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15 Money Saving Ways to Reuse Old Tires (and Turn Them Into Something Practical)

·6 min read

The upcycle movement has become a great way to encourage people to give everyday items a new life rather than sending them to the dump.

One of the more versatile items you can upcycle is tires. Maybe you need a new conversation piece for inside your home or something spectacular for outside in your garden. Or perhaps you want to try a unique DIY project. Reusing old tires also saves you money on returning them to a tire shop for a fee. If you're looking for other ways to money with your vehicle consider shopping around for an affordable auto insurance policy.

If you’re ready to tackle the tires, here are a few options that can bring new life to some old rubber.

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1. Sandbox

toy truck in tire
toy truck in tire

You don’t need a square box to have a good time digging in the sand. Find an extra-large tire from a nearby recycling center and add some sand inside. You can also paint it before you put the sand in or add extra pieces to it, including a little seat made of recycled wood or an upcycled umbrella to create a backyard oasis.

2. Teeter-totter

old seesaw in kids playground
old seesaw in kids playground

This is a pretty simple but effective hack for a new toy. Cut a tire in half and then top the half with a plank of wood for a teeter-totter that’s the perfect size for toddlers. You could also personalize it with paint, glitter, and any other add-ons to make it extra fun.

3. Dog bed

Tired dog lying in a dog bed
Tired dog lying in a dog bed

Create a cool space for a furry friend out of a recycled tire. Line the inside of the tire with fabric and a cushion to give your dog a space of their own. The heavy-duty rubber may also make the bed a little more indestructible for those pups to like to really get into things.

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4. Swing

two girls playing together on tire swing in garden
two girls playing together on tire swing in garden

A tire swing is a classic and easy upcycle that’s fun for everyone. Make sure you have a sturdy rope or chain as well as a tree branch that can hold the extra weight. You also may want to decorate the tire with paint or other additions to get yourself in a swinging mood.

5. Mirror frame

Old carved round mirror with gilding
Old carved round mirror with gilding

Check with a Buy Nothing group in your area to put this project together. You need two different pieces to work with: An old mirror and a bike tire.

Using a bike tire makes it easier to manipulate around the edge of the glass without worrying too much about breaking it. You can also get some paint to put a few coats of color on the old rubber and make it match your current decor.

6. Planter

Wrap some rope around a tire and add some soil and flowers inside to give your backyard a pop of color. If you don’t have the space to have a planter on the ground, consider converting a tire into a hanging planter instead.

7. Table

homemade furniture set of old used tires and wood
homemade furniture set of old used tires and wood

Check a local upcycling or a Buy Nothing group for a free piece of glass. You can use this to top one tire or several stacked together to create a modern coffee table or end table for your living room.

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8. Chair

decorating the old tire chairs
decorating the old tire chairs

Check an upcycle or Buy Nothing group for an old chair frame. Instead of reupholstering it with fabric, you can replace the seat and back with tire treads to give it a modern twist on a mid-century design.

Pro tip: Mid-century modern furniture has become popular again, so consider a side hustle reselling this trendy furniture as a way to make some extra money.

9. Trash can

funny trash bin made from old tires
funny trash bin made from old tires

Do you like entertaining outside or hosting barbecues in your backyard? Stack a few tires and put your plastic trash bag in the middle to have a one-of-a-kind outdoor trash can. The unique trash receptacle may also encourage more friends and family to toss out their plates and cups instead of leaving them for you.

10. Garden beds

plant planter box is made from used F1 racing car tires
plant planter box is made from used F1 racing car tires

Want a raised garden bed, but don’t have the hundreds of dollars needed to buy one? Get some old tires to create raised beds for the fruits and vegetables you want to grow. You can also use them or any number of flowers or decorative bushes as well.

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11. Wishing well

Small cottage and wishing well surrounded by spring daffodil flowers
Small cottage and wishing well surrounded by spring daffodil flowers

This could be a fun project to add some whimsy to your backyard. Tires can be stacked on top of each other to create a well and you could build a small frame to hold a bucket. You may be surprised how much your kids could enjoy “fetching” water in the summer sun.

12. Bike stand

tires mountain bike wheel rear end stand in a row
tires mountain bike wheel rear end stand in a row

If you’re a family that likes to ride together, think about burying some tires in your yard to create a bike stand for your two-wheeled fun. You may want to measure the width of your bike tire before you start digging to know how close you’ll need to put the tires for the maximum amount of space to secure your bike.

13. Steps

stone filled tires
stone filled tires

Instead of trying to wind your way down a steep hill in your backyard with just a path, consider adding tires in your yard to help make the slop a little less slippery.

14. Stair treads

staircase with black cast iron treads
staircase with black cast iron treads

Do you have slippery steps on your back porch or worry about stumbling on outdoor stairs for your home? Cut up some tires and nail down the treads to provide a little more grip as you walk up and down. Recycling them in this way may be a much cheaper option than trying to have new stairs installed or having a professional fix them.

15. Wreath

Creating a wooden wreath with flowers
Creating a wooden wreath with flowers

Instead of decorating your door with a traditional wreath, try something new with a wreath made from a bicycle tire. You can paint it different colors or add a variety of items depending on whether you want a general decoration or a more festive holiday wreath.

But be sure to get a sturdy hook for it. The heavy tire may be no match for typical wreath hooks.

Bottom line

Recycling and upcycling tires is a great way to save money as well as reuse that rubber from being tossed in a landfill. These ideas may be a good place to start, but there are plenty of others that you may discover along the way. Let your creativity run wild and enjoy the ride. Another way to save money with your vehicle is to shop around for an affordable car insurance policy to bring your overall car costs down.

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This article 15 Money Saving Ways to Reuse Old Tires (and Turn Them Into Something Practical) originally appeared on FinanceBuzz.