10 to try: Crafty tips

Don’t bin old cardboard tubes – they might save your sanity on a dull afternoon. Here are our top 10 crafty suggestions


1 Eye-spy
Take two rolls and tape them together – and hey presto – a pair of play binoculars! However, if you think these look a bit dull, jazz them up with some paint or cover them with silver foil for a spacey effect.

2 Make a shaker
Seal up one end, pop in some rice grains or beans – and then seal up the other end. Make a pair if you dare – but seal the ends properly or you could end up with a bit of a mess if junior gets over enthusiastic with his home-made maracas.

3 Roly-poly people
Cover the rolls with white paper. Use white PVA glue to stick it securely. Then draw or paint your people on them. stick on strands of wool for hair, pipe cleaners make great bendy arms, and you can get googly stick-on eyes from any craft shop. Create a collage effect for clothes using scraps cut from magazines, foil, beads and sequins and voila! Now make a whole family.

4 Cracking castle fun
You can make a great fantasy castle using toilet rolls for turrets. Take a large carboard box as your main castle structure and cut off the opening flaps so that you have a clean edge all the way round. Then cut out battlement segments round the top, but leave out the corners. (Stop cutting approximately two inches from each corner.) Take your toilet roll and cut mini battlements out of one end. At the other, cut two slits, around two inches long, on either side of the roll and slot it on to the corner of your main castle. You’ll need to do this for all four corners. Then all you have to do is get painting and decorating. A matt grey all-over finish makes a serious fort for crafty boys, while girls can get busy with the pinks and purples for a more romantic, fairytale effect.

5 Napkin rings
Cut each tube into three pieces, decorate with paint or how you fancy and leave to dry. Coat in thick layers of white PVA glue to strengthen them and also give them an attractive, clear and shiny finish.

6 Treasure tubes
Take three or four tubes and cut into varying sizes. Seal one end of each tube using paper or card and PVA glue, then decorate with poster paints. Once dry, glue them together and select some beads, pasta shapes and sequins for further adornment. Add another layer of glue all over for additional strength and leave them to dry for at least three hours. Perfect for storing little treasures.

7 Money box
Tape three tubes together and seal the bottom ends with stiff card and the top with thick tin foil. Cut slits in the top just big enough for Fils25, Fils50 and Dhs1 coins, and get saving!

8 Pack a cracker
There’s no reason why you can’t give crackers all year round – and they’re a great way to wrap up small pressies. Take the tube and pop the gift inside, then wrap it up in paper that’s at least twice the length of the tube. Secure each end with sellotape and cover the tape with a scrap of ribbon.

9 Make a metro tunnel
Join several tubes together – you can use longer kitchen rolls too for this one. Then use little cardboard triangles (cut from a cereal packet) to stick along the outside of your tunnel to stop it from rolling over. Once it’s steady, you can paint it or leave in plain (unfinished RTA style) – and send your trains whizzing through it. This is just the right size for the wooden Thomas-the-Tank-Engine-sized toys.

10 Build the Burj
No – seriously! Hear us out. The Burj shape basically consists of cylindrical levels, getting progressively smaller as they ascend. For the base, use several tubes stuck together, we reckon around eight works well. To help keep them secure use paper clips or tape as well as glue to stick them together. Then seal the ends with paper and repeat the process again using six tubes for the next layer and stick them onto your base layer. For the third level use four tubes, the fourth level, three tubes, the fifth level, two tubes and the sixth, one tube. Then, for the seventh and final level, cut the last tube and roll it so one end forms a cone point – and stick it on the top. If you want to make your structure even more authentic in shape, use a few longer kitchen roll tubes to create a staggered layer effect. Cover the lot with silver foil and loads of PVA glue. Take time smoothing out the foil so it covers your Burj neatly. If you’re feeling really creative, use a permanent fine-liner marker pen to illustrate all the windows etc – although that could be a job for competitive dad. And, if you get bored of it being the Burj, just fix some rocket boosters to the bottom (yogurt pots are great). Sorted!

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