Take The DollarStore Delights Toilet Paper Challenge. What Can You Do With A Package Of Toilet Paper Besides Using It For Its Original Purpose Or Blowing Your Nose Into It Or Using It To Decorate A “Friend’s” House?

July 12, 2010

My dad always told me, yesterday’s news is today’s toilet paper. • Syneca Puryear

My aunt in Knoxville would bring newspapers up, which we used for toilet paper. Before we used it, we’d look at the pictures. • Dolly Parton

Before you can use toilet paper rolls for RecycleLit activities like July Fourth’s “Ire Crackers,” you’ve got to empty them. The Real Housewives of Orange County had some grown up fun TP-ing a castmate’s home. There’s a South Park episode featuring rollish foolishness too. As the prison warden says to Officer Barbrady, “Josh Myers TP-ed over six hundred houses in less than a year. He’s a real monster.”

I’m not suggesting you indulge in such monstrous Charmin® hijinks. I’m not fond of activities that create unnecessary and unpleasant work for others. I try to avoid dununtas that I wouldn’t want dununta me. Instead, why not make some toilet paper modeling clay? This traditional indigenous folk art is a prison favorite that utilizes toilet paper, water, white glue, and cornstarch.

The following instructions are from Yuckology 101: Vile and Disgusting Activities for Children of All Ages (Dr. Z’s House of Fun–thanks to Linda Hartley for figuring out measurements!):

Provide each person who’s claymaking with a cereal bowl with a quarter cup of water, two tablespoons of white glue, and a quarter cup of cornstarch. Mix well with a finger, preferably one attached to a hand.

Give each person a long piece of toilet paper—about three yards—that hasn’t been used to blow the nose or. . . . . and have them mash their paper into a ball, then submerge it in the water.

Squish the paper over and over again in the water/glue/cornstarch mixture, working it into a ball of dough.

Squeeze the ball of TP dough hard to remove all of the excess water. If it seems too dry, add glue or water, no more than a teaspoon at a time.

Note: These instructions are only guidelines since some brands work better than others; thus the recipe may vary. Some recipes omit the cornstarch and use only paper, water, and glue. The best TP for this activity—prison paper—is not readily available to the general population. However, teachers report that school toilet paper also works well.

Shape the clay as desired, placing finished pieces on plastic wrap or foil. Flat shapes work best. Let dry for two to three days. The clay can be tinted with food coloring, but beware, since this stains if it spills and can make a mess.

You can also seal the shapes by painting them with white glue. After the glue dries, the pieces can be painted. Toilet-shaped ornaments are particularly delightful when hung from a ToiletTree, providing a festive decoration for any holiday.

Take the DollarStore Delights Toilet Paper Challenge: Think beyond its original purpose. What else can you do with a package of four rolls of toilet paper?

I’ve learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes. • Andy Rooney



  1. I needed a lovin’ Zinnful today! I just finished my first day. I’m exhausted, but so excited at the same time. It’s easy to forget, with all of the meetings, the emergency response drills, the computer and phone glitches, just what I’m here for. My students today and the re-energizing read helped me remember.

    • So delighted to hear from you! I completely understand the combination of exhaustion and excitement since I seem to pingpong between these two myself. I also understand how difficult it can be to remember exactly why you’re there–teaching is never boring, but sometimes the competing demands can be a bit overwhelming.

      I’m sending Zinnergy your way, confident that you’ll be able to stay sane, inspire students, and TEACH with grace and style!

      I’ll be back on blogging as soon as school starts or maybe even a bit before. I just found that doing it on vacation made it impossible for me to shut my feverish brain off!


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