Temperatures are starting to cool across the country, which means we will be staying inside even more than we already were, which means a lot of us will turn to crafting of some kind. If you are an up-cycling individual who loves to repurpose would-be trash, you may be tempted by toilet paper roll crafts or hacks. Please. Don’t.
Notably, there are simply no good toilet paper hacks or crafts—a fact easily confirmed with a quick Google image search:
I’m not sure who is to blame, exactly, but Pinterest is obviously a big part of the problem. (The Toilet Paper Roll Crafts board has nearly 220 thousand followers!) Things get especially bleak around the holidays, when bloggers of all sorts suggest children use the spent rolls to make useless figurines modeled after seasonal tropes. (Do children play with these one they’re painted? [Parent/editor’s note: No.] Do parents keep them in a special box and trot them out as decor every year? [Parent/editor’s note: Fuck no.] Is the activity itself any fun? [Parent/editor’s note: Are you joking?]) There is simply no need for toilet paper roll ghosts, toilet paper roll turkeys (or *shudder* pilgrims), or toilet paper roll Santas and snowmen to exist; especially when you could decorate a pumpkin (use paint markers if you don’t want to give a child a knife), draw a hand turkey, or make a snowman out of literal snow instead.
Toilet paper roll crafts are forced, displeasing to look at, and just plain bad. Giving someone a gift enclosed in a toilet paper roll is disrespectful. Giving a child a toilet paper roll “kazoo” and asking them to put their mouth on it is unsanitary. I have absolutely no idea who toilet paper roll jewelry is for. Respect yourself. Find another medium. There are so many good crafting options and activities that don’t involved using the skeleton of the material one uses to wipe one’s ass—I simply don’t understand why this is a genre of crafting.
Not only are toilet paper roll crafts ugly, they are gross. Toilet paper lives its life in the bathroom, absorbing moisture (which bacteria love). It also sits right next to the toilet, which means even if you and your family are super vigilant about closing the toilet before you flush, it is constantly being subjected to a cloud of toilet-dwelling microorganisms. Unlike other things in your bathroom, you cannot easily wash or sterilize a damp tube of cardboard, which makes it a poor candidate for repurposing (but a fine candidate for recycling).
Then there are the “hacks” themselves, some of which have been published on this very website. (It’s true: we are not without sin, though these particular sins were committed like, seven years ago, and well before I got here.) The most offensive example of the genre is a food hack that involves using a toilet paper tube to slice corn off the cob, which is incredibly disrespectful to corn. Taking a thing that sat in the bathroom—right next to the toilet—for several days, then placing it in contact with literal food is not OK in any of my books. And that corn honestly doesn’t look very stable anyway. (I’m not impressed by any of these either.)
If you simply must use a tube of cardboard to organize your cords or ties, of if your artistic vision demands this particular type of upcycled material, consider cutting a spent paper towel roll in half. The outcome won’t be any more aesthetically pleasing, but at least it will be poop-free.