Crafting, Mechanic Style

August 22, 2016

One of my hobbies is crafting (although I must admit, I plan more crafts than I actually complete). I try to use items I already have or find and “upcycle” them, rather than spending a fortune at a craft store. I have made my share of magazine organizers from cereal boxes, cotton swab holders from Mason jars, and planters from empty milk and orange juice jugs. My wine glasses are held by an old garden rake head, my message board is a painted cast iron skillet, and a kitchen chair who lost its seat is now holds flowers by my driveway.

Many of my craft ideas are “pinspirations,” as I am a Pinterest junkie (talking to my friends, I know I am not alone). When looking at the “upcycling” pages, I found lots of ideas including recycling tires. I knew companies recycled tires into playground and athletic field cushioning, flip flops, and asphalt. But recycling at home? Hmmmmmm…..
I asked Johnny what happened to the old tires at his shop; he explained that he has to pay per tire to have them removed by a recycling company. I asked if he had any he would be willing to bring some home for me to use. Although he thought I was a bit crazy (nothing new there), he agreed- it would be 4 less he would have to pay to remove.

And so began my “retired tire” projects. I discovered that Johnny had beat me to the recycling, using pieces of tires as bumpers on our dock. Not exactly gorgeous, but how gorgeous are dock bumpers?
An easy project was using one as my compost/ earthworm garden. Easy to create- fill a tire on the ground partially with dirt, add whatever I am composting, and let the kids add worms as they find them. My camouflage: putting it in the woods near our house.
Since my project tires came from Johnny’s shop, it was only fair to include the office in my collection. I found a lawnmower tire to turn into a wreath that I change periodically with the seasons. He says it is one of the first things customers notice and he receives compliments on it regularly.

Back at home, the idea list was growing:

  • My yard tools that had been piled up against the porch railing were given a home. By stacking the tires (and bolting them together), the shovels, rakes and oddities could stand inside the tire tower. My daughter improved it by painting flowers on the side.
  • Filling one with pine shavings made a wonderful outdoor bed for our cats, who like to snuggle.
  • We used two tires stacked for growing potatoes. Again, not as attractive as the bins you see in the garden catalogs, but way cheaper.

I purposely stayed away from ideas that involve cutting the tire– I am not a fan of getting sliced by the steel belts in a tire. Besides, cutting a tire sounds entirely too much like work.
As is usually the case, my “oh, we can do that” list grows faster than my “I have time to do that” list. But I am still hoping to build a tire ladder (attaching several to an inclined board to use with the sliding board)
for my nephew, some outdoor seats (stack/ attach two and support a seat cushion for the top) and of course, an actual old-fashioned tire swing.
So, what have you done with old tires? Share here and give me more ideas!!