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6 Great New Uses for Those Old Tires

upcycling tires

You're an arts-and-crafts-y individual with some old tires laying around the garage. That rubber is pretty—no, really—old.

Why not turn those tires into something fun and functional? An old Nexen tire makes a great planter or swing, and you'll feel good about your repurposing efforts. These simple tips will help you give those old tires a second lease on life:

Pretty Planters


Turn an old tire on its side, fill it with dirt and voilà: It's a planter. Don't like the urban graveyard look? Try painting your homemade planter with bright colors and designs. Make a taller planter by stacking two or more tires on top of each other.Looking for some way to fill an empty space on an outside shed or garage wall? Nail that tire to the wall, fill the inside rim with dirt and plant trailing flowers inside, like fuchsia or clematis. And if your backyard needs a little conversation starter, stack three or more  tires, filled with soil, then plant some grass over the top. Voilà X 2: It's a grass-covered sit-stool, perfect for parties.

Swing Away


Kids love tire swings, and so do parents. An automobile tire hung vertically makes a perfect one-person swing, while a larger tire turned on its side may be used for two or more riders.  

Safety first: Hang your tire swing from a strong branch, use a sturdy rope (or better yet, a chain), and give the swing plenty of clearance around the trunk. Drill holes in the bottom of the swing to provide drainage after a strong rain.

Sand Box


You'll need an extra large tire for this one. Wash the tire, sand it slightly and add a layer of house paint from an outdoor supply store. You can find a good deal on paints if you purchase from the "returned paint" selection. Lay it flat in your yard and fill with sand (you may want to first lay down a sheet and some cardboard to keep the weeds from growing through). This is a perfect sandbox for kids young and old.

Terrific Trellis


Thin tires with rims and spokes still attached work best for this project. Lean the tires against the garden wall for support, or consider hanging the tires from a house overhang. For a trellis that is two or more tires tall, hang the trellis from an overhead support and chain the tires together with sturdy rope or wire. Train your climbing and vining plants to attach themselves to your trellis with plant ties or twine. This homemade trellis is especially charming covered in flowering vines like morning glories and jasmine.

Hose Holder


Laid on its side, a car tire makes a perfect holder for your garden hose. Like the planter, a coat of paint will give this hose holder a more attractive flair, suitable for any garden space.

Indoor Applications


A lot of people choose to use upcycled tires in their yards without considering that tires can be used indoors as well. Laid on its side, a tire (or stack of tires) can be used to make an Ottoman, a toy box or the base of a table. For indoor use, tires need to be well-washed, and we suggest you cover them in paint or cloth to be safe.

Feel free to follow one of our colorful suggestions or try your own. You're not reinventing the wheel—just repurposing it. 

Photo by Flickr user: iquanyin.