Reclaimed Art: Toilet paper roll wall art

Wall Art From Toilet Paper Rolls

Wall Art From Toilet Paper Rolls

So much of what we end up throwing out or recycling could become something new. Reclaiming materials before they go to the landfill or even get recycled is a much more eco-friendly alternative. In this post, I’ll be showing you how even toilet paper rolls can turn into something beautiful without that much effort.

How to make wall art from toilet paper rolls

What you will need:

What you will need.

Materials and tools you will need.

  1. Toilet paper rolls (the amount will depend on the size of your piece).
  2. Sharp scissors
  3. Clothes pins
  4. Acrylic paints and a palette to mix them
  5. Paint brushes
  6. Ruler
  7. Pencil (and eraser in case you make a mistake)
  8. While glue

Stage 1: Planning

Step 1

Step 1: Decide on shape and design.

You can work with any number of shapes and your design can be as large as you want (also consider that the more rolls you have, the larger it can be).

For this example, we are going to work with leaf shaped toilet paper rolls and a wreath like design (which is a great eco-friendly holiday season decor piece) shown below.

Design Example

Design Example

Stage 2: Prepping

Step 2.1

Step 2.1: Mark cut measurements.

2.1  Grab the ruler, the pencil, and the toilet paper rolls and make 1 inch markings along the length of the toilet paper roll as shown above. You can vary on the size of your markings, but keep in mind that if they are not deep enough, they may not show as much, and if they are too deep, they may not glue together very well (see side view of finished piece below for an example of the 1-inch depth). You can also play with using different depths, if that’s an effect you’re looking for. In these examples, all pieces are the same size.

Depth view

1-inch depth view.


Step 2.2

Step 2.2: Draw cut guides.

 Next, use your ruler and pencil to draw cut guides to help you cut the toilet paper rolls.

Step 2.3

Step 2.3: Cut toilet paper rolls.

2.3 Next, use the scissors to cut the toilet paper rolls along their markings.


Step 2.4

Step 2.4: Paint toilet paper roll parts.

2.4 Next is painting, so pick out your acrylic paint colors and paint brush and go for it. Make sure to coat the toilet paper roll piece well and get every little corner. Let dry a little and check to see if you missed any spots. It should look fully coated when you’re done (see example below). It is also helpful to paint the outside first, set it aside to dry, then paint the inside as well (and don’t forget the edges, as they will show the most in a front view). If you want an iron look (which actually looks really good), use a black with a little brown in it. If you’re going for a holiday look, red and greens work well. You can also play with textures and with mixing colors.

Painted example.

Painted example.


Stage 3: Assembling

Step 3.1

Step 3.1: Glue pieces together.

3.1 First: make sure to lay out your design to have a sense of how you want the pieces to connect to each other. Then, grab a section of 2-3 pieces and with a brush, apply a small amount of glue to one of the sides touching each other.

Step 3.2

Step 3.2: Clamp glued pieced with clothes pin.

Clamping view from above.

Clamping view from above.

3.2 Immediately after applying glue, use clothes pins to hold pieces together while glue is drying. Wait at least 5 minutes before releasing “clamp”. Continue to repeat steps 3.1 and 3.2 until you finish assembling your design.

That’s it for today!  I hope you enjoy this post and please share your own tips on how to reclaim materials to give them a new life!

Recycling Trash with Style!

“Miss Understood and Mr Meanor” 1997

“Miss Understood and Mr Meanor” 1997

London based art couple Tim Noble and Sue Webster use a different type of media for their sculpture work,

Dirty White Trash (With Gulls), Tim Noble and Sue Webster, 1998, 2011

"Dirty White Trash (With Gulls)", 1998

a variety of personal garbage and trash collected off of city streets.

The couple created their first “shadow sculpture”, called “Miss Understood and Mr. Meanor” in 1997, and another piece titled, “Dirty White Trash” in 1998, where a pile of trash is assembled so that when a light source is set at the perfect angle, the pile creates a silhouetted image on the background wall. Without the light source, the thoughtfully congregated sculpture looks just like a huge pile of tras

h on the gallery floor, which the artists loved as a statement questioning the definition of real art. The materials include anything from broken glass to used cue tips, all recycled from personal or street found garbage, and even two seagulls from Noble’s father’s old taxidermy collection to create a silhouetted image of the artists sitting back to back enjoying a cigarette and a glass of wine.

