How to Make Napkin Rings From Cardboard Paper Towel or Toilet Paper Rolls

A partially finished yarn and roll napkin ring in the middle
A partially finished yarn and roll napkin ring in the middle (Image: Laurie Darroch-Meekis)

This is a nice way to recycle some of those empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls after you use all the paper. The supplies are few and the project inexpensive to do. It involves an easy technique you can sit anywhere to make, so you can do these in front of the television or carry a small bag with you for something to work on wherever you are going. Make a number of sets in different colors for different occasions. Make some sets for friends, too.

Things You'll Need

  • Empty toilet paper rolls
  • Yarn
  • White craft glue (Optional)

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Cut a piece of cardboard roll about 1 1/2 inches wide for each napkin ring you are going to make. Try making four to 10 in each color you are making. You are cutting the pieces off down the length of the cardboard roll like you were slicing a piece of bread off the end. Pick off any loose bits of paper still stuck to the rolls. The cardboard from the rolls will be all covered with yarn, so don’t worry if dried bits of glue from the paper are still on the roll.

Unroll some of the yarn from the ball of yarn and make a smaller long skein that will fit through the opening of the cut-out piece of cardboard tube. If you run short, it is easy to make another skein and start where you left off. Just glue or tuck in the end under the previous part already on the cardboard and proceed from there.

Begin winding the yarn around the surface of the cardboard piece from front to back over and over, in and out of the piece of tube. Tie a knot after the first wind to anchor the yarn. Continue all the way around until the sliced piece of cardboard roll is completely covered. Push the yarn closer together as you wind it if any cardboard is showing through. There should be a nice, tight wrap around the cardboard. Go around twice if you need to. Leave a long enough piece at the very end to tuck securely under some of the previously wound yarn so the loose end doesn’t show. You can put a little white glue on the end when you tuck it to make sure it holds securely. Now repeat the process to make a matching set of napkin rings.

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