Thinking Outside the Tube: Toilet Paper Rolls as Art

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February 24, 2012
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Thinking Outside the Tube: Toilet Paper Rolls as Art

I love seeing designers and artists reach past established mediums and think outside of the box or—in this case—the tube. These creators each embraced a canvas and material destined for the trash to create some beautiful, intriguing and downright fun pieces. Curious to learn more about why embracing creativity like this is important? You'll find me talking about it tomorrow at #wcphx Wordcamp Phoenix at 2:15 p.m. See what artistic journey these toilet paper tubes have taken ↓

Junior Jacquet enjoys bending paper to his will. By experimenting with different types of paper and molding, folding and weathering techniques, he is able to create emotive, three-dimensional work from what most of us see as a 2D canvas. His TP tube masks are one such result of his efforts, and are truly expressive.
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art

Ron Perlman at Bored Panda also took a stab at the TP mask. His turned out a little more comical and graphic.
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art

The Corner Forest and these tube creations are from New York-based artist Yuken Teruya, who regularly uses consumer goods in his creations and installations.
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art

Cleveland-based Jonah Jacobs created this vibrant 'Polyps" series using toilet paper tubes and other cardboard tubes as a base, adding salts, oatmeal, acrylic paint, dyes and a variety of fibers and papers to build out the forms. The resulting "colonies" seem to be natural, living objects.
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art

Matt Molloy used rolls as a drawing surface, creating this "Twisted Family" and using the interior surface as a negative space, adding another level of dimension to the characters.
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art

Inspired by sweetgum fruit and anemones, Ericaceous constructed these wall hangings from old tubes jazzed up with paint.
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art

Chris Crites, aka: Bagpainter, has hand-painted mugshots (People you will Never Know) on toilet paper rolls with acrylic, making a very cool, dimensional series-as-object.
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art

Photographer Claus Thiim used the cardboard cylinders to create a practical object. By joining two tubes, he constructed a negative duplicator that he affixes to his camera.
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art

Michele Pacey turns tubes into household objects and decor, sharing tutorials of the process at her blog.
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art

And just for fun... Katie Steuernagle, who blogs for Ohdeedoh and is a self-professed craft addict built this little character scene from tp tubes. Recognize any of them?
Design, toiletpaper, art

Fiber artist Sonya Philip has an ongoing project where she transforms Ordinary Objects through knitting, often replacing brands and logos with knitted and lacy patches. Her cardboard tube's addition makes it look like a feminine and meaningful object.
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art

For Anastasia Elias the rolls make a perfect compartment to view miniature scenes of life through. The contained area acts as a diorama space, and she uses the depth and shadow to create these endearing and almost nostalgic scenes.
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art
Design, toiletpaper, art

Some other hand-picked posts you might enjoy on our Design Blog:

Reclaimed Wooden Canvas Art by Duncan Johnson
Modular Forms in Paper by Richard Sweeney
Recycled Paper Tables by Matt Gagnon Studio

Some artists and images via Bored Panda and The Design Inspiration

Ward Andrews

Ward Andrews

Hi, I'm Ward Andrews. I started Design.org in 2009, you can read about why here. Thanks for participating in the Design.org Community. I also run an interactive agency called Drawbackwards. I love basketball, electronic music and creating experiences that improve daily life. You can follow me on Twitter @wardandrews.

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UI / UX Designer / Phoenix, AZ

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