Upcycling car tyres – build your own rocking chair

Two rocking chairs with feet made from car tyres are standing on a lawn. There are bales of hay and a guitar between them.
Laid-back and sustainable, not to mention comfy – the upcycled rocking chair with feet made from car tyres.

  • Difficulty
    medium
  • Cost
    40-85 £
  • Duration
    4-5 h

Do you still have a couple of old car tyres lying around in the cellar? Make something new out of them! How about a stylish rocking chair? It’s sustainable and has a unique look. We’ll show you how to build this upcycled chair.

Have you heard about our 18-volt system yet? It offers a very wide variety of devices for many uses. The thing that makes the project below so special is that you can use the same rechargeable battery for every part of this project. Simply swap out the battery pack, insert it into a different device that is part of the 18-volt system and continue to the next step.

It should go without saying that your safety is paramount throughout every step of the project, so make sure you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself. You can find everything you need to know about the correct protective clothing you need when using each type of tool in our overview.

You need
Utilities
  • pocket rule
  • piece of string/cord
  • pencil
  • calculator
  • g-clamps
  • wood glue
  • nail
  • hammer
Materials
  • 2x car tyres
  • 1x wooden beam: 700 mm in length
  • 1x wooden panel made from spruce/fir: min. 1000 x 1500 x 21 mm
  • 1x squared timber: 20 x 25 mm (longer piece)
  • Screws (4 x 40 mm)
L: Length, W: Width, H: Height, D: Diameter

Let's go - step by step

Step 1 13

Cutting the tyres

The sidewall of a car tyre is being cut away using a multi-function tool.
The sidewall of a car tyre is being cut away using a multi-function tool.

You need: Multifunction tool, Serrated segment blade, 2x car tyres

You’ll need two car tyres for your rocking chair – but just the outer treads. That’s why in this first step, you’re going to cut away the sidewalls on both tyres (image 1).

Most tyres have a line just below the tread structure. You can use this line to guide you while you’re cutting (image 2).

Then, remove the excess rubber.

Step 2 13

Measuring the tyres and marking out the rectangle

A wooden beam is clamped in a car tyre. A measurement is being made on the beam at the same time.
A measurement is being made on a wooden panel using a pocket rule.

You need: pocket rule, pencil, Car tyres from step 1, 1x wooden beam: 700 mm in length, 1x wooden panel made from spruce/fir: min. 1000 x 1500 x 21 mm

The cut car tyres will be attached to the chair later in an oval shape. You now need to measure out the shape of the ellipse. To do this, clamp a wooden beam into the tyre so that it forms an oval shape. Now, measure the height and width of the shape (image 1).

Put the tyre to one side and place the panel on your workbench. Next, mark out a rectangle on it using the height and width you’ve just measured out (image 2). Then, mark the centre.

Step 3 13

Marking out the ellipse

A nail is being hit into a wooden panel with a hammer.
Red string is being stretched around three nails.
String is being tensioned with a pencil.
A pencil and string are being used to mark out an oval shape on a wooden panel.
A pencil and string are being used to mark out an oval shape on a wooden panel.

You need: pocket rule, hammer, piece of string/cord, pencil, calculator, nail

You need to mark out an ellipse inside the rectangle so that you can also saw out the correct oval shape. We have a little trick to help with this.

First, you need to use a calculator to calculate the following formula: e = the root of a(height of the rectangle)^2 – b(width of the rectangle)^2

Here’s a specific example: let’s assume the rectangle you’ve marked out measures 800 x 400 mm. This means we’re working out e from the root of 8002 - 4002. This equals a value of 692.82.

Once you’ve calculated your value for e, then it’s on to the next part of the trick.

Starting from the centre of the rectangle, now measure out half of the value of e (346.41 mm using our example) on the long centre line in each direction on the longitudinal axis and mark each point. Now, position three nails as shown in image 1 – two on your markings and one in the centre of the long side of the rectangle.

Then, stretch a piece of string around all three nails (image 2).

And now the magic happens: remove the nail on the outside and ‘replace’ it with a pencil (image 3). Keep the string constantly tensioned and draw a line (image 4). You’ll see that the tension makes you draw the perfect ellipse in the right size automatically (image 5).

Step 4 13

Sawing out the ovals

An oval shape is being cut out using a jigsaw.
A wooden oval is being used as a template.

You need: Jigsaws, g-clamps, Jigsaw blade for coarse curve cuts, Prepared panel from step 3

Now, saw out the marked oval (image 1).

Of course, your chair is going to be standing on two tyres, so you need a second oval. Simply place the oval you’ve already sawn out on the remaining part of your wooden panel, trace the shape (image 2) and saw it out.

Step 5 13

Marking and sawing out the gaps

Several measurements are being entered onto a diagram.
A corner is being sawn out of a wooden oval.
A wooden oval is being used as a template.

You need: Jigsaws, BIM jigsaw blade, T 308 BF, pocket rule, pencil, g-clamps, Sawn-out ovals from step 4

To make sure that the seat can be attached to the ovals at a right angle later, you first need to mark out a few measurements on the sawn-out shape. You will be able to find the exact measurements in the diagram (image 1).

Then, saw out the gaps for the first side (image 2).

Lay the sawn side on the second oval again, transfer the measurement of the gap (image 3) and saw this side to size as well.

