Creative Upcyling Projects for Old Rubber Tires
Nearly everybody’s got old tires lying about somewhere. They’re some of the most difficult waste products to dispose, given their volume and that they can’t be incinerated.
Creative re-use is the answer. Thankfully, with recycled rubber turning into useful products for garden, landscape, and horse arena mulching, there’s been an interest in upcycling these previously unusable discards.
Living room accent piece
Forget about ordering that expensive ottoman or side stool from a furniture catalogue. An old rubber tire will make a great accent piece without breaking your decorating budget. Thoroughly clean an old tire and make sure it’s dry. Nail round wooden boards to both sides of the tire so you can attach legs to it. If you don’t want legs, you can stack your tire on top of another to serve as an ottoman.
As for covering it up to match your interiors, the sky’s the limit! Here are some ideas: crochet a cover for it, have it upholstered in leather or a fabric of your choice, wrap it in wicker for a country look, or use a custom sewn seat cover.
Small pond or wading pool
An old tire is just the right size for a wading pool or a small pond for your garden. Choose a spot in your yard where you want to install it, making sure it is not on a steep or rocky surface. Dig a hole big enough to place the whole tire in it, but with a few centimeters remaining above ground. Put a few inches of sand in the hole and tamp it down to make it flat (use a level to ensure it’s even). Place the tire above the sand, cut out the upper part of the tire so that it resembles a basin, and clean its interior of debris and stones. Wrap the tire snugly with gardening foil before heaping gravel all around it. Lay rocks and stones around its perimeter, or place small potted plants to frame it. Fill up the hole with water.
Planters and pots
The waterproof and weatherproof qualities of rubber tires make them ideal for keeping plant roots moist and nourished. You can weave strips of rubber tires to form pots, planters, and giant urns - or retain its shape and simply hang them on the walls of your garden shed so that leaves and flowers can dangle prettily.
Welcome mat or ramp runners
Flattened or woven tire strips are perfect as welcome mats. Why? They can withstand dirt, and the tire treads are ideal for scraping mud off the soles of shoes. They are also slip-proof so you can transform them into runners for ramps and treads for stairs.
Garden sculptures and playground pieces
Rubber tires are durable and can withstand many weather changes. If you’re feeling creative and want to take on a sculptural challenge, turn to old tires. You can transform them into a menagerie of rubber animals for kids to enjoy, season after season.
If you want a playground made of recycled materials that’s whimsical but not expensive, make a series of rubber tire obstacles or swings and decorate them with pieces of rubber strips in different shapes and sizes. Kids will love it, and you’ll have done your part in reducing carbon footprint.