No Need To Trash Your Treads

I started this article as a full on bicycle recycle post but quickly realized that if I wanted to talk about recycling the aluminum and other metals used as bicycle parts that would have to be a whole ‘nother post. So today we’re just going to explore how to recycle or reuse a blown inner tube.

Next time your bicycle inner tube is trashed beyond repair don’t toss it in the trash. A damaged inner tube can be recycled in a number of ways around the house, to make a fashion statement or put back to use on your bike.

Inner Tube Belt

If you’d like to try your hand at making a bicycle tire belt check out this tutorial at Open Design Club.

Bicycle Tire Cuff

Bike Tire Cuff - upcycled bicycle tire - medium - FREE SHIPPING


Bicycle Tube Leaf Earrings

bicycle tube leaf earring


Rubber Ties

Tire tubes can be used to fasten a milk crate or other basket to the rack on your bike. You can cut them across so that you have a long tie and then cut them into thinner strips is you like. Since the rubber is stretchy and pliable but not slippery it holds a knot quite well.

You could use this same idea to tie down a tarp or in other places where you might have used a bungee cord. You could even make your own bungee cord by punching a hole in each end of a length of inner tube, insert an S-hook or snap-hook and you’ve got your bungee cord.

Bicycle Chain Stay Protector

Those of you who ride a lot know that one annoying feature of the chain and sprocket transmission is the chain slapping on the chain stay. Besides being an irritating noise this also wreaks havoc on your paint job. An easy solution is to save the tube from your next flat. If it has a small hole in it, patch it up and use it for later, of course; but if the hole is too big to patch you can recycle it as a as a chain stay protector.

Cut the tube into a piece the length of your bike’s chain stay and split it up the middle length-wise. Clean the tube with solvent and rub with sandpaper to make it easier for the glue to adhere. Wrap the chain stay with the tube, making sure to cover it all the way to the dropout. Stretch the tube around and glue it into place by placing a bead of glue on the outside of the tube and rolling the other side of the tube over the glued portion. This will work best if the seam is on top of the chain stay facing either in or out. Tip: before gluing attach the inside part of the tube with a bit of tape to make it easier to stretch the tube tight. The tube will cover the tape once it’s glued in place.

Bicycle Storage

A piece of tire can be used to hang your bike from a ceiling. Measure the distance between your seat and your handle bars. Nail two tubes to the ceiling according to your measurements.

Emergency Sidewall Repair

If you get a tear in the sidewall of your bicycle tire, your tube might be beyond patching as well. This isn’t a permanent solution but you can save your ride by cutting the punctured tube into a piece large enough to patch the sidewall. Glue the piece of tube over the hole on the inside of the tire. If you’re not carrying glue, place the patch over the hole and let the new tube press it in place. In the case of a very big hole use several layers of inner tube. Now carefully ride to your destination or to a repair shop.


Draft Dodger

Seal a drafty window or door with a length of inner tube cut to fit.

Protective Pads

Cut the inner tube into the size you need to protect things from bumping each other. Cut small custom-sized pieces to place between your bike and an item you’re clamping to it to keep from scratching the paint.

Cut once across the tire so that it is a long tube. Run a chain through the tube to keep the chain from bumping and scratching other items.

Rubber Bands

You don’t often find a need for a giant rubber band very often, but when you do an old inner tube can be quite handy. Just slice the tube into rubber bands of the thickness you desire, keeping in mind that the thicker the band the less stretch it will have.


Check out Hollow Tops tutorial for making your own sandals from tires.

Wow! I never knew until I started researching this article just how many ways an inner tube can be used. I can’t wait until my next flat tire!

Newspaper Logs

Is there anything better than a nice warm fire on a chilly day? I used to leave my fireplace cold for two reasons – 1) it cost money to buy logs and 2) I didn’t always have the time to sit and enjoy the fire. I’ve now solved both of these issues and am looking forward to many cold days warmed by the free logs I’ve amassed. AND I didn’t have to tromp through the woods with an axe and a sled to collect my firewood.

How do you get free logs you may ask? Well we all have newspapers and junk mail that (hopefully) we’ve already been tossing into the recycle bin. Now you can turn all those papers into free fireplace logs!

Start by laying out your paper with the larger pieces on the bottom and piling more sheets on top. You can put really small pieces of paper into the very top layer. You can add as many layers as you want. It’s good to make logs of varying thicknesses so you have a variety to use. Start rolling at one corner and roll across the stack to the opposite corner rolling as tight as you can.  When you’ve rolled to the opposite corner use cotton string or twine to tie around the log once at both ends and in the middle also if it’s a larger log.  It’s best not to use plastic ties and other synthetic items because as you burn your log you’ll be releasing those toxins into your home – not good.

