Four DIY Projects for Upcycling Your Old Tyres

Sustainability measures have been on the agenda for decades, as evidence continued to mount regarding the human impact on climate change. With the truth of the climate crisis growing clearer to communities, environmental causes have swiftly become not only mainstream, but on trend! Indeed, business leaders correctly predicted the swift uptake of sustainable living at the start of 2021, as upcycling and waste-free living became aspirational goals and aesthetic ideals.

Car tyres are notoriously hard to recycle, which makes them an excellent target material for makers and upcycling enthusiasts alike. There are many things you can do with a used car tyre to elevate your home and make use of a useless thing, and here we hope to illustrate some of the more useful ways you can do so.

Before You Start – Sourcing Old Tyres

One of the easiest ways to acquire old tyres for upcycling purposes is to visit your local mechanic or service centre, but even though these tyres are used you may well have to pay for them. However, there is another place you can get old tyres to upcycle and get more from your money in the process: your own vehicle. The tyres on your car may be nearing the end of their life and could be prime targets for your upcycling mission. But first you’ll need to remove them.

Replacing Your Tyres

To remove your own tyres, you’ll need a car jack lift your vehicle and a cordless impact wrench to loosen and remove the tight lug-nuts holding the wheel in place. Replacing tyres is simple if you have a new set ready to go, as you can work your way around the car, lifting one wheel at a time and replacing it with a new one. Getting the old tyre off is the easy part; more difficult is removing the tyre from its rim.

Removing the Tyre from the Rim

There are a number of ways to go about it, but the most cost-effective involves a car jack, crowbar, and your vehicle itself. The first step involves separating the rim from the tyre bead, a steel braid that holds the tyre to the rim. With patience, lowering your vehicle directly onto the rubber sidewall of the tyre with your jack can separate the bead from the rim. Now you can use your feet to stamp the sidewall past the rim, after which you can fit your crowbar between the tyre and rim to pry the rim up and out. A lubricant like WD-40 can expedite this process.

With some time and labour – or with a small investment into your local garage – you’ll now be in possession of at least four used car tyres to upcycle whichever way you’d like. But how exactly could you upcycle them?

One – Tyre Swing

The first option is the simplest, and the most effective for the effort involved in crafting it: the humble tyre swing. This classic use for used tyres will never go out of fashion, and the durability of tyres means the swing could last as long as the tree branch or pole that supports it. All you’ll need is your tyre and a heavy-duty piece of rope that can support the weight of a human – though a cordless drill may also come in handy.

At its simplest, you could tie the rope around the tyre with a double bowline knot, and then again around a tree branch or pole. For a more comfortable design with smaller tyres, you could drill three holes into the sidewall of the tyre, thread your rope through them and hang it horizontally.

Two – Ottoman

This option is a little more craft-intensive, but the end results speak for themselves. First, cut two circular pieces of wood slightly smaller than the outer diameter of your tyre. Glue these to each side of the tyre with a suitable adhesive. Next, you will need a considerable length of yarn or rope. The plan is to wrap the tyre completely in the rope or yarn, starting with a coil from the centre of the wood panel and using a glue gun to fix it to the tyre surface. When completely covered, you’re done! Though you can also apply a sealer to the rope to make it waterproof for outside use.

Three – Tyre Planter

Turn your old tyres into chic hanging or wall-mounted planters with some simple modifications. First, use a drill to create a hole in the centre of the tyre’s tread. Here, you can fit and affix a hook or a length of chain, from which the tyre will hang. If your tyre is going outside, drill three holes in the tread on the opposite side for drainage. Simply fill the inside of the tyre opposite the hook with soil and plant your chosen flora! For added wow factor, you could stick a battery-powered LED inside the tyre above the plant, for a unique spotlight effect.

Four – Garden Feature Pond or Sandpit

Lastly, but certainly not least, your old tyres can fulfil upcycling form and function at the same time, in the form of a garden feature with berries and flowers. You’ll need to dig a shallow hole the diameter of your tyre, and wrap said tyre in a waterproof plastic before lowering it flat into the hole. You can now build up around the outside of the rim with rocks or soil, before filling the centre of the tyre with – well, with whatever you like! You could create a sandpit feature for your children, or you could make a pond feature to harbour wildlife and provide a unique place to relax.

Vivian Le

Vivian Le, possessing a Master’s in Architecture from Harvard University, has been transforming living spaces with her DIY expertise for over 15 years. Since joining us in 2020, Vivian has shared her creative and practical solutions, inspiring countless readers. Her experience ranges from small home improvement projects to large-scale renovations. In her leisure time, Vivian enjoys pottery and exploring historical architecture. Apart from that she is also a passionate urban sketcher, often found capturing the essence of various cityscapes.

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