Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'

You thought I was gonna say Rawhide, right? Nope, not tonight. Instead, I have been thinking a lot about toilet paper rolls. Lately, I have seen a wide range of toilet paper roll arts and crafts floating all over the Internet, which inspired me to share how I use them. Toilet paper rolls are great for art-making. They are nearly free, a fun shape, sturdy yet pliant, and practically unavoidable. I enjoy transforming packaging (especially paper waste) into art, so toilet paper rolls have made for an exciting material exploration. Here is an example of some work I made in grad school: 

Accretion, Alison L. Miller, Size varies, 2004.

However, my most favorite use of toilet paper rolls took no artistic skill or time to make. I made bracelet holders from toilet paper rolls. I kept thinking about how one of my bracelet drawers was difficult to navigate. The bracelets were inaccessible, and I often forgot I had a certain piece because it was covered with a jumble of other bracelets. I decided I needed a long tubular bracelet holder like the ones used in jewelry department displays. At some point during my thought process, I realized toilet paper rolls might be just the thing - and easy to come by, too! Toilet paper rolls aren’t pretty, but they sure make the perfect bracelet holders!

The project was creative only in the way people have those little sparks of ingenuity that make daily tasks a little easier: “Oh, if I do x, blank will work so much better,” “I can’t reach the bag of nuts I dropped between my desk and the wall. Maybe I can use a ruler to extend the length of my arm,” etc. I have those little moments all the time at work, where I employ an object as a tool it was never meant to be.

I know I could cover the toilet paper rolls with lovely paper or fabric, but, for now, I am perfectly fine with the utilitarian quality of the paperboard. I will let my bracelets bring the bling. What objects have you converted into unexpectedly useful tools?

Alison :)


  1. I love your jewelry collection. Even looking at pics of it is entertaining. :)

    1. Thanks! It's so fun to look at other people's jewelry. You have a nice collection yourself!