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8 Steps to Starting a Garden With Upcycled Toilet Paper Rolls

June 9, 2020

Follow our eight steps to start seedlings in toilet paper rolls for an easy, upcycled way to start your garden and put all those rolls to good use.

Gather Your Gear

You will need: 

  • Toilet paper rolls (or paper towel rolls)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Bag of potting soil
  • Vegetable or flower seeds
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Food storage container (or some type of tray to hold everything)

Cut Your "Pots"

Cut the toilet paper rolls in half to create two shorter tubes. You can also use paper towel rolls and cut it into multiple pieces instead of just two.

Then slice 6 notches into the end of each of the pieces (about an inch deep). Fold the newly-created tabs into the center to make a bottom for your pot.

Fill Your Pots

Fill your tube pots with soil and pack lightly. Moisten the soil and plant at least two seeds per tube. Place your tube pots in a bin until they're big enough to transplant.

Plant Your Seeds

Plant a variety of garden seeds in your tubes and mark your tubes with fruit,  vegetable or flower names. Moisten the soil again and cover with clear plastic. Keep the plants out of direct sunlight. Check your seedlings daily. Once you see sprouts in each space, you can remove the plastic and add your lighting.


Give Them Light

You don't need expensive grow lights. Simple shop lights or a window that gets lots of light will do since your seedlings won't be grown indoors long-term.

Your plants will need about 12 hours of light each day. Hang shop lights just above (no more than three inches) your seedling bins. Water daily.

Let Your Seedlings Grow

This is the hardest part, but also the most rewarding! It can be a fun pastime with kids to take a photo each week to see the progress your garden is making.

Acclimate Your Seedlings

Take the entire seedling bin to your garden and let the plants acclimate to the weather outside. Take the bin for longer periods each day as the weather warms. Once it's warm enough full-time, you're ready to transplant.


When the seedlings are acclimated and spring has truly sprung, replant your hardy seedlings outdoors. Follow spacing guidelines for each plant and unfold the bottom of the tube. Place the entire tube in the ground and the paper tube will eventually compost. Your garden is off to a great start!

Share photos of your home gardens and other upcycling projects with us at @jalifruitco on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter! We’d love to see how green your thumb is and the fruits (get it?) of your labor.

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