Make a pillow box--a small cardboard box shaped like a pillow--out of a cardboard toilet paper roll with this tutorial. Pillow boxes are perfect for valentines, party favors, and small gifts.
We always seem to have an endless supply of empty toilet paper rolls, and it always feels like a waste to just put them in the recycling. Finally, inspiration struck--turn them into easy DIY pillow boxes for any holiday! Valentine's day is right around the corner, so that's the first design I made, but I've created a free printable pillow box template, and printable wrappers for Valentine's day, Halloween, and Christmas. And have instructions for customizing the basic pillow boxes with other papers, too. You really can use this tutorial for any occasion.
How to Make a Pillow Box out of a Toilet Paper Tube
Materials for Making a DIY Pillow Box:
- printable pillow box template
- empty toilet paper rolls
- decorative paper (not card stock)
- low temperature hot glue gun
Print out the free printable toilet paper tube pillow box template. This is a template for turning a toilet paper roll into a pillow box, not for making a pillow box out of your own card stock. (But you could definitely modify the design to do so--maybe that's my next project!)
Next, it's time to choose your decorative paper. I've created three different printable wrappers for Valentine's day, Halloween, and Christmas. You can find all the printable PDFs at the bottom of this post.
When you print any of the printables--the template or the wrappers, it's important that you print at 100% scale. I designed these printables for standard US size letter paper, but I now live in the UK, where we use slightly different A4 size paper, so I have to manually adjust my PDFs to print at 100% (it defaults to Scale to Fit at 94%). You need these printables to print at 100% so they'll be the right size to work with the empty toilet paper tubes.
Wrapping paper is also a fabulous option for covering the custom pillow boxes! You can also use scrapbook papers. Just be sure to choose the lighter-weight decorative papers, not the heavier cardstock variety. Cut your pretty paper into 11x15 centimeter rectangles.
When I used the wrapping paper, I just hand-cut the rectangles, and didn't worry about slightly wonky edges. As long as the entire cardboard roll gets covered, the ends get trimmed, so you don't have to be perfectly precise at this stage.
The photo above shows the steps for turning a toilet paper tube into a pillow box. You can watch the entire process in the video tutorial as well.
- Cover the toilet paper tube with decorative paper.
- Flatten the cardboard tube.
- Use the pillow box template to trim the ends of the flattened tube into a curved shape.
- Fold the curved ends of the tube in to create the pillow shape.
Tip for Gluing Decorative Paper to the Pillow Box
In my early experiments, I learned that less glue is better than more for these pillow boxes. When I tried gluing the paper all around the circumference of the toilet paper tube, it looked great...until I smashed it flat. Then all sorts of wrinkles appeared. The solution to a perfectly smooth pillow box was easy, though: glue the paper to the tube only at the seam, the long edge that runs the length of the toilet paper roll. You can see the gluing process in the video.
Only attaching the paper wrap at the seam was easier than gluing the whole thing, was plenty secure, and gave a much cleaner result. Win/win.
See? Not a wrinkle to be found. Fill your pillow box with candies or other small goodies. Valentine stickers would be great for a non-candy valentine option!
It's not the right season to find candy corn, but I loved the orange goldfish crackers with the Halloween pillow boxes I made!
I did make printable Christmas wrappers (below), but this photo shows how cute the DIY pillow box looks covered in some Christmas wrapping paper. I think I'm going to make my daughters' advent calendar with adorable little pillow boxes next year.
Free Printables for Toilet Paper Tube DIY Pillow Boxes
All the free printables you need to make these DIY pillow boxes out of toilet paper rolls are collected below.
Toilet Paper Roll Pillow Box Template
Click on the image above to download or print the free printable pillow box template.
Valentine's Day Pillow Box Wrapper Printables
Click on the image above to download or print the free printable Valentine's day themed wrappers for toilet paper tube pillow boxes.
Halloween Pillow Box Wrapper Printables
Click on the image above to download or print the free printable Halloween themed wrappers for toilet paper tube pillow boxes.
Christmas Pillow Box Wrapper Printables
Click on the image above to download or print the free printable Christmas themed wrappers for toilet paper tube pillow boxes.