Tube Letters: An Easy Birthday Garland Alternative!

In our house we have a tradition of leaving birthday messages for each other as a birthday morning surprise. They're usually in the form of garlands or banners, strung across doorways or along the edge of the mantel. These tube letters, from our book, Paper Goods Projects, are a fun way to display a message, no tape or string required! And they marry type and cardboard tubes, two of my favorite things!


There are letter templates for these in our book but you can eyeball them pretty easily too! ***A tip for drawing your own letters: For one-sided, asymmetrical letters (as in the letter P or B or D), more than half the tube must remain uncut at the base or the letter will tip over....this is why the P has such a chubby base!***

toilet paper tubes (paper towel tubes work too, cut down to size)
double-sided tape
craft knife
craft paint in various colors
primer (optional but the paint colors will look more vibrant if you prime the cardboard first)

  1. If you have them, trim the letter templates and tape the them to the tube. If not, pencil your letter outline onto the tube, drawing the letter onto the front half of the tube and a mirror image on the back side (see tip, above).
  2. Trim the letters along the template's dotted line or your pencil line. (If you have the book, there are tips for using the template on page 93).
  3. Prime the tubes (optional) and let them dry. Paint.

Once you get the hang of cutting out these letters, you can create your own to spell out a name or even a whole alphabet as an educational craft. Have fun!!