How to Make a Parrot-Shaped Planter Out of an Old Tire

When you re-purpose items, it keeps them out of landfills. Tires harbor mosquito larvae in addition to being an eyesore and a fire hazard, so finding a new use for them is a definite priority. A few cuts to open the tire up, a twist to turn it inside out, and a little bright paint results in a whimsical yard decoration that will have your neighbors wondering how you did it.

Prepare Your Tire

Step 1

Press on a well-worn, non-steel-belted-radial tire at the shoulder, which is the rounded area on the side of the tire, just below the tread. Use it to make your parrot tire planter only if it presses in at the shoulder with minimum force. Select a different tire if the shoulder area is too firm.

Step 2

Stand your chosen tire on its tread, between your knees, while you are seated. Measure the width from sidewall to sidewall using a ruler.

Step 3

Use the white or yellow tire paint crayon to make a large dot at the midpoint between the right and left sidewalls, on the tread of your tire. This point will be the tip of the parrot's beak.

Step 4

Begin at the dot on the tire and draw a 1-inch line to the right, at a 23-degree angle to the tire. Repeat to make a second 1-inch line from the dot to toward the left, at a 23-degree angle to the tire. This finishes the parrot's beak.

Step 5

Draw a smooth, 4-inch curve from each end of the beak, as if you were going to make an eye shape, but do not bring the opposite ends together to finish it. Leave 1 1/2 to 2 inches between the ends of the two curves. So far, you have drawn an eye shape with only one closed, pointed end.

Step 6

Begin at the end of the right leg of the open-ended eye shape, and draw a line to the right sidewall at a 45-degree angle. Repeat to draw a line from the left leg to the left sidewall. You now have your parrot's head shape. You have also made the outline of the parrot's split tail.

Step 7

Draw a line toward you, along the tire shoulder, from the end of the right line that created the parrot's head, 8 to 10 inches long. Draw a second line along the tire shoulder, 8 to 10 inches long, from the end of the left line. These are your cutting lines.

Step 8

Draw lines running away from you, from the right and left ends of the tail, along the shoulder, twice as long as the lines you made for the head.

Step 9

Draw a third line away from you, beginning at the point of the parrot's beak, down the mid-line of the tire at least 12 inches. Draw a fourth and fifth line between each sidewall and the mid-line of the tire, to create the four long strips that will make your parrot's tail

Prepare Your Saw Blade

Step 10

Secure a used wood-cutting blade that fits your chosen saw in a bench vise, with the teeth facing you and pointing toward the floor.

Step 11

Don a NIOSH-approved respirator, wrap-around eye protection, ear protection and a heavy leather apron.

Step 12

Put a 24-grit wheel on a 4-inch right-angle grinder. Grind from the tip of the blade toward the vise on the right side of the blade, at a 30-degree angle to the teeth. Stop grinding 1 to 2 inches before you reach the vise. Repeat for the left side. This makes the teeth converge at the center of the blade instead of alternating left and right, which will allow you to make smooth, even cuts in your tire.

Step 13

Install the blade in your chosen sabre saw, jig saw or reciprocating saw.

Cut the Parrot

Step 14

Place the tip of the saw blade at the point on the tire that creates your parrot's beak. Turn the saw on and allow it to work through the tire, headed from the point toward the right sidewall. Cut until you reach the sidewall but do not cut through it.

Step 15

Repeat to cut from the point of your parrot's beak to the left sidewall and stop before you cut through it.

Step 16

Cut the center tail line, beginning at the center point that makes your parrot's beak and working away from you about 12 inches. Repeat to cut the lines immediately to the left and right of the center line, working away from the tip of the beak.

Step 17

Cut the lines along the sidewalls to finish making all the tail splits. Stop cutting when you are even with the end of the center cut.

Step 18

Cut toward you along the shoulder lines to release the bird's head and chest. Do not cut more than 10 inches.

Finish Your Parrot

Step 19

Turn your cut tire inside out. This may require several tries to get it right. The more flexible your tire was to begin with, the easier it will be to turn it inside out. Start fresh with a more flexible tire if necessary, making all the cuts again.

Step 20

Bend the beak back toward your parrot's "breast" to give the head a more natural angle.

Step 21

Don wrap-around eye protection and painter's mask. Open all doors and windows. Place a box fan on one side of the room, blowing in and another box fan across from it in a window, blowing out to create cross-ventilation.

Step 22

Use any jewel-toned spray paint color of your choice to spray your parrot from beak to tail-tips, using short, even strokes. Allow to dry overnight.

Step 23

Select your second body color and spray using the same short, light strokes until the pattern on your parrot's body pleases your eye. Allow to dry overnight as before.

Step 24

Select a third color to accent the head, and use black or white along the wing tips on the tail and to create the appearance of wing feathers on the sides of your parrot's body. Allow to dry as before.

Step 25

Hang your planter by the ring portion of the tire, using an "S" hook and chain or rope. Fill the planter with soil and any flowering, trailing plant you prefer.