Once you have all your logs rolled, take them outside and soak them with a hose or use your bathtub to soak your logs until they are wet all the way through to the inside. Let them dry in the sun – which could take as long as three to four months which is actually a shorter length of time than if it were curing a green wood log.  If you want your logs to look more like logs and less like rolled up paper you can add coffee grounds or tea leaves to the soaking water. Neat trick!

If you get in the habit of rolling all your papers once a week or so then you’ll always have some logs drying and some ready to use.

These newspaper logs are just as nice as wood logs as far as producing heat, flame and a cozy atmosphere. A three-inch log will burn for about an hour.

Fun Effects

If you want to have some fun with your logs you can add one pound of borax, table salt, or Epsom salts to each gallon of soaking water. Borax will give you green flames, table salt makes yellow flames and Epsom salts produce a white flame.

Oh – I almost forgot – reason number 2. Now that my fireplace logs are free I enjoy the luxury of burning them when I’m working in the kitchen where I can see the fire in the family room or while I’m working out in the family room instead of only enjoying a fire when I can sit right in front of it and get the full benefits. It feels so luxurious to have a fire going while busying myself around the house. Just make sure to not leave a fire alone for more than a couple of minutes.

No More Wire Hangers!

I can’t stand wire hangers, nevertheless they still end up accumulating in my closet. The dry cleaners, garage sales and thrift store buys all tend to come with wire hangers. Die-hard recycler that I am I can’t seem to throw them away so I started looking for ways that I could use them to either make my life a little easier (as in the Bottle Dryer tip below) or craft them into something beautiful. Some of these ideas came straight from the old noggin, and some came from surfing the Internet.

Bottle Dryer

To keep water spots from forming on the inside of items with a narrow neck, tape a rag to a straightened out wire hanger and use it to dry the inside of your container.

Bubble Maker

Mix one part dishwashing liquid to two parts water in a large container. Untwist the hanger and stretch it out straight leaving one end bent. Bend the bent section back on itself to make a handle. Bend the long straight section around to make a large hoop. Dip your new bubble-maker into soap solution and wave it gently to create giant bubbles.


Straighten out one or more hangers. Leave one end curved and doubled back on itself so you have something to hold onto.  Use to roast hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire.

Christmas Decorations

Using wire cutters cut the long piece of wire away from the curved pieces. Use pliers to shape the wire into stars, hearts, diamonds, circles … whatever shapes you want for your Christmas decorations. Decorate the wire shapes by:

  • painting
  • spray with glue, then shake on glitter
  • wrap with fabric remnants
  • wrap with ribbon, lace or string

Tie ribbons to the top of your new decorations to hang them on your tree, in a window, on a mantle …

Dream Catcher

Bend a hanger into a circle. Wrap it with ribbon or raffia. Construct a web by wrapping ribbon, yarn and/or string across the open section of the hoop. String beads and feathers onto fishing line or heavy duty thread and tie onto your new dream catcher.

Halloween Costumes

Cut, bend, twist and shape hangers into all kinds of accessories for Halloween costumes. Swords, wings, halos and horns are a just a sample of what you can shape and cover with fabric, foil or paper.

Mobile For Baby

Structure of Mobile

You’ll need two wire hangers for this one and if you want to get really creative you can add more layers and use up more hangers.

With a pair of wire cutters cut the long straight portion of each hanger at the point just above where it curves up so that you have two straight rods with a slight curve up at each end.  With a pair of pliers make a loop in the center of one of the rods. Thread the other rod through the loop and bend the loop downwards and twist so that it locks the two rods together. Now use the pliers bend the end of each rod so that it curves back onto the rod creating a closed loop and making sure that there are no sharp edges exposed.

Mobile Design

Decide what you want to hang on your mobile. You can print something onto card stock and cut it out, use small toys, whatever suits you or in the case of a true DIY’er, whatever is laying around the house. Poke a hole in whatever you’re using, thread string, ribbon or fishing line through the hole and tie to the loop at the end of each wire. Tie string, ribbon or fishing line to the center loop to use for hanging your mobile.

Plant Hanger

Cut away curved pieces from 4 hangers. Twist a small loop at the end of each wire. Thread 3 sections onto the 4th section. Wrap the straight piece that all the others pieces are strung onto around a 6″ to 8″ pot just below the lip. Thread one end of the wire through the loop at the end of this wire and then twist the wire back on itself to secure.


