Cylinder – Surprise Cylinders! (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , August 24, 2008 9:51 pm


My camera cable is back so I can join in again, hooray!!!

When I picked the theme of cylinder for this week’s Unplugged Project, I was thinking of all the toilet paper we usually seem to go through so quickly. Guess what: this week, not one empty roll of toilet paper. How did that happen? And I was counting on it!!

I did finish a roll of wrapping paper though, so we used that for our cylinder. Have you noticed that they don’t make those wrapping paper rolls like they used to? Instead of being like long paper towel rolls, they are now simply curled up, thin cardboard.

Anyhow, we made it work for the Surprise Packages that I had in mind. My 8 year-old daughter’s best friend is moving far away to Washington State next week, so she wanted to make something special to give to her. It turned out that this project was perfect.

For this, you’ll need a cardboard cylinder (toilet or paper towel tubes would work best, but as you can see here, wrapping paper inserts can work too). Also, wrapping paper, or plain paper decorated by your children with markers, stickers, etc. Plus scissors, a hole punch (fancy or plain), and either ribbon or yarn.

Since we used the flimsy wrapping paper cardboard, we had to tape it into a cylinder:

Next, if your cylinder is long (ie. paper towel or wrapping paper length), cut it to the desired length. Be sure to consider that you will be making 1″- 2″ closing flaps at both ends, so please take that into account when calculating your desired length (add about 2″- 4″ to the overall length for the closing flaps).

Wrap the cylinder in wrapping paper (or paper decorated by the kids, or newspaper, magazine pictures, anything!!). Cut four slits on each end, all opposite one another:

You will end up with four tabs on each end, like this:

Punch one hole in each tab (large enough to put the string or ribbon through). I would recommend a normal single hole punch, that way you can make the tabs shorter so they will close better. I couldn’t find mine, so I used a fancy punch which made nice heart shapes, but required a longer tab to work:

Once the holes are punched in each tab, thread the ribbon/yarn through the holes on one side to tie the flaps up. First pass the yarn through two opposite holes from the inside out, like this:

Do the start of a bow to tie up the first two flaps (an extra set of fingers to hold everything down while you tie is recommended!):

Thread the ribbon/yarn through the remaining two opposing holes in a similar fashion. Pull tight, then tie a full bow:

Fill the surprise package with whatever you like. My daughter used leftover candy from a friend’s birthday party (that hadn’t yet made it to the Candy Bank), the punched-out hearts, some “special rocks,” and a note that she wrote:

Actually, one advantage of a fancy hole punch is the punched-out confetti that you can make to put inside your surprise tube. My daughter had fun making lots of hearts from the extra wrapping paper scraps:

Once filled, tie the other end the same way as the first end.  And…the final product:

I think that these could be fun to make for any holiday, or birthdays. They are also wonderful everyday storage containers for special treasures.


What did you create for the Unplugged Project theme of cylinder? I’d love to see, and so would many other people. So if you did a cylinder project this week, please put the link to your project in Mr. Linky below. If you are merely stopping by to check it all out, please do not link, but read about the Unplugged Project here to see if it is something you might want to do.


The theme for next week’s Unplugged Project is:




18 Responses to “Cylinder – Surprise Cylinders! (Weekly Unplugged Project)”

  1. Christie says:

    : ) It is funny that we had the same idea with different end results. We had fun with it and now I will have to try your idea. My own daughter’s birthday is coming up and I’ve got jewelry for her. I think I will try your project for that!

    Christies last blog post..Unplugged-Cylinder

  2. shawna says:

    Thanks again for getting our brains going, cylinder required a lot of thought! I love to see everyone’s great interpretations, and I love getting to spend time as a family. We both work, so we play “pass the baby” and it’s nice to have something to reconnect us during the week.

    shawnas last blog post..Unplugged #2: Cylinder

  3. Nature Mama says:

    What a fun project! This would be great at Christmas time. We always have little goodie boxes at the dining room table filled with candies on Christmas eve and this would be fun for the kids to make for it instead of pre-made boughten ones :) Definitely going to have to remember this one!

    Nature Mamas last blog post..Unplugged Project ~ Cylinder (Pencil Game)

  4. Michelle says:

    Your surprise tubes are very cute. They look like a great idea for party favors. We have a couple Fall bdays coming up… I will have to remember this idea.

    Michelles last blog post..Cylinders (Weekly Unplugged Challenge)

  5. Heather says:

    Another great project as usual. What a sweet gift to give her little friend.

    Heathers last blog post..Unplug your kids…..Cylinders

  6. Lisa says:

    This idea might save me some dough, as we’ve got a birthday party to attend this Friday. Opening up a bunch of small presents like this would be fun for a 5-year-old!

    Lisas last blog post..Wooden cylinders

  7. Ashley says:

    This is a really cool idea. Could be fun for birthday parties. I love it.:)

    Ashleys last blog post..Unplugged Project~Cylinder

  8. Oh these look like fun! Great idea!

    Looking forward to next week!

  9. Baba says:

    Great project for kids to make for any occasion. Thanks!

    Babas last blog post..Blog giveaway

  10. Candy Cook says:

    Awesome! I’ve been such a slacker. I haven’t done an unplugged project in forever. Oh well, this week is insects and my son loves insects… in fact, he can catch a fly with his hands. Gross. But, atleast he doesn’t eat them like my dog.

    We’ll definitely be able to come up with something for the insect project. I’m sure.

  11. […] August 26, 2008 in Kids Crafts This week’s unplug your kids’ challenge was “Cylinder”. […]

  12. Very cute container. I usually just wrap it like a christmas cracker. Paper around the cylinder part, and then tie a ribbon around the ends. Yours is reusable though.

  13. C says:

    Thanks for the inspiration. Would love to see some things from families with older children. Are there any?

    Cs last blog post..Unplug Your Kids Again

  14. Kate in NJ says:

    Looks great, hopefully next week we can join in again.

    Kate in NJs last blog post..Monday,Monday

  15. Dana says:

    Thanks for another great assignment! We’ve missed the last few and hope to do this more regularly now. It’s a lot of fun and I love reading the ideas that others have come up with.

    Danas last blog post..Unplug Your Kids: Cylinder (or… Andy Warhol)

  16. kristen says:

    Love the crackers you made! We made rain sticks this week.

  17. […] Unplugtyourkids (con le istruzioni per realizzare dei bellissimi contenitori regalo) […]

  18. […] Unplugtyourkids (con le istruzioni per realizzare dei bellissimi contenitori regalo) […]

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