How to make a Faux Iron Gate from Paper Tubes!

And you  have one guess as to what it is made from….

Well, if you are familiar with The Sitcom at all, then you probably already know that you are looking at a whole bunch of toilet paper tubes!  This time I was inspired by a photo of an old rusted iron gate, and I just had to pull out all those toilet paper tubes and recreate it.

I was inspired by a photo of an old iron gate, so I wanted to not only try to recreate it, but I wanted it to look rusty and old.  The final project measures 19″ wide, by 28″ tall.

For this project I used:

Approximately 30 toilet paper tubes
Approximately 10 paper towel tubes
Four lengths of 3/8″ x 21″ balsa wood
Aleene’s Tacky Glue
Brown Textured Krylon Paint
Scrap Cardboard

I began by cutting my 3/8″ balsa wood into 4 ea. 21″ long pieces.  These are the main frame of the piece and help to keep it sturdy.  Although once all the cardboard is glued together, you’ll be surprised at how sturdy the whole piece will get.  I used my graph board to line everything up, each gate being 6″ wide.

Sitcom 2 step option

I cut two pieces of cardboard 6″ wide x 3″ tall for the base of each gate, glueing everything together with tacky glue.

I used tacky glue for this project for two reasons.  It bonds quickly and makes for a super strong finished project, and it does not leave all the messy strings of hot glue.  It is awesome for paper projects such as these.

As for the design of the gate, I just went with what looked good to me, cutting the toilet paper tubes once lengthwise, and then cutting them into 3/8″ strips horizontally.  Those strips can be easily curled with the end of a paintbrush.

The straight pieces and curve at the top of the gate were created by cutting paper towel tubes lengthwise in 3/8″ strips.  Where I needed particularly long strips, I simply glued several strips together.

Sitcom 2 step option

Glue curls in place.  As the glue dries, the piece will be come surprisingly sturdy.

I chose a textured brown Krylon spray paint to create the look of brown rust.  I placed the finished project outside and simply sprayed it from all angles.  It took entire can of spray paint for this project.

The final project achieved that old rusty look I was going for.

For more details on the techniques used to create this project, be sure to check out my other faux metal wall art tutorials.

Crafts-n-things faux iron gate made from toilet paper tubes

My original toilet paper tube project is my Faux Metal Wall Art which was featured in the August issue of Crafts ‘n Things Magazine!

faux filigree frame made from toilet paper tubes

recycled toilet paper tubes faux brass wall clock

My Metal Filigree Frame and my Faux Brass Wall Clock.  And you would never know these all started off as an innocent little toilet paper tube!

For over 200 tutorials for all ages, be sure to visit my Tutorial Page!


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Angie ~ ambient wares February 21, 2017, 7:56 pm

    I asked my husband to guess what this was made of and he was just as shocked as I was 😀 This is stunning as are your other projects. Thank you for sharing this with us at Funtastic Friday! Pinning

  • Debrashoppeno5 February 13, 2017, 6:24 pm

    This is an amazing project. I would never have thought this was made from paper towel tubes. It looks great.

  • sandi magle February 13, 2017, 10:58 am

    This is an amazing project. Kudos for basically making something out of nothing. Love this…Thanks for the ideas! Sandi

  • Blanca Lozano February 8, 2017, 9:22 pm

    I loved this one!! Do you have something I could use for seniors. I give them crafts class every week. PLEASEE

  • Isabel May 15, 2016, 10:29 am

    It’s so beautiful!
    Thanks for share your creativity!

  • Anonymous April 16, 2016, 10:23 am

    I am so excited to start this , but I have to finish a baby blanket first,
    I have made pictures with the rolls and I still collect them. I have to many things to do so little time You see I am 78 years old, I will hurry
    Thank you so much for your door pattern.

    • Susan Myers April 28, 2016, 12:07 am

      You are very welcome! I’d love to see what you make!


  • Nasim February 2, 2016, 1:41 am

    Thank alot and very beautiful.