Cut the straight sections away from the curved sections. Bend one or more pieces of wire into a wreath shape. If using more than one piece of wire, use pliers to make a loop at the end of one wire. Slip the other wire through the loop then make a loop at the end of the second wire and bend it over the other loop to secure. After bending into your wreath shape do the same with the other two ends to hold the wreath together. You can make a single strand wreath or multi-strand wreath (which makes it easier to attach decorations to). Use florists wire to attach holly, evergreen or vines branches to your wreath. Leave as is or continue adding other decorations such as:

  • bows
  • ribbon
  • lace
  • silk flowers and/or leaves
  • small toys



Pantyhose & Tights Recycled into Amazing Things

recycle your pantyhose

I don’t know if anyone is still wearing pantyhose. Personally I don’t buy them anymore and I’m using up all my old pairs to keep warm under my long skirts, jeans and as a second layer under tights, but eventually they will run and so I’ve found some great ways to use them around the house. FYI: I use the techniques below also with tights that have a run or snag.

Air Freshener

Cut a pair of old pantyhose off at the knees. Spoon one of the mixtures below into the foot and tie closed. Then just put it under the seat in your car, stash it in a dresser drawer, in an inconspicuous spot in the bathroom or kitchen. Yes it’s ugly, but that’s why you hide it.

  • approximately 1 tablespoon each whole cloves and allspice and several cinnamon sticks
  • store-bought potpourri – you can buy the ugly potpourri which is much cheaper but smells wonderful, remember you’re going to be hiding this air freshener.

Arm Warmers

A pair of thick tights can be used as arm warmers to allow you to wear your favorite short sleeve t-shirt into colder weather or under long sleeved shirts and sweaters to keep you even warmer. Just cut off the foot section and then cut off each leg at the top. Leave as is or turn under and hem to give it a more finished edge. You can even cut a little thumb-slit at the foot end for a cooler look and a warmer warmer. Pantyhose arm warmers work if you’re going to be using them under long sleeves, but they look a little strange if you’re wearing them with a short sleeve shirt.

Candle Cleaner

Cleaning a dusty candle is easy when you have a pair of old pantyhose on hand. Just slip the candle inside the leg of the hose and roll it around, making sure to carefully wipe the top of the candle with the hose.

Candle Making

Smooth rough spots on your homemade candles by rubbing them with a piece of pantyhose.

Car Emergency Kit

Wrap a quilt made from old blankets (doesn’t matter if it’s ugly) around a large coffee can filled with emergency supplies and secure with a pair of old pantyhose or tights which can then be used for a variety of emergencies such as:

  • to replace a broken belt in your car’s engine
  • as a tourniquette
  • to filter liquids (hey, you never know where you might get stranded)
  • to secure a splint to a broken arm or leg

China Cleaner

Delicate china can benefit from a gentle cleaning with a pair of old pantyhose. The pantyhose are abrasive enough to get the china clean and gentle enough to avoid scratching it.

Computer Protector

Stretch a pair of panty hose over the back of your hard drive to keep dust out.

Deodorant Stain Remover

Remove deodorant stains from clothing in a flash by rubbing with a wadded up length of pantyhose.


Ehow has a great tutorial for making pantyhose dolls.

Draft Dodger

Stuff the leg cut from a pair of pantyhose or tights with newspaper or scrap fabric. Position at the bottom of a door that’s letting in a little too much air.


Cut pantyhose into strips to give you the length of the elastic that you need. I like to use them to replace the drawstrings in my workout pants and shorts because I can tie them at the length that will hold my pants up and they are stretchy enough that I can take them off and put them on without having to constantly untie and retie the drawstring. Love a makeover that makes life a little easier 🙂

Eyeglass Cleaner

One pair of pantyhose with a run can save you from ever having to purchase disposable eyeglass cleaners again. Pantyhose are lint free and have enough of an abrasive surface to clean without scratching.

Cut a pair of pantyhose which you can no longer wear into small squares and stash them where you can easily grab them to clean your eyeglasses and sunglasses. Stash a few in your purse, in a desk drawer, in your automobile glove compartment … I’m a bit obsessive so I store them inside snack-size baggies but you could use recycled envelopes as well.

You can also use them to clean your computer screen and the glass or acrylic in your picture frames.

Place used pantyhose squares in a mesh lingerie bag, wash and re-use them over and over again.


A clean pair of pantyhose makes a great filter. Make sure that if there is a run you are not using that area for your filter as it will not filter effectively. Here are some of the ways I’ve used them, but I’m sure once you get the idea you’ll come up with many more uses for them:

  • Stretched over a paint bucket. Pour paint with debris in it through the pantyhose into the new container.
  • When I forgot to bring a colander on a camping trip a pair of pantyhose stretched over the pasta cooking pot was a lifesaver. And for those of you who are wondering – no I did not pack pantyhose to wear on a camping trip; an old pair of pantyhose is part of my emergency gear kit.
  • An old pantyhose leg can stand in for an expensive metal lint trap for the hose on your washing machine. You can easily attach an section of a pair of old pantyhose to the washing machine hose with a rubber band then just throw the pantyhose away when it’s full.

