Don't Deflate: 7 Uses for Used Tires

1. Tire Flower Pots

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The perks: Tire planters are durable and easy to transport. Tires are especially great for plants that thrive in hot climates: tires capture and retain heat so the soil inside will remain nice and toasty.

Difficulty level: 1 2 3 4 5

Creating tire flower pots takes some serious upper-body strength. Cutting through a tire isn't easy, and most people recommend flipping the tire inside out to make it more aesthetically pleasing. After the initial grunt work, though, tire flower pots are easy to paint and decorate.

Tire Tip: Avoid planting edible vegetation in a tire flower pot. As tires slowly decompose, they can release chemicals like zinc and cadmium, which are will make your turnips toxic and your huckleberries unhealthy.

Tire to Use: Off-road tires will have beautiful, unique textures.

2. Tire Sandals

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The perks: Tire sandals are incredibly popular in developing countries because the materials are cheap and easy to come by, as well as being durable both in the sub-Saharan and in the foothills of Mt. Everest.

Difficulty level: 1 2 3 4 5

As long as a sharp knife is available, creating tire sandals is fairly straight-forward. After you cut a tire so it lies flat, simply trace the shape of the sole and cut it out. Thin straps, either from the tire or another material, are then criss-crossed over the foot and knotted or melted into the sole of the shoe.

Tire Tip: Steel-belted tires will make this project impossible. Try looking for spare tires, older tires, or strips of tire that peel off of trucks on the highway.

Tire to Use: Look for a motorcycle tire that is durable, but small enough to maneuver and manipulate.

3. Tire Swing

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The perks: Tire swings are classic playground pastimes, as well as great additions to a backyard. Kids love 'em, they are easy to make and less dangerous than a trampoline.

Difficulty level: 1 2 3 4 5

Most tire swings are suspended by chains or by rope. If you are using chains, imbed eye-bolts into the tire, and attach the chains with S-hooks. With ropes, make sure you are really good at tying knots.

Tire Tip: Choose your tire wisely. In this case, bigger isn't necessarily better. Choose a tire that matches the size of the individual who is going to ride it.

Tire to Use: A standard truck tire is a good bet for tire swingers of all shapes and sizes.

4. Tire Retaining Wall

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The perks: Solid and reliable, tire retaining walls are also wildly versatile. They can be used as the interior structure and then covered with stucco or stone, be filled with dirt and serve simultaneously as planters, or be left exposed.

Difficulty level: 1 2 3 4 5

You should probably know a thing or two or structural integrity and design before you go out and build a house out of tires. Tire walls are built using staggering courses, like that of a brick wall, and each tire course is set back 3 inches from the previous to keep it from toppling.

Tire Tip: Finding enough tires for a wall can be tricky, even though they are putting a huge strain on landfills and dumps. Call around to local waste management sites to see if they have any, or if they can recommend a place. Or, talk to your local auto mechanic to see where he or she disposes of their used tires.

Tire to Use: When it comes to long-lasting structures, the stronger the better. Try bus tires, which tend to be ultra-durable.

5. Patio Furniture

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The perks: Patio furniture made out of tires will make you the talk of the neighborhood. It's innovative, eye-catching... though a little "rubbery" smelling when in the sun.

Difficulty level: 1 2 3 4 5

Constructing an entire backyard out of tires is going to take a lot of imagination and trial-and-error. Since tire furniture and tire hammocks are not very popular, there are few how-to tutorials to follow. Patience is key when you take on this project!

Tire Tip: Don't limit yourself to one type of tire. A variety of sizes, styles and types is where the beauty of design comes in to play.

Tire to Use: Mix it up! Try a combination of agricultural tires and motorcycle tires with interesting patterns.

6. Tire Compost Bins

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The perks: Compost bins are heavy enough so air won't seep through the cracks, and you can choose your own size: just stack 'em up till you're happy.

Difficulty level: 1 2 3 4 5

Stack 'em up. It's as simple as that.

Tire Tip: This is the perfect project for the old tires you have laying around your garage or barn.

Tire to Use: As long as their sizes are consistent, any tires will do, but car tires seem to have the most compatible dimensions. Try an eco-friendly, green tire for your garden compost bin.

7. Tire Sculpture

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The perks: Instant fame as the Ultimate Tire Artist.

Difficulty level: 1 2 3 4 5

It depends on how talented you are.

Tire Tip: Life as a starving artist is appealing to only some. No matter how cheap white marble is in today's economy, used tires are cheaper. They are free.

Tire to Use: Any wheels & tires that you can get your hands on.

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