DIY and crafts

Owl toilet paper roll craft

I’ve had this idea tumbling around my head for a while now. We go through so much dang toilet paper, I thought it might be nice to do something with rolls we end up throwing away.  Seriously, it’s like at least 4-5 rolls a week.

This is a craft you could do with an older child, 8+ years. The painting and drawing can be a little tedious and may frustrate a younger child.

TIME:  ~2 hrs


  • Toilet paper roll (sans toilet paper!)
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Acrylic or tempera paints (fall colors or primaries + black and white)
  • Brushes, various sizes
  • Paper towels (for wiping brushes)
  • Glass/cup of water (for cleaning brushes)
  • Paper plates (for mixing colors)
  • Sharpies or markers

Instructions for contruction

On the left, you’ll find pictures of the main steps for this craft.  However, we recommend reading the full instructions on the right for the best results.

clean off rolls
fold and hot glue top
base colors for owl on roll
paint base colors
Test out drawing eyeballs
painted owls on toilet paper rolls
Draw on inner eye, beak, wings and feathered body
  1. Lay out supplies so they are within reach of your working area. I like to use a flannel backed outdoor table cloth on top of our kitchen table to keep it clean and provide easy clean up.  For the paints, you can use acrylic or tempera.  
  2. Clean off any remaining toilet paper pieces. You’ll want no white stuff left on the roll.
  3. Press down the edges of sides to create a curve in the middle. You’ll want to press down enough for the edges to overlap just a little.
  4. Hot glue the edges together and let dry. (5 mins)
  5. Paint base color and let dry. (30 mins) This is the main color of your owl.  I chose a light brown, my daughter chose a very dark brown.
  6. Paint eyeball background and let dry. (30-45 mins) This should be a white or very light color. To get a round eye, swipe the brush in a half circle on one side, then do the other side, then swirl them together.  To get a really solid white background, you may need to let it dry and repeat multiple times.
  7. Paint belly color and let dry. (30 mins) This should be a lighter color so when drawing on the “feathers” you’ll be able to use a Sharpie or other marker for a more precise line. You could do this step while the eyes are drying but for a child it might be difficult to hold the roll and paint without touching the eyes.
  8. Draw or paint on the wings. (2 mins) We used the Sharpies to draw on the wings because we found we could keep the shape of the wing sharper using them instead of paint.  To create wing shape, start at about 2/3 up from the bottom, on either side of the belly.  Draw a straight line that goes from just outside the belly and inward just a bit, so the wing overlaps with the belly.  Then draw a line on either side in a curve that meets at the bottom of the roll.  Then color in as you chose.
  9. Draw the center of the eye. (2 mins) This can be whatever color you like, other than white. My daughter had the brilliant of idea of practicing her eyes prior to doing them (smart girl, unlike mommy whose eyes turned out looking more like cat eyes!).  She loves drawing Kawaii characters and has been practicing these types of eyes for a while now.  But your eye can look however you’d like!
  10. Draw on the “feathers” and beak. (2 mins) This should be a color that is darker than your belly and base color.  To create a “feathered” belly, we used little swooshes, like 1/3 of a circle or a parenthesis laying down. 
  11. (Optional) Create a “crown” of feathers. (2 mins) We got the idea of making the owls ears a different color and creating a crown of sorts at the top just to make it more fun. This can be whatever color and shape you like, just paint or draw the top and sides of the ears. We opted for a point in the middle of the eyes but that’s completely up to you!

It takes a while but is a fun activity for a cold or rainy day.  And it’s a great way to decorate your home for Halloween! We added ours to our mantle next to other Halloween decorations.

And because they are bio-degradable, you can recycle these and not have to store them or hang onto them as keepsakes!

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