Tonawanda News

April 8, 2013

PINSPIRED: Toilet paper roll speakers not worth it

By Danielle Haynes
The Tonawanda News

— I hate Pinterest's love of empty toilet paper rolls. 

I mean, really hate.

Folks apparently use these little rolled up pieces of cardboard to decorate their houses, keep wrapping paper rolled up, make little creatures and cars for their children to play with, make bird feeders and even decorate their Christmas trees. 

I can't stand it. Empty toilet paper rolls are not meant to decorate one's home, they're trash. Actually, they're meant to go in the recycling bin where all good used up bits of cardboard and plastic go. 

I just can't get over how tacky it is.

And then one project using a toilet paper roll I stumbled upon on Pinterest intrigued me. Could it really work?

I can trace the toilet-paper-roll-as-iPhone-speaker project to dozens of blogs and websites. Who knows who really came up with the idea, but I watched a couple YouTube videos and read a few instructional blogs on how to turn the little roll of cardboard into speakers and they were pretty much all the same. 

The steps are simple really. You take an empty toilet paper roll — preferably one from a brand that doesn't insist on using super glue on that last little bit of paper. (I definitely spent more time scraping off the toilet paper bits than I did on the project itself)

Hold your iPhone — or you could try any cellphone, I imagine — perpendicular to the roll and trace the bottom edge so you know how big to make the hole for your phone. This might take a few tries if your roll insists on doing what it does best like mine did — rolling away.

I used a pretty sharp little paring knife to cut the hole out, though I think an Xacto knife might work better. 

Scissors don't work well because you'd be bending the roll too much to make that first cut.

Once the hole is cut out, use four push pins along the bottom of the roll to stabilize it once you put your phone in the slot. 

Turn on your favorite music — I tested mine out on the Pandora Metric station — and plop it in the slot. 

The results? There's a noticeable increase in sound. Funny enough, it's harder to tell a big difference if, say, the phone is sitting on your desk while you work. The bigger difference can be detected from afar. 

Still, this isn't going to be a good solution if you want to play music while having company over, for multiple reasons. First, it's still not that loud. Second, do you really want your iPhone or iPod sitting out in a tacky toilet paper roll while you have guests?

It's hard to know in what situation the use of these "speakers" would be appropriate or helpful.

I stand by my firm dislike of Pinterest's toilet paper roll obsession. Still, it might come in handy to help project music in my kitchen a bit while I'm cooking. (Shh, don't tell anyone.)



• WHAT: Toilet paper roll as iPhone/iPod speaker • DIFFICULTY: Easy • TIME: 10 minutes or less • RESULT: Don't pin it.


Danielle Haynes is the features editor at the Tonawanda News. Find us on by searching "Tonawanda News."