Sometimes My Imagination is Impressive

I have long since been an "upcycler," long before I even knew there was such a thing.  For those of you out of the know, an upcycler is someone who makes something better out of something that some might consider trash.  It's not the same as a recycler, so don't be confused.

What I have never been is a crafter.  I'm not particularly gifted in that way, but I am resourceful. So sometimes, when others might see something and think it is trash, I see something and see it as "potential."  (My husband calls this hoarding and will frequently say things like, "Carol, is there a reason we're saving old shoebox lids?"  . . . he's learned not to throw things away.)

Anyway, one day I was cleaning my bathroom, and I was shocked at how much toilet paper we go through in a week.  What brought this horror to my mind was that there were 11 empty toilet paper tubes in my trash can.  ELEVEN!  (Of course it is possible that it had been more than a week since I had last cleaned that bathroom.  Also possible is that I hadn't emptied the trash the last time I cleaned the bathroom.)

But nonetheless, ELEVEN empty toilet paper rolls!  I started thinking what I could do with those rolls (other than recycling of course) and continued to think about it the rest of the time that I was cleaning the house.  And then it hit me!  I could make a nativity scene out of them.

True story.

So, I collected my materials:

  • 10 toilet paper tubes
  • 2 glue sticks
  • Crayons
  • 4x6 pieces of scrapbooking papers (these are the perfect height and width to go around a toilet paper tube
  • Flesh-toned Construction paper (this was all I had for the faces)
  • Scrap fabric (I cut mine into 4x6 rectangles)
  • Ribbon or twine to tie around the "waist" and headpieces of the characters and to make wings.
  • Cotton balls
  • Flexi Straws

  • I started with the Shepherds

    The girls colored the faces of the shepherds and the sheep.  Then they glued the scrapbooking paper around the toilet paper roll and glued the faces on.   I cut one toilet paper roll in half for the sheep and let them glue on cotton balls.  While they were busy with that, I "dressed" the shepherds with their head pieces.  I stapled the fabric to the sides for extra support, and then tied the raffia ribbon on the waist of the shepherds, and lastly shoved the flexi straws through the belts to resemble staffs.  Voila.  Shepherds and sheep.

    Then we made the Wise Men.

    We constructed these the same way as the shepherds.  I love their faces!  We started off making them all different, but that was too much trouble and the girls couldn't agree on the fabric and the ribbon, so we just gave them all the same fabric and ribbon (which I ended up liking way better!)

    Then we made the Angel.  

    We had enough toilet paper tubes to make a host of angels, just not enough patience! We tried lots of fabrics, but nothing seemed right, so we settled for looping a piece of gold, wired ribbon and stapling it to the back for wings.

    And lastly, we made Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. 

    Do not be distracted by the fact that the baby Jesus has a mustache.  I mentioned that the girls decorated the faces, right?  :)

    We made Mary and Joseph the same was as the other characters.  We made the manger and the baby Jesus by cutting a 1 inch strip out of the center of one of the toilet paper tubes.  We wrapped the cut out piece with swaddling cloth, tied it on, and THEN glued on the face.  We (and by we, I mean "I") took the other (larger) piece of the toilet paper tube, spread it open, and stapled raffia ribbon in it to resemble hay.  Then we simply placed the baby Jesus on top of it.

    Here's a picture of the whole gang!

    All that to say,  some might have seen merely empty toilet paper tubes, but I saw this.  Sometimes my imagination is impressive.  Just sayin'


    1. Cute idea! And now you won't have the heart to throw those away. Ever. We still have the toilet paper tube angel that Andrew (now age 22) made in preschool before we moved to Texas!!! It was the tree topper for several years.

    2. You seriously have way too much free time on your hands. Candy, toilet paper nativities . . . what's next?


    Thank you for reading. I look forward to hearing from you.