How To Make: Owl Ornaments

by holli on December 2, 2012

On Friday, I found this Owl Ornament photo on Pinterest. I just knew I had to make it, and clicked on the image hoping it might lead me to a tutorial. Instead, I found it was a photo from Flickr taken 2 years ago by someone writing in Spanish (I could not read it). Undeterred, I decided to figure it out myself.

The motivation: we have a collection of toilet paper rolls under our bathroom sink (free craft supplies for my kids), and the school craft fair is in a week. Both of my kids want to sell something. This ornament seemed like a perfect solution. After trial and error on a few of the steps, I have a How To Make tutorial for you!

How To Make: Owl Ornaments


  • 1-20 Toilet Paper Rolls (any number you want, really)
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon or Twine (1 yard should be plenty)
  • Hot Glue Gun, 1 glue stick or less
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paint Brush
  • Black wide tip marker and a black fine tip marker
  • Newspaper for painting surface or card board box


1) Collect Toilet Paper Rolls: This might take a day or a few days to use up your toilet paper. Collect as many as you want. You could use Paper Towel rolls, but you’d need to cut them in half for ornament height (guesstimate: 3-4 inches).

2) Clean the rolls of any remaining toilet paper by rubbing it off, or having some small, sweet child with tiny fingers pick it off for you.

Fold the tops of the rolls…

3) Set a roll on a flat surface like a table and use your hands to bend one half of the roll down, then the other to overalp them.

4) Use Acrylic Paint* in your color of choice, and paint the outside of the rolls completely, even the overlap top end. I recommend setting the rolls on newspaper on your table for 2 hours of drying or in a cardboard box. Dry time: this will vary depending on temperature and humidity in your work space. Plan on leaving the project and coming back to it later in the day.

5) Prepare some ribbon or twine by cutting to your desired length for hanging the Owls. I chose to cut my ribbon into 5 inch sections.

Glue ribbon into place – in the corners of the fold.

6) Using a hot glue gun, place a bit of glue into the fold corner at the top end of the roll, place an end of the ribbon into the glue. If you need to, use the end of a tooth pick or utensil to push it into the glue. Repeat for the other corner.

Owl top glued and ready for decoration.

7) Closing the top of the owl/creating the ears: Fold one side of the roll back down, add hot glue to the lip, then fold the top half down, and press (either with your finger tip or a utensil like a popsicle stick or butter knife).

8) Now the fun part: Using a Black marker, draw your owl face, wings, feet, any markers your choose. We decided to just do the eyes, beak, chest feathers and wings. You can use any color marker you want, but don’t forget to take into account the paint color on the Owl. The darker the paint color the harder it will be to see the marker. You could also use a metallic marker for a different look.

9) Enjoy decorating, gifting or playing with your new Owl Ornaments!

*I bought white spray paint, painted the toilet paper rolls, and applied a second coat to learn something: the rolls are too absorbant for spray paint. Thankfully, I have Acrylic paint and plenty of it left over from my art painting days. The Acrylic paint did the trick: it coats the rolls and provides a nice glossy finish.

making Owl Ornaments with kids…

Kid Tips:

My 4-year-old was determined to help me with this project. Her nimble little fingers were perfect for cleaning the toilet paper rolls of remaining toilet paper. After about 5 she was bored (we had 20 to work with). She was also able to help me pick out the ribbon and cut it. And, she painted some rolls her colors of choice – I went over them with a base coat of white first. Drawing the faces was a lot of fun. I don’t recommend having a young child paint faces since it’s messy and frustrating  Markers would wonderfully, especially on a rounded surface.

Have fun and pretty please, if you use this tutorial, share a picture of your owls {Tweet me, @HolliMargell, or share in Instagram @photoholli}!

p.s. I’ve created a board on Pinterest called, Easy Christmas Gifts – there are other crafts, decorations and DIY ideas up there! Enjoy and let me know if you have ideas to share too.

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