Retire Your Tires

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Re-Tire Your Tires

What item that is typically dropped off without a second thought can actually be turned into shelving, planters, and ottomans? Tires! Tires are often seen as useless after they cannot be used for vehicles anymore except for the occasional tire swing, but with a little craftiness and imagination they can have multiple uses and look good too! In this article, I will give instructions on some alternative uses for tires after they cannot be used on your vehicle anymore. Before all of these projects, do a quick wash and scrub of your tire with a household degreaser if necessary and let it dry so that it is ready for its new life!

Shelving: Everyone is starting to go on vacation and often we bring back little souvenirs to display to bring back memories. Use an old tire so that you have more display space and can show off anything you picked up on the road. To make shelving you’ll need one tire, 1 8’ 1X6 pine board, 12 #6x1” Panhead screws, 1 can of quick-dry grey spray primer and a can of quick-dry spray paint that both bond to plastic.


First, cut out the shelving using the measurement of the diameter of the inside circle and an added 2” to each side for the middle board and the inside center circle diameter measurement for the top and bottom shelves. Then wedge your middle board into the tire, followed by the top and bottom boards. Use a metal drill bit slightly smaller than the screw size and pre-drill through the side of the tire and into the boards.


Now, disassemble the shelves so that you can prime and paint the unit. Afterward, reassemble your tire and screw in the shelves through the side of the tire. For more security, you can dill large holes in the top of the back of the tire and fit it over the screw heads on the wall. Set any type of knick-knacks on the tire that you would like and you are good to go!


Planter: When creating a planter out of a used tire, check to make sure that it can be inverted. To do this; push the tire in where the sidewall meets the tread. If it can be easily pushed in, you’ve got a keeper!


Cut out a pattern using a sharp knife (pointed away from you) or florist shears. You will not be able to cut into the tread because there is a steel cable there, so plan accordingly. Then, turn your tire inside out.


You can stop here and put in whatever soil mixture and plants you would like, but you can also make a small platform with short planks of wood to fit under the tire with slight spaces in between for drainage.


Ottoman: For this piece, you will need ¼” plywood cut into two circles of 55 cm diameter, six screws, a hot glue gun with at least 6 tubes of glue, 5kg long and 10mm thick natural sisal twisted cord, and concentrated brush sealer.


Place one plywood circle on the side of the tire and drill three holes on the edge in three distant points. Make sure that it is deep enough that it goes into the tire. Screw the plywood into the tire and then repeat both steps on the other side of the tire. Using the hot glue gun, begin gluing down the cord from the center of the plywood in a tight, spiral pattern. Continue gluing on each round of the spiral. Once you have covered the top, continue the same process on the edge of the tire continuing until you reach the bottom board. Apply the sealer and cover all of the cord with the sealer twice. Let the sealer completely dry for two weeks and then it is ready for use inside or out!


If you just have too many tires to re-purpose, you can drop them off at any convenience center for a small fee where they will be recycled.


Amy Hartline is the recycling and education program coordinator for the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority. Have a recycling question? Contact her at (706) 278-5001 or