How to Cut Tires Into Planters & Swings


Give an old tire new purpose by transforming it into a creative planter for your garden or a backyard swing for your children to enjoy all summer long. Each project is relatively simple and requires just a little bit of elbow grease to get the job done. Give the tire a coat of paint to make the tire planter coordinate with your garden décor, or to make the tire swing match your backyard play set.

Things You'll Need

  • Disposable cup
  • Chalk
  • Very sharp knife
  • Spray paint
  • Piece of plastic (optional)
  • Drill with 1/2-inch drill bit
  • Small knife
  • 6 fender washers
  • 3 eye bolts
  • 3 lock washers
  • 6 nuts
  • 4 S-hooks
  • Vice grip pliers
  • 4 lengths of chain (each 3 feet long)
  • Swivel
  • 2 connector links
  • Clip-hook

Tire Planter

  • Wipe any dirt off the tire. Lay the tire down on a flat surface on one side so it does not roll away. Hold a disposable cup on the side of the tire facing upward. Hold the cup open end down and position it on the tire about two inches from the inner edge. Trace around the cup with a piece of chalk.

  • Place the cup next to the chalk circle, still about two inches from the inner edge, and make another circle. Continue making chalk circles all the way around the tire.

  • Cut the inner half of each circle with a very sharp knife. You are cutting semicircles, not full circles. Cut the semicircle closest to the inner edge of the tire. This creates a scalloped edge all the way around the inner edge of the tire. Make a two-inch-long slit between each semicircle. The slits make it easier to bend the scalloped edges up and outward to resemble flower petals.

  • Pull upward on one semicircle and bend it outward to extend past the outer edge of the tire. This makes the first petal of the planter. Pull upward on the next semicircle and then bend it outward. Repeat all the way around the tire.

  • Use as much elbow grease as you have to turn the tire inside out. The treads are now on the inside of the planter and the petals fold down slightly around the outer edges. The tire now resembles a blossoming flower.

  • Lay the tire on sheets of old newspaper and spray the outside of the planter with your choice of paint. Let the paint dry.

  • Place a piece of plastic inside the bottom of the planter if you would like the planter to be movable. Alternatively, place the planter in the garden, fill it with soil and plant your flowers. As the root system of the flowers grows, it will grow into the underlying soil in the garden.

Tire Swing

  • Find the better-looking side of the tire. Lay it on a flat surface with the good side down. Use a drill fitted with a 1/2 inch bit to make holes around the top of the tire. Make the holes about 1/2 inch away from the outer edge and space them about four inches apart. These are drain holes to prevent the tire from filling with water.

  • Flip over the tire. Use a piece of chalk to make three dots on the top of it. The dots should form an equilateral triangle. To make sure the dots are evenly spaced, measure the distance between each pair of dots. The measurement should be the same between each pair. Draw the dots about 1/2 inch away from the outer edge of the tire. Use a knife to make a small slit through each dot. Make the slit no larger than 1/4 inch wide.

  • Slide a fender washer onto each of the three eye bolts and insert one bolt into each of the slits. Twist the eye of each bolt until the bolt is flush against the tire. Slide a fender washer and a lock washer onto the bottom of each bolt. Screw a nut onto each of the bolts to secure the eye bolts to the tire. The fender washers are larger than the nuts, which prevents the nuts from puncturing through the tire when weight is on the swing.

  • Slide one end of an S-hook through each of the eye bolts. Use a strong pair of vice grip pliers to squeeze the bottom loop of each hook closed around the eye bolts.

  • Attach a three-foot length of chain to each of the S-hooks. Squeeze the top loop of each hook closed around the chain.

  • Hold the opposite end of each piece of chain in one hand and slide the bottom loop of another S-hook through each end. Squeeze the bottom loop closed with the pliers.

  • Attach a swivel to the top loop of the S-hook and squeeze it closed. The swivel lets the tire swing move and spin freely. Slide the connector link onto the swivel and then slide the clip hook onto the connector link as well. Screw the connector link closed.

  • Wrap the extra length of chain around the tree branch and hook the two ends together with a connector link. Attach the clip hook on the swing to the chain around the tree branch to complete the swing.

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  • Photo Credit Todd Warnock/Lifesize/Getty Images
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