Noble and Webster, after receiving great attention with their assemblage sculptures went on to create many more featuring a variety of found and recycled items, scrap metal and even mummified animals. Other artworks that the couple is known for is their painting, ceramic work and large scale light installations that often deal with themes of self-portraits, social connection, pop culture, grunge and rock. Check them out at

So next time you feel like you’re in need of some creative release but are lacking the material, go pick up some trash around your street or river and make a sweet sculpture that all your friends will dig! You’ll not only be making wonderful art, you will be playing a part to help clean our beautiful planet! Cheers!

~ Hannah Burleigh

Art from waste: An Interview with artist Vivian Krishnan

Artist Vivian Krishnan and works.

Artist Vivian Krishnan (left center) and friends modeling her work at the fashion show. (Photo by Hari Baumbach)

Reusing materials that would otherwise go to waste is becoming more common in the art world. Fort Lewis College art student Vivian Krishnan is one of these artists who decided to turn “trash” into art. Last week, her work along with other students’ work was showcased at FLC’s Art Department fundraiser at the Lost Dog Bar in downtown Durango. Here’s what Vivian has to say about her work.

Hari Baumbach: Tell me a little about yourself (background, hometown, major, artists who inspire you, art that you like to do).

Vivian Krishnan: I was born and raised in Kailua, Oahu HI. I live in Denver when I’m not attending school at the Fort. My major is in Studio Art with an Art History minor. For the time being I have been very inspired by multiple designers like Vallentino, Hugo Boss, and Calvin Klein. Robin Barcus Slonina who is a sculptor has had a huge influence on me. Besides sculpture, I love working with textiles and well as printmaking.

HB: How did the wearable art project come to be and how/ why did you decide to use materials that would’ve otherwise gone to waste to create your pieces?

VK: The first time I tried out this wearable art idea was when I started one of sculpture projects assigned by Jay Dougan. We were asked to find an artist we liked and produce work inspired by them. The artist I chose was Robin Barcus. She takes dress forms to a whole new level she makes a lot of her pieces out of natural things like pinecones and flowers so I thought I would use materials that were quite the opposite.

HB: What materials are used and what techniques did you employ to turn the materials into your pieces?

VK: For a few of my pieces I used plastic grocery bags from Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s. By fusing multiples layers of the plastic with an iron I was able to create a sturdy fabric. Other materials that I used were hardware cloth, newspaper, bubble wrap, packaging foam and peanuts, and City Market paper bags.

HB: How did you envision the impact your work would have on your audience? Did you have a specific message in mind? If so, what was your message?

Vivian and I

Vivian and I after the fashion show.

VK: I haven’t really thought of the impact. People just kept telling me how pretty the outfits were so it doesn’t seem very different from making normal clothes. My message is mostly just that if we have these materials lying around why not just give them one last good use and make something out of them. All it takes is time and I think its time worth spending. Playing around with the idea of what is fabric is another key factor in my work.

HB: What part do you think artists play/ can play/ should play in creating awareness about social and environmental issues?

VK: Artists have a huge influence on others. The audience may not agree or like it but, if someone see’s work with a clear message they will probably remember it and tell others about it. Talking about the process we go through as artists is also important. When I was making my pieces, it was very important to me that I limit the amount of waste I created.

HB: In which ways do you feel your work could change people’s relationship to waste?

Rubbish can be pretty! Recycling can lead to beautiful things and I just hope that people can see from my work that if you’re not going to limit your waste at least deal with it properly.

HB: In your own words, how did you feel the fashion show on Thursday came together? Were you happy with the outcome?

VK: The show could not have happened with out all the students that helped and the handful of teachers who supported it. There was a lot of teamwork that went into the production of the show. I’m just really proud of all of the artists, students, and the Gallery Management class that helped Sarah Swoboda, Elizabeth Gand, and myself. I am so happy about how it went! I couldn’t have asked for a better night.

HB: What are your hopes for the future? Are you planning to continue working with “unusual” materials on future projects?

VK: Absolutely, I have become obsessed with using plastic grocery bags. My apartment is full of them just waiting to be used! I hope to make more clothes and perhaps accessories.

HB: Do you have any final comments or statements you would like to add?

VK: I really just want to thank Elizabeth Gand (the art history professor) for taking an interest in my work and giving me the chance to push it further. Also, there is nothing wrong with being more aware of ourselves and our surroundings. Recycling is so easy!

~ Hari Baumbach