‘How to’ Guide to Make Recycled Toilet Roll Cars



By Rowena Mynott

I posted recently about my son’s third birthday party and how I had tried to make it as sustainable as possible by avoiding wasteful plastic items.

These little recycled toilet roll cars that I had made to give away as party favours received lots of attention.  Being recycled they are dirt cheap, sustainable, and fun for the kids to get involved with.  You can be as simple or creative as you like – let you imagination run wild!

I made a little video to show you the step by steps I took to create these cars, but here are the written instructions in case you are more of a text person.


What do you need?

  • Toilet roll inserts or paper towel inserts
  • Paint. I used water based paint but you could use anything.
  • Paintbrushes
  • Scissors
  • Black marker pens
  • Stickers to decorate your car with
  • Spare cardboard or black paper
  • Brads (small tacks with 2 pins on the back that can be separated to hold paper in place)

Additional supplies for alternative decorations:

  • Glue
  • Coloured/patterned paper


How do you do it?

Step 1:

Once you have collected all your toilet rolls give them a coat of paint. I used bright water soluble paint as I had Mr 3 helping me out, but you could use any sort of paint or even coloured or patterned paper.

I gave the cars two coats of paint, allowing it to dry in-between obviously.

Note: It’s ideal if you can avoid getting paint in the inside of the car.  You will see in the video that it ends up looking quite messy. Alternatively you could just paint the inside too! Or why not add a circle of cardboard to hide the inside and draw a grill on it with black marker pen?


Step 2:

Mark out a rectangle on top of the car. It needs to be slightly wider at one end than the other but it can be as long or as short as you like.

Cut out carefully along both longer sides and the wider end. A craft knife would be ideal but scissors work too.

Bend the flap back carefully to crease the narrow end and fold the flap in half tucking the wide end into the narrower side of the hole to secure it.


Step 3:

Take your cardboard or black paper and trace around the end of the toilet roll four times to make the wheels. Cut these out.

Using a pair of scissors carefully put a hole in the centre of the wheels.

Find the correct position on the car and put a hole where you would like the wheels to go.

Take a brad and insert through each wheel and into the car. Bend the forks in opposite directions on the inside


Step 4:

Decorate your car however you like. Use stickers or marker pen, pom poms or magazine cut outs.


Step 5:

Have hours of fun watching a child play with their new toy.


You could create so many variations, not just in car designs. How about making a bus or a lorry? People or animals?

What have you created from recycled materials?


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