May 2, 2012 - Planted, Recycle & Reuse    54 Comments

Toilet Paper Roll Seed Starters

Spring is in the air and I’ve been ready to plant my garden for at least a month.  Fortunately, I remember all the times I’ve been burned (or really frozen) planting too early.  Here in Utah there is often a crazy snow storm that shows up just after I have planted my garden, but not THIS year!  I decided to harness all of that Spring fever into planting seeds INDOORS and taking them outside when the coast is clear.  I started saving toilet paper rolls after I saw a bunch of beautiful art projects people had pinned on Pinterest.  Well I tried making one…FAIL.  Instead I thought up this little project that doesn’t need to be pretty, just practical (NOTE: After a search for toilet paper rolls as seed starters, I found I wasn’t the only one with this idea but I figured I’d share my version,so here goes).

Supply List:

  • Empty Toilet Paper rolls or Paper Towel rolls
  • Scissors
  • Permanent Marker
  • Soil
  • Seeds
  • A box or container
Start by labeling each of the rolls with the name of the seeds you will be putting in it, we wouldn’t want to mix up our cucumbers and peas!  (NOTE: I cut each roll down so they were about 2/3 the length of a regular tp roll.  This makes it fit in my container and eliminates the excess dirt needed for the longer tubes) Fold two sides together so they almost meet.  Then bend and fold the pointy sides to the center.  Flip over and tuck into container.  Don’t worry if the bottom is perfectly sealed, most of the dirt will stay in
and that is all that matters.

Recycle and Reuse Toilet Paper Seed Starters

Fill up the rolls with soil.  I took mine straight from my “Square Foot Garden” box full of Mell’s Mix (if you aren’t doing a square foot garden, I highly recommend it, it makes gardening really easy).  Then press two seeds into each tube following the depth instructions from your seed’s label.  Place your container in your sink and water.  Keep them moist and in a warm location.  I kept mine in my kitchen window sill.

Recycle and Reuse Toilet Paper Rolls to Plant Seeds

Watch them sprout!  It is still so magical to watch seeds sprout

and grow into tiny plants.

Recycle and Reuse Toilet Paper Rolls to Plant Seeds

Here are the peas breaking through the dirt.

Recycle and Reuse Toilet Paper Rolls to Plant Seeds

This is my “time lapse” over two weeks.  Amazing.

These little guys are now ready to be planted in my garden.

Recycle and Reuse Toilet Paper Rolls to Plant Seeds


All I have to do now is take my little container out in the back yard, dig a hole the size of the toilet paper roll holder and plant.  I may open up the bottom of each pot before planting but it is just a matter of time and water before these disintegrate and the roots burst right through.

Recycle and Reuse Toilet Paper Rolls to Plant Seeds


So save up those empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls and

get your planting on!

Linked Up: Tatertots & Jello, Funky Junk


  • Mmm…. love the peek of those sweet little plants coming up. It’s like magic!!

  • Man, you guys must poop a lot!

    • Julie, ….wow! That is all.

  • This is a great cost effective way to plant in the house and a super space saver!! On my list for next year. For now, I will have to put up with all the assorted containers on my counter :) Good Luck with your growing season.

  • Wow this is a brilliant idea! I’ll be stealing this for next year for sure!

  • I am starting my first vegetable garden and this looks like a nifty way to start my plants.

    • Shyanne, I promise you this is as easy as it gets! I’ve tried the store bought seed starters and none have worked this well. I just planted them in my garden today and the roots were growing out the bottom. I can’t wait to watch them produce food! I heart vegetable gardening.

  • OMG!!! :) I just thought of this same idea, but was thinking of putting some type of mesh on the bottom of the roll. I’m planning on doing this for the end of the school year teacher/student gifts.

  • We did this to start seeds this year but yours stayed together much better than ours did ;)

  • Hi,
    I have been wanting to start vegetable gardening for some time now, but I’m a gardening dummie! I was wondering if this method would work for herbs too, such as basil, cilantro, etc. ? Are there certain types of vegetables that would not be wise to start this way? And when is the best time of year to start the seedlings?

    Any help would be much appreciated!!

  • So you don’t have to take them out of the paper rolls before you plant them?

    • No! Rebecca, the roots grow out the bottom and sides of the roll and they disintegrate over time. Really easy!

  • I have been saving my tp and paper towel rolls for a while now. I can’t wait to get started. I love this time of year when you can go into the stores and you know spring is coming because all the gardening stuff is there. I love seeing the new garden doodads of the year.

  • I’ve never started with seeds before but wondered, when you water the seeds in the tp rolls does it saturate the rolls and make them fall apart? or Do you rarely water them? I guess the main question is how often do you water the seeds? :)

    • Joanna, That is a great question. I water the seeds enough to keep them moist, saturating the entire toilet paper roll and soil. By the time the seedlings are ready to be planted the rolls are still held together but usually disintegrate somewhat in the garden, which is just what I want to happen. The roots poke right through the cracks and grow great!