Find Lost Items

Next time that you drop a small earring, a contact lens or a beaded necklace breaks don’t despair. Slip the leg of a pair of pantyhose over your vacuum cleaner hose. Move the hose over the area where the dropped item is and in a flash you’ll find it clinging to the mouth of the hose.

Fishing Net

If you have an old tennis, badmitten or racquetball racquet that’s no longer fit for a good game you have the beginnings of a new fishing net. Remove the strings from the racquet. Cut off one leg from an old pair of pantyhose. Using a staple-gun, staple the leg to the racquet. Grab you pole and head to the river!


refashioned pantyhose flowers

This doesn’t work well for nude pantyhose, but colored pantyhose and tights can be easily made into flowers to use for your refashions,  flowers for pillows or curtain trim or curtain tiebacks … Check out these tutorials for detailed instructions with pictures:

Wired Pantyhose Flowers

More Wired Pantyhose Flowers

Flowers for Fashion

Note: you can toss your nude pantyhose into a dye bath if you want to use them to make up some flowers.


Frisbee? Yes, you can make a frisbee out of old pantyhose or tights.

Garden Pest Control

This one is a bit odd and many of you may forgo doing this, but I’m here to give you options and this is a viable option AND a two-fer since you’re also recycling cut hair. Ask a local salon or barbershop for swept up hair. Wearing gardening gloves (the hair ends can be sharp), stuff used unwashed panty hose with the hair scraps. Place these in your garden. You may want to hide them under bushes or in trees since let’s face it, they’re ugly. The human smell generated from the hair and unwashed pantyhose will help to keep many pests and animals away from your garden.

Garden Ties

Cut pantyhose across legs into ½ inch wide bands. Cut each tube band apart so that you have ties approximately six-inches long. These are ideal to train climbing plants and to tie plantings to stakes.

Garden Hammock

For fruits and vegetables that are growing on a trellis and need to be supported a pantyhose hammock is a great solution. Tie both foot ends of the pantyhose to the trellis arranging them so that the pantyhose  is supporting the produce in its own hammock. For extra protection tie a knot at the top and bottom of each fruit or vegetable. Don’t worry about making these knots close to the produce as the pantyhose will stretch as the produce grows.

Hair Scrunchies

Cut pantyhose across the leg for ponytail scrunchies. What I love about these is that pantyhose scrunchies look so much more elegant than the ones you buy at the store that have gathered cotton fabric sewn into a tube. Don’t believe me? Try it. They really look quite elegant. Or if you want a really unique scrunchie check out this tutorial on Fingerweave Hair Scrunchies.

Hair Headbands

Cut your pantyhose across the top for headbands. If your pantyhose are the same color as your hair they’ll appear invisible while holding your hair in place. If your pantyhose are colored you can pair them with several different color pantyhose for the effect you want. You can even clip a lightweight brooch to the headband for a different look.

Paint Saver

A pair of pantyhose can save a can of paint. Stretch the pantyhose over a paint bucket that has debri in it. Pour paint through the pantyhose into a new container.

Poster Storage

Slip a rolled up poster into a pair of pantyhose leg to keep it from unrolling and the edges from tearing. If the leg isn’t staying up around the poster, use the waistband of the pantyhose as a tie around the poster.

Recycling Helper

Use the waistband cut from a pair of pantyhose to hold a pile of newspapers or broken down boxes together.


Slip a sponge into a length cut from a leg of pantyhose. Knot both ends to keep the sponge inside. You now have a non-abrasive scrubbing pad you can use for dishes and cleaning up around the house.

Shine Shoes

Rub pantyhose over your leather shoes to shine them right up.

Soap Mitt

Drop bits of soap into the cut-off leg of a pair of old pantyhose. Tie the top of the leg just above the soap pouch and tuck the end of the long leg into the tied portion so that you have a loop. Hang your pre-soaped mitt in the shower.

Stuffed Animals

stuffed animals made from tights

Use old tights to make stuffed animals for your little ones. Bonus – these tend to have a nice vintage look.

Stuffed Animal Repair

If your child has a favorite stuffed animal that has seen better days you can give it new life by picking a couple of inches apart along a seam and stuffing a pair or two of pantyhose inside then stitching it back up.

Trash Can Liner

Cut the waistband from a pair of old panty hose and use as a giant band to secure the trash bag onto the trash can.

Wrapping Paper Storage

Slip a roll of wrapping paper into a pair of pantyhose leg to keep it from unrolling and the edges from tearing. If the leg isn’t staying up around the wrapping paper roll, use the waistband of the pantyhose as a tie around the roll.