DIY Toilet Paper Roll Countdown

This time last year, my best friend Robbie and I made a birthday gift countdown for our other best friend Maddie. IMG_1470

We were inspired by this DIY Toilet Paper Roll Christmas Calendar from the super cute DIY blog Morning Creativity, only we all love color so we wanted to amp up the whimsybright rainbowfun factor.

What you’ll need:

  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Shoebox top
  • Cardboard
  • Cool paper
  • Tape
  • Paint and paintrbush
  • Skewers
  • Hot glue gun
  • Sharpie
  • 24 lil presents

The first step is to hoard toilet paper rolls. If you’re a last minute person, you might need to phone a friend to help add to your collection. Just don’t be creepy and root through other people’s bathroom trash. (Yes, I thought about it. Like sometimes the toilet paper roll was just right on top, barely grazing the grossness below…but I resisted the urge. Mostly because where would I hide it when I came out of the bathroom slash how would I explain the four cardboard tubes sticking out of my bra).

If you’re color-loving like us, the next step is to paint your rolls.


(actually lolz @ that headline I just noticed…bc we weren’t not stoned when we painted some rolls…)

For the layout, we put the toilet paper rolls in a shoebox top and tucked them in with skewers, hot glued at their intersections. We also cut the hangy offy bits so there would be no puncture wounds as a result of this gift.

Then we cut circles out of fun paper to lay on top of the rolls, taped the lil party hats down, and numbered each one with a Sharpie. You can’t see from the picture, but on the back of each, we wrote teeny tiny notes like an explanation of the gift or birthday love (or just like hi! because writing small is fun!)

For the roof we hot glued some cardboard to the top and then covered it in more fun paper and glued one of the extra rolls on as a chimney.


We gave her the gift on October 6th, even though her birthday’s not until October 29th, and we asked her to open one a day. Huge exercise in self-control for Maddie. I’ll admit it, our faith in her was on the low end. I mean, if it were me I think the curiosity would have overtaken me like one of those parasites that enter fish to control their brains and get them eaten by birds… But somehow she did it! And had a great time! (actually I’m glad that didn’t happen to Maddie bc she has a fear of birds and that probably would have solidified it)

At some point in your toilet paper hoarding, you’ll also want to start thinking of and collecting gifts. This will be extra fun if you are like me and love tiny things. I started a note in my phone called “Things That Will Fit” so that if Maddie saw she wouldn’t know what it was about and maybe assume something kinky instead.

What we got her (in no particular order):

  1. Wine topper
  2. Funny coin purse
  3. Mini cheese grater
  4. Washi tape
  5. Hand sanitizer key chain shaped like a raccoon
  6. Sparkly nail polish
  7. A joint
  8. Donut headphones
  9. Lace headband
  10. Earrings from Claire’s
  11. Nose rings
  12. Bullet-style vibrator
  13. Stickers
  14. Starbucks gift card
  15. Vintage ring that says “peddle your fish elsewhere”
  16. Bow hair clips
  17. Dry shampoo (“so you can be dirty”)
  18. Contact case shaped like glasses
  19. Neon mini markers
  20. Necklace of California (where she was moving to)
  21. Nip of gin
  22. Guitar picks
  23. Handkerchief with an M on it
  24. Foot massage gift certificate (folded)



Morning Creativity has some good ideas in his original post too, albeit in a gendered / heteronormative way that makes me too mad (“she” gets paper stars with the bf’s name on them and “he” gets an I-will-dance-for-you-naked certificate ?? Fuck your stars this “she” would much rather have the naked dance plzandthankyouverymuch.)

We had more gift ideas that never panned out if you need a little extra help:

More Things That Will (Probably) Fit

  • Bottle opener
  • Candy/gum
  • Magnet
  • Tiny box
  • Tickets (a concert! a sports game! a play! especially cool if it’s within the gift month!)
  • Makeup
  • Watch
  • Scrunchies
  • Lighter
  • Lottery ticket
  • Perfume
  • Shot glass
  • Candle
  • Roll of stamps (“so we can be pen pals!”)
  • Roll of quarters (“so you can do laundry!”)
  • Starbucks instant coffee packets
  • Funky shoelaces
  • Salt and pepper shakers (two toilet paper rolls)
  • Flash drive with mixed CD or photos of you guys (awwwwww!!!)

The more trinkety / small / homemade gifts you give, the less it’ll all add up in terms of $$ in the end. I would recommend having the last gift be the most expensive (i.e. tickets or jewelry or for us it was the foot massage) or if not, it can be the most personal (i.e. a photo key chain or a letter or hey, what’s more personal than a vibrator). Either way it should be the *~gRaNd FiNaLe ~* because a) it’s the gift that’s falling on their actual birthday and b) man that’s a lot of build up.

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