Venture: How to Make a Planter from an Old Tire

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Recycling and affordable beautification combine in this fun project. It takes some hard work - but the end product is totally worth it. Thanks to the backyard gardeners at Wuv'n Acres Gardens in Hulbert, Oklahoma, for this great idea. For others, click to

What you'll need:

Old tire

Chalk or bright crayon

Large cup

Work gloves

Very sharp, sturdy knife


Biodegradable cleanser

Old rag

Exterior spray paint

1. If you have a choice, pick a tire that's worn and flexible. New tires with deep treads are nearly impossible to turn inside out. However, watch out for a metal weaving that sometimes pokes through threadbare tires. Lay the tire in the sun to soften the rubber.

2. Trace a series of adjacent circles along the sidewall using a large cup and chalk or a bright crayon. Markings should extend roughly from the tread line to an inch or two away from the center ring. A tough metal band circles the inner circumference, and you don't want to mess with it.

3. Carefully insert the knife into the rubber and begin cutting along the outlines. If necessary, round off circles to avoid hitting the metal band. When finished, you should have a star-shaped cut-out and a series of round, connected arcs. The cut-out can be colored and used for decoration.

4. Now comes the elbow grease. With the cut edge facing out, find the tire's softest section. Push in the tread with one hand, and peel back the cut edges with the other. Use your knee to brace the tire, and step on the finished section to keep it from snapping back. Slowly turn the tire inside out.

5. The tire should eventually look like a blooming flower. Wash the exterior and the petals with biodegradable cleanser like Simple Green, then let it dry. Following the can instructions, apply several coats of spray paint designed for outdoor plastics. You won't need to paint the inside, because it will be filled with soil.

For more outdoor activities and how-to guides, click to the Ohio Adventure Map at