  • Lilebeth December 2, 2015, 11:32 am

    Oh fantastic Suzy it look totally real!
    Will add this (not exact copy of course) to my list of projects.

    So many todo’s and so little time!

    thank you for the idea and the clear description.

  • spence December 1, 2015, 7:05 pm

    Nice design. Came here from goog looking for metal gates tutorial hahaa and actually you have given me an idea how to do it.

  • Marie September 8, 2015, 5:17 pm

    This is beautiful! My only question is how did this take? This would be my first toilet paper roll project…

    • Susan Myers September 10, 2015, 9:23 pm

      HI Marie,
      Thank you! It took a bit of time. I believe several days. I tend to get a bit carried away on my craft projects. Would love to see what you come up with!


  • Kee June 17, 2015, 11:36 am

    This is jaw dropping fabulous!

  • Martie Rollin March 4, 2015, 1:52 pm

    This project is really terrific! who knew TP rolls could turn into something this beautiful?! Loved seeing all the photos and reading your narrative. Well done!

  • Janet January 8, 2015, 1:05 pm

    wow…really awesome! That is one great project!!

  • Rose Hominick June 30, 2014, 5:09 pm

    Congratulations on the great quilling project. I have been quilling for many years and have created hundreds of quilling projects like flowers and snowflakes. It really is a great craft, and although it looks intricate, it is one of those things that anyone with a bit of patience can do. Your project however, really takes quilling to a whole another level. You have inspired me. I am going to try to do something with toilet papar and paper towel rolls myself and see what I come up with. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Susan Myers July 2, 2014, 10:54 pm

      Hi Rose,

      Thank you so much! Would love to see what you come up with!!


    • Marie-Line February 9, 2017, 5:39 am

      I think by spraying first, then after you cut them, the edges would not be the brown spray colour, they would look like the cardboard. I suggest cutting first and then spraying. Just my 2¢

    • Marie-Line February 9, 2017, 5:40 am

      I think this is also a great way to recycle paper products.

  • Condo Blues April 4, 2014, 9:01 pm

    Girl. Whoa. Just whoa. I can’t believe your gate started life as dispenser of piddle paper.

  • Parveen March 28, 2014, 3:18 pm

    Amazing project! Quick question, would it save time (and perhaps paint?) if we sprayed the TP rolls before cutting them. And then maybe just do a quick coat at end? Especially for other TP roll projects that may not require texture finish?

    • Marie-Line February 9, 2017, 5:38 am

      I have made several Christmas wreaths as gifts to family and friends using toilet paper rolls. I also use TP rolls to wind up any left over yarn from a skein that is just about done. I use my electric mixer, hold the end the start the mixer until the yarn is all wound up around the TP roll. Then I cut a small slit and insert the end of the yarn in there so that it does not unravel. I wish I had taken pic before giving them away but now I know better 🙁

  • Parsimonious Décor Darling February 22, 2014, 8:00 am

    Wow! Just wow! Absolutely fab. Thank you for sharing!

  • Teekay July 1, 2013, 4:46 pm

    wow!!! now i must save tp rolls AGAIN 😀

  • cindy @ Upcycled Design Lab May 30, 2013, 11:53 am

    All I can say is brilliant! Love it!

  • Linda May 1, 2013, 2:08 pm

    How pretty…but that looks like a lot of work!

    • Susan Myers May 6, 2013, 10:31 am

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks so much for stopping by! Yep, it was a lot of work, but I love the results. It is fun to make things out of recycled items that look anything but recycled.

  • Pat March 26, 2013, 4:20 pm

    I want to make these in quarter scale for my fairy village. I will give you all the credit when I show the steps on my blog.

    How exciting that you can provide tuts for miniaturists like me, altho’ you probably didn’t realize you were doing that. Thanks.


  • Laura March 2, 2013, 1:22 pm

    Thanks so much,is beautiful!

