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I don't know what it is, but there's just something about this time of year that brings out my crafty side. I'm constantly starting projects, buying the stuff I need to make all sorts of fun messes, and there's *always* that little corner in the back of my brain that's seeing stuff out in the world and filing it away for inspiration.
It's because of this, and the old Girl Scout in me, that I can't pass up a good looking pile of toilet paper rolls. Because we buy our Charmin and other paper goods in bulk at Costco, it's pretty easy for me to collect the empty rolls and put them to good use for fun craft projects.
This cute little countdown garland can easily be made for any special occasion you're counting down. Swap out the colors and what you put inside, and pretty much anything can be made into a countdown-worthy party!
Countdown Garland Instructions
First things first, save those Charmin rolls! Figure out what you want to count down and how many days. This garland counts down 14 days until Christmas.
Next, gather up your other supplies:
- Toilet Paper Rolls
- Acrylic Craft Paint (I recommend at least 2 colors)
- Bakers twine (but thinner ribbon would work!)
- Foil Tassels
- Miniature Ornaments
- Goodies for inside (Shhh! I stole a couple handfuls of Max's Halloween candy)
- Decorative masking tape
- Hole punch
- Foam paintbrushes (one per paint color)
- Number stickers for your countdown days
You'll want to peel every little bit of leftover toilet paper off the rolls, so you get a smooth paint finish. It's annoying, but necessary. 🙂 Once you've got your clean rolls, paint them with 2 coats of craft paint, letting them dry for a few minutes in between coats. (I actually recommend letting them sit for quite a while to dry completely after the second coat; the tape will stick better in future steps if the paint is really dry)
Once all of your rolls are painted, they're ready to attach a pull string. Basically, you're going to staple the string inside the tube, so that when you tape it to come out the opposite side, it will also pull through and tear the tape, opening the package to release the goodies inside. I cut my pieces to about 5″ long.
Keep the staple near the edge, but not too close, or it won't be able to hold onto the string and pull the tube open! Once you've stapled the string, press the tube flat, making two creases. Be sure to keep the staple close to the crease, so the string will go all the way across the finished container.
Carefully pull the string all the way across to the opposite crease, and use the decorative masking tape to seal the tube shut, leaving the string hanging out the corner.
Repeat for as many tubes as you're using, then fill them all with the treats of your choice.
Once you've filled all of the tubes, it's time to close them the rest of the way. You'll crease the top just like you did for the bottom, but make sure it's perpendicular to the bottom, so it makes more space inside the closed tube. Seal the top closed with decorative tape.
Use a hole punch to put a hole in the middle of the top edge.
Cut a length of baker's twine for the whole garland; I spaced mine about 4″ apart, but you can put yours closer or further as desired. The main thing is to loop the twine through the hole to hold the container in place. You can also loop the decorations onto the main twine, depending on what you've got. 🙂
Continue until all of your countdown containers are attached to the garland; you can hang the finished product either horizontal or vertically, depending on what kind of space you have. I kind of love it hanging from a ceiling hook!
Crafting is fun, and making messes is fun, but when it's all done, it's time to clean up. Thankfully, the Procter & Gamble family of products is there to help you clean up from all those messes, which always seem to multiply themselves around this time of year, when there are people and parties and entertaining and gifts and decorations and! and! and!
Since we shop at Costco, we always have lots of the important basics on hand; things like Bounty, Charmin, Mr Clean Magic Erasers, and Dawn dish soap. I love that I can go ahead and make those fun messes, because I know I have all the tools on hand to clean up when I'm done.
I don't have to worry about running out of dish soap because I have lots of baking to do and end up washing things several times in a day (Hello, giant metal mixer bowl!) and other spills and messes are a non-issue when I've got a whole stash of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers on hand to come to the rescue. Costco makes it easy to stock up, because they have basically everything I need in one place, and in packages that allow me to keep a good back-up supply so I don't get caught unprepared.