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I have a quick back to school recycling project for you today. We are going to turn some cardboard tubes into a fun desk caddy, all decked out in stripes and polka dots, perfect for the preteen or teen homework desk!

This is an easy project, so I’m sparing you the step by step photos. You don’t really need them anyway, it’s pretty self explanatory. Polka dots are made using the handle of a paintbrush dipped in paint, and stripes are made with a long liner brush. You can even find those brushes made specifically for making multiple lines as once. I used the one in this package[1], it’s the one on the far left hand side.

Recycled Cardboard Tube Desk Caddy

This is easy to make and a great project for teens. They can make it completely on their own, or with help from you if they want it. I used Craftsmart paint, which you can find at Michaels. Any craft paint will do. If you want to know the exact colors, they are listed in the printable version below.

What you need:

  • 3-4 recycled cardboard tubes (from toilet rolls, paper towels, wrapping paper, foil, etc)
  • 8x8 inch piece of cardboard (cereal box, back of writing pad, etc)
  • toothpick
  • Espresso
  • Pale Blue
  • Golden Brown
  • Vanilla

What you do:

  1. Cut cardboard tubes into varying lengths to your liking. For example, short ones are great for pushpins or paper clips, while taller ones are ideal for paintbrushes or pens.
  2. Paint cardboard tubes with the base colors Espresso, Pale Blue and Golden Brown.
  3. Use the same colors, plus Vanilla, to decorate each of the tubes. The handle end of a paintbrush is great for adding polka dots, a liner brush is good for stripes and a toothpick is perfect for tiny dots.
  4. Paint the cardboard square with Espresso.
  5. Hot glue the tubes to the base.
Recycled Cardboard Tube Desk Caddy





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