  • Linda Cook February 18, 2013, 12:15 am

    Thanks for another beautiful craft!! and congratulations on having this craft in “Craft” magazine!

  • Twincat January 19, 2013, 12:53 am

    This is amazing! So beautiful and creative!

    I am thinking about doing this….but I only saw 3 pcs of woods. Where is the fourth one?

    • Susan Myers January 19, 2013, 1:32 am


      The two doors of the gate have wood on each side. There are two strips of balsa wood going up the very center of the project. Hope that helps. Would love to see what you come up with!

  • Heidi @ Mom's Crafty Space December 28, 2012, 10:57 pm

    I don’t know how I missed this one the first time around, Suzy! I’d seen the others, but not this one, so I’m really glad I saw it pinned in the round up. This is amazing! Feeling inspired! 🙂

  • ColoradoCutUp October 18, 2012, 3:52 pm

    Inspired! You are indeed the Queen of Crafts.

  • karen@somewhatquirky October 11, 2012, 3:42 pm

    Oh I think I have the perfect spot for a piece like this! I’ll let you know when I get it done. . . but don’t hold your breath because sometimes ideas stay in my que for quite some time!

  • Deborah Townsend August 24, 2012, 2:28 pm

    This is inspired! Thanks so much. This will def be on my list (after I save enough rolls of course)!

  • Nadine August 6, 2012, 1:11 pm

    Seriously!!?? I think you’re my new blogger-crush cause you have so many awesome ideas…now I’m gonna have to save my TP rolls. How can I collect enough without the hubby tossing my cardboard tube stash before it gets used…ROFL.

  • Kathy Haddock June 18, 2012, 10:23 am

    Love this project! I made a tp roll wreath and it was kind of droopy – now I know I need mor support (story of my life…LOL). Congrats on the feature in Crafts n Things too!

  • Natasha June 17, 2012, 8:19 am

    wow this is amazing!!!! can’t believe it’s made from TP rolls!!

  • Brenda Williams June 16, 2012, 9:55 pm

    Amazing! This is just beautiful. You have more talent than anyone ever. I love this.

  • Kitty Molenaar June 16, 2012, 11:53 am

    You are amazing!!! Thanks for the tutorial!

  • Ellen June 16, 2012, 9:42 am

    Now I see where you hung this! (seen on Craftsy) You are truly talented & patient!

  • Ashton Kenny June 16, 2012, 8:46 am

    I like this beautiful tutorial. By this tutorial i have learned that how can i make a nice iron gate using toilet papers as a nice show piece which i can hang on my wall. Its great. Thanks for this nice tutorial.

  • Debbie Phillips June 16, 2012, 6:36 am

    Wow, that took a lot of work. you may be the one to give me an idea. I need to build a castle front for a cross country course for a horse show in november. it has to be sturdy, weatherproof, and very cheep. Last year we built a tepee for it (theme pioneer days). This year medival times. Also prize ideas for each event if you are interested.

  • Dorothy Kennett June 15, 2012, 10:10 pm

    You’re the Queen! I love it! Thanks so much…

  • Anonymous June 15, 2012, 3:13 pm

    I just love your work! I get all weird about TP rolls that I can’t keep them and my hubby throws out the Paper Towel rolls so i never get to try this stuff.

    • Anonymous August 27, 2014, 8:15 am

      You could use all paper towel rolls or even wrapping paper rolls!

  • Renee A June 15, 2012, 10:43 am

    Shut the front door! Oh my gosh, the only thing i can say is WOW. thanks for sharing =)

  • Lori Dorrington June 15, 2012, 9:31 am

    I love it! I could not tell from the photo that it was toilet paper rolls. What a surprise. You are very talented…
    Lori D.

  • norene June 15, 2012, 8:14 am

    It looks fantastic! I think you can make just about anything out of toilet paper tubes.

  • Creative Mind June 15, 2012, 8:00 am

    Awesome..this is another great idea from you my friend..
    Thanks for sharing dear!