had tons of gold decor, but is decorating in silver this year. That’s what I call a stroke of good luck. I came home with a whole box full of goodies. Next, my daughter and I got down to the business of making our own ornaments. I was inspired by some owl ornaments I found on Pinterest.

Owl ornament tutorial

I’d been saving toilet paper rolls for weeks in anticipation of trying this, and it couldn’t have gone better. Since the available tutorial is in Spanish, I’ll walk you through the steps. Kids can definitely help with this.

1. At the top of a toilet paper tube, push down on opposite sides so they fold and meet in the middle. Squeeze the peaks that will be created by these folds. If you squeeze hard enough, you shouldn’t need glue, tape or anything else to hold it in this position.

2. Paint the tubes however you want. We used turquoise and lime green. Let them dry for at least an hour.

3. Use a black permanent marker to draw owls on the painted tubes. If you’re afraid of messing up, first draw lightly in pencil, then follow with marker. Here’s a tip: start with two large circles for the eyes and work your way out from there. You can also Google “owl illustrations” for some inspiration.

4. Thread a needle and tie it off. Push the needle through one peak at the top of the toilet paper tube (the owl’s “ear”). Then push it through the other peak and meet with a little length in the middle. Cut off the excess. Tie the ends of the thread to create a loop. That’s it!

We had lots of fun coming up with different ways to draw the owls so that no two are alike. One of mine is shown at left, and my daughter’s owl is on the right 🙂

Flower ornament tutorial

Wanting some variety, I decided to try another toilet paper/paper towel tube ornament design. I’ve had the image below from Design Sponge saved in my inspiration folder literally for years, but I’d never gotten around to trying it. That photo was the inspiration for this ornament. And it is super easy to make.

1. Paint the toilet paper or paper towel roll in the color of your choice (or leave it unpainted if you’d like).

2. Once the paint is dry, flatten the tube vertically as shown in the photo below. Then turn it horizontally and cut it into strips about 1/2″ to 1″ wide. You’ll see that the strips will open up into petal-like shapes.

3. Stack 6 or 7 flattened strips together. About 1/8″ from the bottom of the stack, push a threaded needle through all of the strips. You’ll need to do this one at a time, but keep them close together. I showed just two so you can easily see how they will attach. Loop around the bottom of the stack and push the thread through all the strips again. Pull the thread taut and begin to fan the petals out to form a flower. Push the thread through one side of the very first petal, but not through the second side. Make sure that the thread is tight and your flower looks as you want it and tie off the end of the thread. Cut off the excess.

4. If this is secure enough for you, you can stop here. I chose to reinforce mine by winding thread around the center of the flower, through the middle of the petals. See the closeup below to see what I mean.

5. The upside of this design is that you don’t need a hook to hang it on the tree. Simply open a petal and hang it on a branch. Easy peasy! Although I’m thinking I may go back and paint the inside of the petals too, so it’s all blue. Or I may be lazy and leave them as is 🙂

Miscellaneous other ornaments

I had lots of leftover bits and pieces from my daughter’s peacock Halloween costume, and I needed more blue on the tree. I made a couple of additional, very simple ornaments from costume remnants.

1. Feather ornaments.

I had some leftover pieces of feather boa from the costume. I cut lengths of boa at about 4 inches long. At the 2 inch mark (in the center), I simply tied a piece of string, looped it twice, pulled it taut, and tied the excess in a loop at the top. You want to know the best thing about this one? After I made these, I saw identical pre-made feather ornaments (same color and all) at Hobby Lobby for $7 a pop! I made 5 of them for FREE 🙂

2. Fabric strip bows.

All I did was cut 2″ x 14″ strips of fabric and tied them at the ends of a few branches (this was after I ran out of actual ribbon…lol)

3. Ribbon star ornaments a la Martha Stewart

Mine didn’t look like hers at all — they were more like tiny wreaths. Still I like them. To make them more like Martha’s, stiffer ribbon would be a better idea. I used slippery satin ribbon, so it was difficult to get each knot to keep its shape. Still, each of these took about 5 minutes.

The Finished Tree

This is the finished look. We filled out some more blue with a couple of packs of store-bought ornaments. So we decorated the whole tree for about $15. Woo hoo!

