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How Do I Make a Parrot-Shaped Planter Out of an Old Tire?

Updated April 17, 2017

While used tires usually either get sent straight to the landfill or accumulate in garages, reuse them to keep household waste out of the landfill, reduce landscaping costs and create personal touches and conversation pieces in your garden. You can fill tires with potting soil and turn them into flowerbeds, or, with a few simple cuts and paint, create a planter shaped like a tropical bird or parrot.

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  1. Make a straight cut from the outside rim of the tire to the inside rim. Using a sharp knife or utility scissors, cut from the outside edge of the tire (the rim that makes contact with the ground) to the inside rim (the inside circle onto which hubcaps are attached). Do not cut through the inside rim. Leave it intact to use for hanging.

  2. Cut long "V" shapes into one end of the tire, beginning from the cut you just made. Go from one end of the cut to another, cutting away "V" shapes that resemble tail feathers.

  3. You can alter the design slightly, depending on the type of parrot you wish to make, but leave room for the body and base of the planter on the lower side of the tire.

  4. Cut one long "V" shape on the other side of the cut. You will roll this section to make the body of your parrot that will end in the pointed edge of the beak.

  5. Cut away and discard any excess tire material left on the top half of the inside rim. Fold down the "V" shapes you just made for the body and tail and cut away all the rubber remaining around the inside rim, while leaving the inside rim intact. After completing the step, you should have two sections hanging from the circles of the inside rim.

  6. Turn the tire inside-out. Hold the tire on the ground with the smooth (inside) side facing down and pull up on the inside rims to turn the tire inside-out and leave the smooth surface on the outside curve. This step will require a good deal of force for thick tires.

  7. Clean your tire. Wash off any dirt and oil on your outside tire surface. If necessary, use solvents like kerosene in small amounts to remove thick oil spots.

  8. Fold the body "V" into a cone. Tie off the rubber with a piece of wire just below where you want the head to start.

  9. Cut the tip of your body "V" in two equal triangles from the tip of the "V" to where you placed the wire.

  10. Fold the two triangles by pulling them perpendicular to the angle of the body and folding them together. Place a piece of wire at the tip of the beak to hold the pieces in place.

  11. Paint your parrot. You do not need to paint the inside of the planter, but focus on the tail feathers, the body and accents on the head.

  12. Fill the body of your planter with potting soil and hang it from the inside rims of the tire, with the tail feather flapping down and the body held in place by the folds.

  13. Tip

    To hold your tail feathers in place at a specific level, use wire to hold the rubber flaps. Experiment with more detail. Try adding feather patterns to the head or body. Avoid using heavy-duty tires with steel wire skeletons that are hard to cut.


    When using a sharp knife, cut away from yourself when making long cuts.

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Things You'll Need

  • Used tire
  • Sharp knife or utility scissors
  • Steel wire
  • Outdoor paint
  • Potting soil

About the Author

Edward Mercer

Edward Mercer began writing professionally in 2009, contributing to several online publications on topics including travel, technology, finance and food. He received his Bachelor of Arts in literature from Yale University in 2006.

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