DIY Gift Bows (Upcycled Toilet Paper Rolls)

Ahhh, is it just me or does anyone else feel nauseous every time they check their bank account during December?  I swear, each year it feels like I spend more and more.  It’s one thing to spend hard-earned dollars on actual gifts, but spending $3-$5 dollars on a bag of gift bows?  No way! I mean, let’s be serious – those bows aren’t really appreciated because everyone is used to seeing them as the “standard” and they get torn off within two seconds.

The holidays aren’t supposed to be about the presents or how much money you can spend – it’s a time to be joyful and to spread that joy to others.  On that note, I’m linking up with the Collectively Creative ladies again for the Joyful Edition.  Be sure to check the bottom of this post for the links of all the participating bloggers!

So what’s my solution to the expensive gift bow issue?  Joyfully save yourself some money and make your own bows with supplies you already have at home!  This project doesn’t take much time or focus so it’s a great activity to do while you’re watching tv.  All you need is a hot glue gun (with glue stick), toilet paper rolls and/or paper towel rolls, and scissors – that’s it!  How many DIY projects have you heard of that only require 3 items?

Tip:  I’ve read that you can do this project with glue sticks and/or Elmer’s glue bottles but I didn’t give either of those a try.  I recommend a hot glue gun because I know for sure that it works.  If you give this project a try with a glue stick or glue bottle, please let me know how it turns out!

Gift Bows_Materials

So let’s get started because I’m sure you have some gift wrapping to do! 🙂

First, flatten your roll so it has two creases.  Next, cut 1/2 inch pieces.  These will be your petals.

Tip:  If you’re really particular, you can measure 1/2 inch increments.  I just eyeballed it and the bows turned out fine.  You can’t see any noticeable size differences.

Gift Bows_Cutting

For each gift bow you will need 5 petals (Picture #1).  Once you’ve cut 5 petals, bend the creases toward each other to create a rounder petal (Picture #2).  Then, place a drop of glue near one end (Picture #3) and squeeze the next petal onto the dot of glue (Picture #4).

Gift Bows_PicStitch

Continue until all 5 petals have been connected.  Remember to glue both sides of the last petal to connect the bow.  You’re done – gift bow complete!

Gift Bows_Plain

Gift Bows_Plain 2

If you want to make the gift bows look a little fancier and less rustic, you can spray paint your toilet paper/paper towel rolls.  Just make sure to paint them before cutting them into petal pieces and then let them dry completely.  Remember my Toilet Roll Wreath that I made in October?  I ended up taking it apart and reusing those rolls since they were already spray painted a nice copper color.  So basically I reused materials from an upcycled project – double awesome!

Gift bows_Copper Picstitch

I hope this posts inspires you to make your own (inexpensive and easy) gift bows for your holiday gifts!  They will definitely save you money and I bet the recipients will be impressed. 😉

DIY Gift Bows (Upcycled Toilet Paper Rolls)


  • hot glue gun with glue stick
  • toilet paper and/or paper towel rolls
  • scissors

What to Do

  1. Flatten the roll so it has two creases.
  2. Cut 1/2 inch pieces.  These will be your petals.  For each gift bow you will need 5 petals.
  3. Once you’ve cut your petals, bend the creases toward each other to create a rounder petal.
  4. Place a drop of glue near one end and pinch the next petal onto the dot of glue.
  5. Continue until all 5 petals have been connected.  Remember to glue both sides of the last petal to connect the bow.

You May Also Like:

The Joyful Edition Logo 2012

Collectively Creative: Joyful Edition bloggers

45 thoughts on “DIY Gift Bows (Upcycled Toilet Paper Rolls)

    • Thanks, Kelly. I like the simple look too. 🙂 Jon says it reminds him of old-fashioned packages and he loves it. I think it’s nice to take the “commercial” aspect out of Christmas sometimes. Happy holidays!

    • Thank you! I can’t believe how many toilet paper roll projects there are on Pinterest. Some of them blow my mind haha. So far I’ve made a wreath and gift bows… We’ll see what’s next! 😉

  1. YOU ARE SO SMART!!!!!! I LOVE this. I wrapped my boyfriends’ gift in a recycled paper bag + some light gray paper I saved from wrapping around some dishes I bought and then used the paper scraps for embellishment. But it could have been 2093802938x more awesome with these bows! Love the simple and classy look. And I totally support NOT buying overpriced bows that no one really appreciates anyway haha.

    And yes, I don’t even want to look at my bank account ahhh 😦

      • It sounds like you did an awesome wrapping job with your recycled papers! Yesss, please make these bows in the future! They are insanely easy and quick to make and they’re so customizable with spray paint (red, white & blue for the 4th, gold/silver for Christmas, red for Valentine’s Day, etc)!

        My Instagram name is LeahKorea06. 🙂

  2. Love this!! I’m planning on making my own gift tags this year and this would make a wonderful addition–though I might try with some thick cardstock rather than the toiletpaper roll. Wonderful idea.

    • Thanks, Trish! Let me know how they turn out if you use cardstock – I’m definitely interested. Are you making salt dough gift tags? I really wanted to but didn’t get around to it. I hope yours turn out beautifully. 🙂

  3. I’m digging the look of these! I have some great brown craft paper with music notes printed on it (for the musician in my family) and some other craft paper with red designs stamped on it. These bows will be perfect for those gifts!!! Great idea!

    • Thanks, Judy! I love brown craft paper too! I think I’m going to wrap all gifts in it from now on and make it my “signature” thing. 😉

      Have fun collecting toilet paper/paper towel rolls. I have a huge bag I keep them in! 🙂

  4. That is such a good idea, and it came out so pretty!! I’m going to give it a try with Malia tonight 🙂 I like how you paired it with a simple brown paper wrapping and twine, makes it look so rustic and pretty!

    • Thanks, Maura! I love the simplicity and elegance of it. Did you get a chance to try making the gift bows with Malia last night? If so, how did they turn out?

      • They turned out great! We used regular Elmer’s glue and it worked well, perhaps a little messy at first, but we got the hang of it 🙂 Malia was so proud of herself. Thanks for the idea, Leah! We decorated our tree with them, actually!

        • Awww, so cute! I’m glad to hear this project is kid-friendly and that you don’t have to use hot glue if you don’t want to. Decorating your tree with them is a great idea – that didn’t even occur to me!

  5. I never thought of using them as bows, what a great idea!! and I have a ton of empty rolls. Thanks for a great post !!

    • Thanks, Brandi! Glad you liked it – I think it’s easier for people to follow along with pictures instead of just words and luckily my pictures turned out okay. 🙂

    • I know what you mean! I can’t wait to tell everyone on Christmas that their bows are made from toilet paper rolls. I’m sure it’ll give people a couple laughs. 😉

    • Thank you, Thea! I appreciate your kind words. I’m so happy with the end result. I think I’ll be saving toilet paper/paper towel rolls for the foreseeable future. 🙂

    • Thanks, Anne! This is a super easy project and definitely kid-friendly. I’d love to hear if you use hot glue, a glue stick, or even something else! Good luck. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: