How to Turn a Cardboard Tube into a Storage Rack


Happy Monday everyone!  I hope everyone in South Georgia is safe and dry after the awful weather we experienced this weekend.  Y’all can check here for ways to help. Please keep everyone in your thoughts and help out if you can!

What did I do while the wind was howling and the rain was pounding on my roof this weekend?  Well, I did a little DIY project to keep my mind off the weather.  Maybe that’s not the typical reaction to bad weather, but it works for me!  I needed a solution to  wrangle all my paint markers and such.  So, here’s how I turned a cardboard tube into a storage rack.  Once the tornado warnings came out, I did abandon this for safer areas in my house.  Just in case y’all are worried about my sanity!

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The Supplies

I have a “collection” of plotter paper roll tubes hanging around from my days working as a drafter.  They seemed like something that would be useful one day and today’s the day I put them to work!

They have little plastic ends on them that make them useful for storing things like Styrofoam balls and dowels.  Although, the end needs to be taped over to hold the dowels.  My husband turned one into a storage container for his arrows.

Today, I’m using them to make a storage rack to help coral some of this chaos:


These are the other supplies I used to make my storage rack:

Measuring & Cutting the Tube

The first thing I did was decide how long I wanted each tube to be.  I decided on 6″ after measuring the items I wanted the rack to hold and looking at the space where it would hang.  Here’s how I marked it on the round tube:

  1. Mark 6″ in about 4 places around the tube.
  2. Line up rubber band with marks.
  3. Connect the dots along the rubber band.

I marked one, then cut it off, and then marked the next one.

Next I had to cut these bad boys down to size!  These tubes are about a 1/4″ thick cardboard, so they’re very durable.  They are also not that easy to cut through! I used a hand saw first.  It worked, but it took forever and a day to get through the tube.  Plus it left the edges all gnarly.

So, I moved on to the box cutter!  This was easier, but not super easy still.  It took some force to push the box cutter through the tube.  I traced a line with the tip around the whole tube first, which seemed to make it a little easier.  It did leave cleaner edges too.

Either way, I didn’t get the cleanest edges, but it is cardboard after all!

Making it Pretty

I decided to jazz things up a bit with some chalk paint.  Although these paints are more expensive than acrylics, it takes way less to do the same job.  I feel they have been worth the money!

One coat was all I needed, which is awesome, especially for red!  After it dried, I went over it with some brown wax.  I love the textured look it added.

Then I thought I’d make the ends look a little better with some metallic lustre in gold.

Not too shabby!

Assembling the Rack

This part was a little tricky.  Since the tubes are round, I needed to join them at tangent points.  I roughly laid out the pattern I wanted to get an idea of where the glue needed to go.

First I ran a line of glue down one side of a tube.

Then I joined it to another tube with a little pressure.

I added a 3rd tube to the pair for one row.  Then I joined 3 more together for the second row.  I recommend waiting for this to dry before joining the two rows.  Don’t be impatient like me and try to mush it all together at once!  It’s just harder and things don’t always stay were you want them too.

I decided to offset the rows.  To get an idea of where the glue lines needed to be, I placed them beside each other.  Then I marked a line with the sharpie.

Then I drew my glue lines where the marks were.  I had to re-glue some of it after I thought it was dry.  This is why you should wait for the first part to dry!

Once the glue has set, you’re ready to load it up!  This will sit on a desk horizontally…

Or vertically!  I’m actually going to hang mine on the wall.


I will be making another or adding to this one because I need more storage!  Vertical wall storage is an excellent option for freeing up work space.

Again, please thinking of the families that were hit hard by the weather (tornadoes!) in South Georgia.  They have a long road ahead and help is needed to aid in recovery.

Thanks y’all!




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