Step 6 13

Sawing out the backrest

A piece of a wooden panel is being sawn out using a jigsaw.
Several measurements and markings can be seen on a diagram.
A curve is being marked out on a wooden panel using a spool.
A piece of a wooden panel is being sawn out using a jigsaw.

You need: Jigsaws, BIM jigsaw blade, T 308 BF, pocket rule, pencil, g-clamps, Jigsaw blade for coarse cuts, Pre-used wooden panel made from spruce/fir, Round object

Your chair obviously isn’t complete without a backrest. You’re going to build this from the wood left over from the large panel, too. Place the panel on your workbench again and mark out a rectangle measuring 700 x 500 mm. Then, saw it out (image 1).

You also need to saw out the two side gaps in the backrest. You can find the measurements for this in the diagram in image 2.

Mark out the corresponding lines. You can use a round object with a suitable diameter to help you mark out the curves – the spool of the string from step 2, for example (image 3).

Then, saw out the gaps (image 4). Watch out: change the jigsaw blade to saw the curves.

Step 7 13

Sawing out the seat

A smaller piece is being sawn out of a large wooden panel.
You’ll only need the jigsaw blade for straight cuts in this step.

You need: Jigsaws, pocket rule, pencil, g-clamps, Pre-used wooden panel made from spruce/fir, Sawing the squared timbers to length

Now, saw out the seat from the remaining piece of the panel. It measures 700 x 500 mm.

Step 8 13

Sawing the squared timbers to length

A squared timber is being measured using another piece of wood.
A squared timber is being measured using another piece of wood.
A wooden timber is being shortened using a jigsaw.

You need: Jigsaws, pocket rule, pencil, g-clamps, Jigsaw blade for coarse cuts, 1x squared timber: 20 x 25 mm (longer piece), Oval sides from step 5

To make sure the seat is stable when it lies on the sides later, it’s held in place by both a short and long squared timber on each side.

Simply use the gap of the oval (image 5) as a scale to ensure you saw all four timbers to the right lengths. Use the long side of the gap as your first template (image 1) before using the short side as the second (image 2). Measure the respective lengths on each of the squared timbers.

Then, saw all four (two short and two long) to length (image 2). Remember to clamp everything firmly in place. Safety comes first.

Step 9 13

Sanding all of the panels

The round edge of a wooden panel is being sanded.
You should make sure all of the pieces are clamped firmly in place when sanding, too.

You need: Multi-sander, G80 sanding paper, g-clamps, All sawn pieces

You’re now finished sawing. The next step is to sand all of the sawn panels, paying special attention to the cut edges, thoroughly on all sides.

Step 10 13

Attaching the squared timbers

A hole is being drilled into a squared timber.
A squared timber is being attached to an oval wooden board with glue.

You need: Cordless drill/driver, Suitable bit set, 3.5 mm wood drill bit, wood glue, Squared timbers from step 8, Screws (4 x 40 mm)

It’s now time to assemble the rocking chair step by step using the prepared pieces.

First, grab the squared timbers you sawed in step 8.
Drill three holes – one in the centre and two further out – into the top of the first long squared timber (image 1). Turn the squared timber onto its side and drill another three holes – offset to the other holes you just drilled, of course (it’s best to put a piece of scrap wood underneath the timber when drilling to protect your workbench).

Now, repeat this step for the second long timber.

Next, take the two short squared timbers and drill two holes in the top and side of them, following the same pattern.

Then, use wood glue and screws to attach the short and long squared timbers to the corresponding points on the oval sides. (Image 2)

Step 11 13

Attaching the oval sides to the backrest

A round wooden panel is being screwed horizontally to a wooden panel.
Make sure the two sides are screwed to the backrest the right way around.

You need: Cordless drill/driver, Suitable bit set, wood glue, g-clamps, Backrest from step 6, Oval sides from step 10, Screws (4 x 40 mm)

Now, grab hold of the backrest (from step 6). Clamp it firmly to your workbench so that the wider part sticks out a little horizontally.

Then, use wood glue and screws to attach the ovals (at the short sides of the gaps) to the backrest (see image).

Step 12 13

Attaching the seat

Wood glue is being applied to a squared timber of a rocking chair structure.
A wooden structure is being screwed to a panel.

You need: Cordless drill/driver, Suitable bit set, wood glue, g-clamps, Seat from step 7, Chair structure from step 11, Screws (4 x 40 mm)

The next step is to attach the seat. Place the almost-finished rocking chair on your workbench and apply wood glue to the long wooden timbers (image 1).

Then, position the wooden panel for the seat (from step 7) on the squared timbers and wait until the glue has dried.

You can then turn the chair around so that the seat is lying on the workbench. Use the holes you drilled into the long squared timbers in step 10 to attach the seat with screws (image 2).

Step 13 13

Mounting the tyres

A car tyre is being pulled over a wooden structure.
A car tyre is being screwed to a wood structure.

You need: Cordless drill/driver, Suitable bit set, Car tyres from step 1, Screws (4 x 40 mm)

You’re nearly done! All that’s left to do in this final step is to mount the tyres you prepared (in step 1) onto the oval sides.

Attach the tyres with several screws approximately 100–120 mm apart.

Grab yourself a small cushion and you can sit back and relax.