Rags to riches. Trash to treasure. Repurposing an unwanted object into something unique and useful is an accomplishment to be proud of. There are some items, though, that even the most creative people don’t know how to repurpose.
Tires are one of those dreaded objects most people (and crafters) avoid at all costs. For one, not many people know exactly how to reuse old tires in a way that will maximize their potential. For two, if we’re truly honest, tires are very dirty, and they smell.
Despite this, repurposing them is a great option, and we’ll prove it to you. Next time you change out your wheels, keep the old ones and you, too, can attempt one of these 10 DIY projects.
Indoor Tire Projects
Making a rope ottoman out of a recycled tire follows the same principles as the trendy table below, but without the legs. If you’re wondering what to do with old tires, you could make several ottomans to give as gifts or to use around your house. Keep the rope from fraying by adding two generous coats of sealer once the rope is secured to the tire. According to Handimania, it takes about two weeks for the sealer to dry, so plan accordingly.
Bicycle Tube Belt
Get creative with your tire recycling projects by making your own belt out of the inner tube of a bicycle tire. Bicycle shops don’t usually repair tubes because they could fail again. Instead, tire shops replace the tubes, and you’re left with a tube that you can upcycle instead of throw away. Using two broken inner tubes, you can sew a belt that will work with all of your favorite outfits. Bicitoro provides tips for using your sewing machine to effectively sew the rubber tubes. You can also make a belt out of bicycle tire tread as demonstrated in this picture.
Using an old tire, some plywood, rope, table legs, and basic tools, you can repurpose tires into a trendy table. Clean the tire; then, cut a circle out of the plywood to mount on the hubcap area of the tire and a circle for the other side of the tire. This will be the bottom of the table. Build table legs to your desired dimensions, or you can buy prefabricated legs at your local hardware store. Attach the table legs to the bottom of the table. Wrap the tire in rope, using adhesive, to finish it off. To add a bit of design flair, use two different colors of rope like Sara from While They Snooze did. At the end of the day, you’ll have a one of a kind, functional piece that began with a little bit of tire recycling.
Make a Tire Stool
Grab that tire that you’ve been keeping in your self-storage unit and make a tire stool that works both indoors and outdoors. Paint the tire with primer paint. Once that is dry, paint the tire a color that matches your indoor or outdoor decor, add a plywood bottom to the stool, and then insert a cushion into the center of the tire for comfort. If you plan to use the tire stool outside, make sure the cushion and paint are designed for the outdoors. For a full tutorial about one of these uses for old tires, check out the full post at DIY Enthusiasts.
Cozy Kids’ Chair
You might not think there are cozy uses for old tires, but this project meets the mark. If you can source two used tires, a wooden pallet, a sponge, and some of your favorite fabric, you have all of the supplies you need to make a welcoming kids’ chair. The size you make the chair depends on the size of the tires that you have, and you can easily upgrade this project to a bedroom or living room chair by using larger tires. It’s the perfect solution for a custom, unique piece that’s designed to fit your space. See the full tutorial at Archieli.
Outdoor Tire Projects
DIY Obstacle Course
If you have several old tires, you can build a great obstacle course play area for your kids. Your obstacle course can be larger or smaller depending on the number of tires you have. Prime and paint the tires so they won’t crack; paint each tire a different color to make the course visually interesting for your kids. Once the tires are completely dry, set them up horizontally and vertically on a deck and attach them to the deck’s railings with large zip ties. Try to create a pattern where the kids will have to crawl, climb, and even jump over the tires. The DIY obstacle course was a hit with Jaime’s two boys. “It is great to let them out on our porch and they can run around and climb and crawl all in one place,” she writes. Jaime documents her experience building her own DIY obstacle course on her blog, Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails.
If you’re looking for some backyard fun that’s a little more adventurous than the obstacle course, try your hand at a climbing pile. Play equipment can be extremely costly, and they’re not versatile once they’re installed. If you have tire recycling plans, you can instead stack those tires to create a climbing pile that you can make and then remake again. Paint the tires fun colors, and bolt the tires together to keep them safe. Small Potatoes shares the type of paint that works best on tires, and tools and tips to make sure the tires are secure.
Painting tires, turning them inside out, and elevating them on a cinderblock or brick column will transform plain tires into regal tire planters. Turn the tire inside out—this takes patience and practice, but it can be done (and the results make it worthwhile). Place the inside-out tire on a plinth (the base of a vase), and then place the plinth on top of a cinder block column. You can even carefully cut part of the tire to create handles on your planter. Paint the project and then you have beautiful tire planters that look expensive. See the step-by-step instructions at Shoestring Pavilion. Please note, this process requires sharp knives and should be performed with care.
Bicycle Tire Crochet Rug
There are several uses for old tires, even bike tires. Broken bicycle tubes can be washed, cut, and crocheted into a versatile outdoor rug. Cut out the valves of the tubes and slit each tube lengthwise. Wash the tubes inside and out to remove the thick layer of powdered talc. We Upcycle recommends using a tent peg as a crochet needle.
DIY Tire Totter
Kids love to play on a teeter-totter; now you can make your own “tire totter” instead of wondering what to do with old tires. Cut the tire in half (which allows you to make two tire totters), then paint the tire and a piece of board in the colors that you desire. Add handles and decorate however you please. MyFixitUpLife has the full tutorial, including tips to make it toddler-friendly.
All of these projects take ugly, worn tires and turn them into true treasures. When you repurpose tires, it’s good for the environment because it keeps them out of landfills, and it’s good on your wallet because it keeps your DIY projects affordable. So next time you’re in your storage unit, pull out your old tires and put them to good use.