Tire chains are often a seasonal item that people throw out without a second thought. Winter is over, so it may be fun to violently throw your tire chains into the trash, banishing them to the depths along with winter. But don’t just toss them. There are tons of ways to reuse or recycle them.
The first step might be to check with your local recycling center to see if they take that type of metal. Otherwise, there may be local scrap yards that could take tire chains off your hands. Yet if you want to get creative, there’s a whole other option: upcycling. With some ingenuity, you could use your tire chains in a myriad of ways around the house.
Granted, depending on your style of tire chain, upcycling could be tricky. Tire chains usually come in short, grouped segments to fit the tire better. That means you may have to cut the chain using a metal cutter of some variety, and depending on the project and length of chain required, possibly weld part of the chain back together. You’ll also have to clean the chain very well and possibly file down some rough spots.
But if you value creative, handmade items consisting of recycled materials, it could be well worth the effort. With that in mind, below are 20 ideas for reusing tire chains in other areas of your life.
1. Make Chandeliers
To start, this site
really shows how creative people can get with used items. The sky is the limit in the world of upcycling. Making a chandelier with hanging chains is a good project for short, segmented tire chains. Light bulbs will really reflect off the chains in an attractive way.
2. Hang a Tire Swing
Why not use the tire chain and an old tire together? Here’s a good example
of a homemade tire swing. For this, your chain will still have to be in relatively good shape to not cut hands, of course. You can also buy plastic covers for chains if they’re a little rough, but still sturdy.
3. Make a Belt
Chain belts can look attractive with almost any dress. Again, if your chains are still in good shape, this might be a good outside-of-the-box option. Any rough areas will have to be filed down, as the chain needs to be VERY smooth to not catch on clothing. Go here
for how to make your own chain belt.
4. Make a Wallet Chain
Here’s another great option for short segments of chain, if they’re still smooth enough. You’ll really just need to add some metal clips and loops to the chain and then wrap the chain around a wallet. Instructables
has easy-to-follow directions on how to do this.
5. Make a Door Lock
If you need a temporary chain lock, small segments from strong tire chains would do the trick. This is pretty easy to make with just the chain, a padlock and some pliers. Again, you can go to Instructables
for full instructions.
6. Create a Tie Out
If you can salvage your tire chains into a long lead, consider using them to create a dog tie out. It would be another great use for strong tire chains. Instructables has you covered here
, as well.
7. Make a Rain Chain
Don’t know what a rain chain is? These chains usually have segments to catch water and guide the water down to a rain collection bucket (very ecofriendly) or a drain. This one just uses funnels to collect and direct water down the chain. Go to Mother Earth News
for instructions on how to make one.
8. Hang Décor Items
This project from etsy shows how easy you can repurpose tire chains to home décor items. If it needs hanging, you have a great use for segments of tire chains. Bonus points if it’s something handmade, like this system of mason jar candleholders
9. Fashion Some Wind Chimes
If you want to make your own wind chimes, keep those tire chains on hand. Designs like the one here
make full use of chains to support the chimes.
10. Hang a Birdfeeder
Again, remember tire chains if you need to hang anything, even a birdfeeder. Something like a flat designed feeder
would be easy to make using tire chains. You’d just have to attach the chains to a metal tray using a drill and metal clips.
11. Make a Candleholder
A candleholder made of chains
is a really creative idea. If you know your way around the welding world, or know someone who does, you could make a candleholder in this style. An easier option might be to hot glue the chain around a glass candleholder for a true industrial look.
12. Make a Container
You can even make a container is made out chains
. Again, this was made by welding the chain into ridged circles. An easier option might be to attach the chain to a plastic container.
13. Create a Charm Bracelet
If your chain is very smooth still, and has a classic linked pattern, you may be able to fashion it into a charm bracelet
. Charms clasp right into the links. Craft stores also sell jewelry pieces like the clasp bits for the end of the chain.
14. Make a Basketball Hoop
Remember shooting hoops into a chain basketball hoop, with the satisfying clanking noise the hoop would make as the ball went through? Again, something like this would take some very creative, delicate welding, but it’d just be a matter of forming the chains into a diamond pattern.
15. Use Chains During a Workout
Here’s an idea you don’t think about every day. If you have a heavy-duty truck, your tire chains might be on the larger side. Consider using them in your workout. You can drape them over yourself for some added resistance during physical training, like this man here
. Otherwise, you might be able to use them draped over a bar of some sort for a different kind of pull-up, too.
16. Make a Metal Wreath
There’s some real decorating possibility in a rustic, industrial wreath made out of a chain. Again, welding required (although another idea might be to wrap the chain around a wreath base). This one’s
even specifically made out of old tire chains!
17. Make Cute Earrings
Steer right into skid with tire earrings. Here’s some
that were actually made using tire pieces from Lego sets.
18. Hang Knickknack Holders
If you need to hang things inside like knickknack holders, consider using segmented tire chains. Again, this is a good project for smaller segments of tire chains if you don’t want to weld segments together again. Here’s
a good example of one.
19. Hang Shelving
If you have sturdy enough tire chains, consider using them to hang shelving. Here’s a great example of a type of DIY shelving
that uses chains.
20. Organize Jewelry
Organizing earrings is a commonly overlooked use for chains. You can simply hang the chains from some hooks. The chain links make a great place to hook in the earrings. Click here
for a good example.