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How to make planters out of old tyres

Updated April 17, 2017

Recycled tyre planters change worn out rubber rims into colourful blooms to hold your flowers and vegetables. It may seem like a simple idea, but the execution can be tricky. This flower planter design was displayed in workshops during the West Tennessee Research and Education Center's annual "Summer Celebration" in Jackson, Tennessee. Choose a tyre with worn patches to make it easier to work with. If you do not have a tyre, check with your local tyre dealer. Old tyres can be expensive to dispose of legally, so many tyre shops and garages are willing to give them away for free.

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Making initial cuts

  1. Lay the tyre flat on the ground. Position the circle stencil (or substitute item to trace) in the centre of the tyre's top border (between the doughnut hole centre and the trod rim). Trace the circle with chalk. Move the stencil next to the new circle. Trace it again. Continue until you have a border of chalk circles around the tyre's top border.

  2. Look at the pattern you have drawn on the tyre edge. Notice the scalloped border facing the doughnut hole. Ignore the rest of the circle; wipe away the bottom half of the circles if necessary. Focus only on the scalloped border closest to the doughnut hole.

  3. Cut along the scalloped border next to the centre hole. Place the tip of the knife at the scalloped chalk line. Saw gently back and forth until the tip slides into the rubber. Continue sawing slowly around a rounded scallop. As you free the rubber "petal" gently peel it up toward you.

  4. Continue cutting around the entire chalk border. Pull each rubber petal up toward you as you cut it free. Remove the interior rubber piece leftover and discard it.

  5. You should have a border pointing toward the centre hold of your tyre with rubber "flower petals." Make a cut between each petal straight back to the metal belt.

  6. Flip the entire rubber tyre inside out. Begin by pulling two rubber petals back toward you as you press your knee into the side of the tyre. Push the tread in as you pull the petals out. Continue pulling out a third petal and forcing the tread to flip in toward the centre.

  7. Work slowly around the entire tyre. Pull one or two petals toward you as you flip the tread inside.

  8. When you have the tyre flipped halfway inside out, apply your weight to help you flip the rest. Stamp on the tread as you pull the next set of petals up toward you.

  9. The rubber petals on a flipped tyre will point out instead of in. Paint the top of the petals and the outside edge of the planter. Fill the inside with soil and plants.

  10. Place the tyre planter on top of its metal rim for a raised effect. Paint the rim green to resemble a stem. Paint the tyre a bright colour to look like a flower.

  11. Tip

    Skinny tyres are easier to flip than wide ones.


    Be very careful when cutting the tyre rubber. Go slowly to avoid slipping and injuring yourself.

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Things You'll Need

  • Worn tire
  • Sharp knife
  • Chalk
  • Outdoor spray paint
  • 15-cm (6-inch) circle stencil (substitute with a cookie cutter or large circular tin)
  • Towel

About the Author

Amanda Herron is a photojournalist and writer whose credits include: "Georgia Realtor Magazine," "Jackson Parent Magazine," "Christian Guitarist and Bassist" and the Associated Press. Herron has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Master of Arts in Education from Union University. She is a member of the NPPA and has awards from the Tennessee Press Association and Baptist Press.

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