  • I just planted my sweet peas that I started in toilet paper rolls. All of the rolls fell apart when I removed them from the plastic container I used to hold four rolls. Many also had mold on them. I am wondering if the rolls shouldn’t touch, but I notice all of the pictures I see have them toucking. I put them in a round pretzel container and left the lid on until the seedlings popped up so as not to need to water often. After that there is no top on the container and I place them in a sunny window everyday. Do you have any advice on preventing mold? My seedlings take a long time to start because our house is not kept very warm–or at least that is my assumption! Thanks.

    • Suzanne, I’m not sure. Maybe too much water and not enough sun? My container was black metal and did heat up in my west facing window. Or maybe they were in the rolls for too long? I’m not sure how long mold takes to grow. Sorry yours didn’t turn out as well as mine! Good luck, and let me know if you figure anything else out.

  • es una idea genial solo que en casa no hay jardin pero en casa tendre que hacerlo dentro de la casa

  • open the ends when you plant so the roots can have an easier time of it. Really no need to fold anyway- though it does make them easier to fill if you are holding them. If you place them inside the box, the dirt will stop at the base of the box, and when damp, it is less likely to fall out.

  • […] Wall art 7. Keep your cords neat and tidy 8. Homemade fire lighters 9. Toy watches 10. Seed starters Feel free to share your ideas below and don't forget to check out all of the FEB-U-WASTE-ARY […]

  • Wonderful idea! I’m going to share it on my site,

    • Thanks Sherry, I have a Bear right now, and I know he loved working on these with me :)

  • […] A variation on how to make the toilet paper roll starters, here […]

  • […] stacks of Pokemon cards. Now it’s been cleared off to store the random small containers and toilet paper tube pots we’ve gathered together to start seeds in. The lack of a backing makes it a perfect seed […]

  • I tried your method this year and it worked beautifully! They’ve been sprouting like champs and as soon as the weather gets warmer at night, I’ll plant them in my garden. Thank you for this clever idea!

  • […] Toilet Paper Roll Seed Starters: I tried doing this however it got all moldy for me. I believe this is because I was a little over-eager with watering. I have heard that this can work really well (if you hold back with the watering and don’t get mold) because then you can just pop your rolls into the soil and not have to worry about trying to get your seedling out of a plastic container (which I also did and lost some of them in the process. What can I say? I’m a total newbie at this!). […]

  • Hi Amanda,
    You mentioned you put 2 seeds in each toilet paper roll and it looked like both of them sprouted in many of the containers. When you transplanted your seedlings, did you thin them out or leave 2 plants side by side in the roll?
    Why or why not?

    • Gosh JJ, it’s been so long I don’t remember! If I was doing it again I’d probably thin them out just because that’s what I’ve heard is best. Best of luck.

  • […] Seed Starters from Burlap and Denim […]

  • […] the most inexpensive way to grow these is by using seeds – so click here to find out how you can grow your own food at home organically and inexpensively from seed using […]

  • […] growing pots made from recycled toilet paper rolls. Amanda from Burlap and Denim gives her instructions for fashioning the cardboard pots, which simply requires bending and folding one end of a trimmed tube to create a bottom. She […]

  • […] growing pots made from recycled toilet paper rolls. Amanda from Burlap and Denim gives her instructions for fashioning the cardboard pots, which simply requires bending and folding one end of a trimmed tube to create a bottom. She […]

  • […] early spring, get your garden started with Burlap and Denim’s Toilet Paper Roll Seed […]

  • […] Via Burlan & Denim […]

  • […] Via Burlan & Denim […]

  • Hi! I did a round up about crafts with toilet paper rolls and yours was great so I thought it would be great to include it, I hope this is ok for you. I provided your link and give credit to your site, here’s the post in case you want to check it:

  • […] For tips and tricks for making successful Toilet Paper Roll Seed Starters, click the link. […]

  • […] For tips and tricks for making successful Toilet Paper Roll Seed Starters, click the link. […]

  • […] to start some of these indoors, I’m going to need a planter! So, I found this helpful Article. And away we […]

  • It is a application that could be a compact one which is supposed for reconditioning the used as well as old batteries which makes you to use the alternatively than throwing away after some time.

  • […] A GREEN WORLD 3. Paper seedling pots (h/t Burlap And Denim) Why bother buying seedling pots from the store when you can make your own using things you already […]

  • […] See the full instructions on Burlap And Denim. […]

  • looking good

  • nice post

  • my toilet rolls are now molded what do i do??? is that normal?

  • […] SOURCE: Burlap & Denim […]

  • […] SOURCE: Burlap & Denim […]

  • I love the way you write and share your niche! Very interesting and different! Keep it coming!

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