What about you?

Are you making any ornaments this year? What colors are you using to decorate for the holidays? Is your tree up yet? Send in pics and get featured at Green Your Decor!

About Author

I am a graphic designer by trade who has a strong passion for interior design and doing what we can to protect the environment. This blog and my other site, Green & Gorgeous, are my ways of giving back to the Earth.


  • Lynn
    December 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    The tree came out beautifully. Love everything you did. I’ve had that same toilet paper roll wall decoration in my file for quite awhile and also used the rolls for a Christmas calendar last year. The only problem is that my rolls have paper stuck to them so they can’t be painted without a lot of extra work. I cover them with paper. Anyway, great job Jennae!

    • jennae
      December 9, 2011 at 6:29 am

      Thanks Lynn, as usual 🙂 Some of our rolls had small bits of paper still attached that we couldn’t get off. We just painted over them, no problem 🙂

  • Kathleen W.
    December 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Your tree looks great, and I love what you came up with to decorate it. There are so many possibilities with paper and cardboard. We just made a garland using strips of recycled magazines bent and stapled into ornament shapes. Now on to some cardboard ones.

    • jennae
      December 9, 2011 at 6:36 am

      Thank you! Your 2 trees are gorgeous! I have a couple more projects up my sleeve, some of which I’ll likely share 🙂 Would you like me to feature photos of your trees? I’m doing a roundup to help people generate tree decorating ideas.

  • Domestic Diva
    December 8, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Oh my goodness, that is so clever! We have an Ice Blue themed christmas tree as well. I love the DIY owl ornaments because owls remind me of my youngest kidlet. I’ll have to get the kidlets to help me make some this year. Thanks for sharing this great craft 😀

    • jennae
      December 9, 2011 at 6:39 am

      Thanks Heather! I have a thing for owls, so when I saw those, I knew I had to try it. And honestly, they are crazy easy to make. I’d love to see pics of your tree, too, so I can feature it. I’m doing a roundup of Christmas tree photos to help people generate decorating ideas.

  • Marta
    December 9, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Beautiful christmas tree!!!
    Another proof that handmade and recycling can be sophisticated and glamorous.
    And I love the not traditional blue theme you’ve chosen 🙂

    • jennae
      December 9, 2011 at 6:57 am

      Thank you Marta! I took a look at some of your work, and all I can say is wow! That chevron pillow makes me want to go spend some time getting crochet lessons from my mother!

  • Denene@MyBrownBaby
    December 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Oh my goodness—those owls and flowers are the cutest EVER! And FINALLY, I found someone who actually pins on Pinterest and does the crafts. What a concept. LOL! I think I might try to brave these with the girls. (This is my confession: I’m not crafty. But I’ll try.)

    • jennae
      December 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      I’ve really been trying to curb my Pinterest addiction lately. But I figure if I’m going to keep pinning stuff, I may as well actually attempt some of the ideas, right? But seriously though, there are super, duper easy. If there was ever a project to pop your Pinterest cherry on, this is it…lol.

      Oh…and Pinterest has been a great source of tutorials for a bunch of handmade Christmas gifts. And when I say tutorials, I mean step, by step, by step. With pictures. Because that’s the only way I’d be able to follow 🙂

  • Danielle
    December 10, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    I love the snowflake toilet paper roll ornament! I saw a similar wall display that I also never got around to making. Love the ornament, seems simpler!

  • Carley L
    December 14, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Your tree is gorgeous! Our tree is teal, silver, pink, and purple. I think all of the ornaments are so fun! This is the perfect time of year to make them too because I have empty wrapping paper tubes to use. I’m an owl freak, so now I totally want to make the owl ornament. I can see making the flower ornaments and keeping them out all year long because they are so pretty.

  • Sue Mannis
    December 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    SUCH A CUTE IDEA!!! I love the fact that we can reuse the tubes and not just throw them away! My kids are going to love this idea. It would be cute to do for other holidays as well. You could make fire crackers ( purely decorative) for table decorations out of the tubes as well and place streamers out of the top! or for Thanksgiving you could get feathers and glue them on the back to create a turkey.

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