October 13, 2014

How To: Toilet Paper Protector

Somewhat recently, my friend Kayley adopted a curious cat. This adorable lap-cat is that causer of trouble and maker of mischief. Just a few weeks ago, she was out shopping with her boyfriend (aka this blog's Most Avid Reader) when they came home to find the cat stuck in one of her upper kitchen cabinets. My understanding is that the cat had climbed head first into the hollow area, not realizing just how far down he would descend if he climbed in all the way. I wish I had been there to witness the ridiculousness of the scene but since I was not, I only imagine the cat's tail in the air, back feet waving wildly out in the open as he clung on tight for all nine of his little-kitty-lives. It makes me chuckle a little. 

Which brings us to three weeks ago. Kayley had posted on Facebook about whether or not anyone had experienced the misfortune of having a cat who enjoys unraveling the toilet paper roll. I had done a little bit of research on Amazon and found products like this one that she could purchase to protect her TP roll from the kittens claws. But instead of purchasing something, she came up with her own solution. Behold: 

Picture courtesy of Kayley
Giving her major props for this work of art because seriously, who thinks of that? It was a solution to her problem. And free! And so this is how her toilet paper remained...

Until she needed to change the roll.

A follow up comment on Facebook stated: 

"Operation Tissue TP was a failure. Removing the tape to change the roll caused severe cabinet damage. Do not try this at home."
Apparently duct (or the cheaper "duck") tape is not faux-wood friendly. The solution to this of course is to purchase the product I listed earlier. Right? WRONG. We make them! $15? How about a big fat NOPE. I can totes make one of those and for much less than $15! So I did. And if any of you crazy cat ladies (or gents) out there have this same problem or just want to jazz up that ugly toilet paper roll to match your bathroom decor, here's a little step by step for you.

What You Need

    1/2 yard of fabricThreadNeedlesRibbonToilet paper roll on which to test/measureA sewing machine (not required as this can certainly be done by hand but I am lazy and sewing by hand takes patience and time, of which I have neither.)
    Initially I considered using Velcro. And then, I decided to use magnets. The magnets I had, however, were not strong enough to do what I needed them to do so the solution for me was ribbon (and several hours of trial and error). But luckily this is not a make it or break it type of project. 

    What You Do

    1. Measure the toilet paper roll around and across. This will define about how much fabric you need. My trial roll was 15 inches around and about 4 inches wide.

    2. Measure and cut the fabric. You're going to want to add about 2" to each of your TP measurements to determine the size for the fabric. You want to leave this extra space to ensure room for your seams. More on that later. 

    I chose zebra print fabric because that is the theme of the TP Protector's bathroom. I intended to use sparkly pink felt for the back side, thinking that the structure would help my project and this TOTALLY FAILED. I did not realize just how unworkable felt is, particularly when you're trying to turn your project right side out. So, both sides were zebra-ed. Not to mention, with the sparkly felt, I considered that the Most Avid Reader would ultimately end up with a glittery back-end at some point and I would be to blame. Somehow I didn't think he'd truly appreciate it. And I'd hate to lose my blog's biggest fan.

    3. Pin and sew three of your seams (labeled below). To do this, place your fabric "pretty-sides" together. Basically you're making an inside-out pillow case. I left just 1/2" around the edges for my seam. Also, make sure not to sew all the sides. You need to leave one end open in order to flip the mini pillow case right-side-out. If you're new to sewing check here for a tutorial from wikiHow. I like it for it's step-by-step and picture instructions. Very helpful!

    Photo taken while I still thought using felt was a good idea.
    4. Here's where I improvised with the ribbon: I decided to make "loops" that she could tie pieces of ribbon to. The struggle I had with the magnets was that they weren't strong enough to attract each other through the fabric, nor was the roll of magnets as flexible as it looked. So the ribbon was a cheap/pretty alternative. I attached the ribbon to one end (I actually had to open some of my stitches because I wanted to insert the end of the ribbon into the seam). I then used two finger width to approximately measure out the distance between stitches. Then I marked my lines with chalk and used the sewing machine to stitch across the ribbon.

    5. After I stitched the loops all the way down the length of fabric, I pinned the edges of the open end under, including two loose pieces of ribbon that would be stitched in with the seam. 

    7. And that was it! It's not exactly what I had in mind, but I think it'll do the trick. The wrap should go all the way around the paper and cover it end to end. As the roll gets smaller, you can change the adjust the size just by changing which loop you tie it through. 

    This is my first attempt at this project, so I will keep you posted on it's success rate via Kayley's musings. If it's successful, I'll probably have an entire cat-lady following and new Etsy-shop in the works. Only time will tell!



    1. Replies
      1. Thank you! It was a silly little project but I'm a novice sewer so every project helps!

    2. At first I was really confused as to why you were decorating TP (thought to self: man she takes decorating seriously) and then I read on and was like GENIUS!! My cat doesn't play with the TP but this is so smart for the curious cat owners ;)

      Katie @ www.runningaragnar.com

    3. Nice post! This is a very nice blog that I will definitively come back to more times this year! Thanks for informative post. bonrollen

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