Today we are continuing on in our outdoor play space improvements. But this project, though it looks fabulous, is NOT for the faint of heart. Oh boy. Just thinking of the work that went into this makes me want to take a nap! But before you are completely discouraged, please remember that I was on my own without proper tools or extra muscles for bolting tires together. I’m sure this project would go together lickety-split if you can recruit some helpers!
It all started when I saw some really cute tire planters somewhere on Pinterest. That’s right. It’s all Pinterest’s fault. The tires were painted bright colours and had flowers growing out of them and I thought, hey that’s a really cute idea. But you all know me well enough by now to know that I can’t leave a simple idea as a simple idea and get on with my day.
I had to make it bigger.
And so began the hunt for free, used up tires. I started with 4 really big ones which were given to me by a really great family I know. The 4 tires grew into 8 tires when I realized our local Canadian Tire shop will let a person take what they want from the old tire pile outside their building.
Now for the paint. I had NO idea what kind of paint to use and whether or not it would stick, but I did have some luck. I used cans of RustOleum Ultra Cover 2x along with the clear coat of the same brand. If you think you want to skip the clear coat, don’t…we missed one side of one tire when clear-coating and that side is all chipped off already. I needed about 1 can/tire depending on the size of the tire.
My teenagers were happy to oblige when it came to the painting of the old tires…I set the tires on pallets out in the back alley and they went to work…Stopping occasionally when we were running out of paint…Once the tires were dry, we clear coated them and let them cure overnight.
But now comes the hard work. I had to secure the tires to each other. Using only a drill, a hammer, and my own strength and determination, I got to work. I used 1/4 inch bolts that were long enough to go through 2 tires but not stick out too far, with a really wide washer and a nylon lined nut for each joint. I’d give you a better idea of what length of bolts to use, but it is determined by the size of the tires you’re using, and whether you are going through side walls or tread. All together, I had 14 joints. Here is a rough diagram of where I attached each tire…I did NOT attach the 3 base tires to each other, as the whole structure is filled with sand, making them solid and immoveable. The sand also keeps small children from falling into cracks, or pinching legs or arms. You may wonder about that big yellow tire at the top of the structure and what might be holding it up? Well, it is attached to the fence now with a nylon rope so it won’t swivel or tip.
I marked the joints with chalk, drilled out a hole for each bolt, pushed and hammered and cried the bolts in, attached a washer and a nut, and then tightened each nut and bolt with a ratchet. And when I say I cried, I mean it quite literally. I was really discouraged at many different times in the “attaching” process! I’m sure there is a better way to do this, in fact I stumbled upon this AMAZING resource when I was actually finished our little climber! He goes through every detail of building any kind of play space with tires that you could ever imagine. We love our little tire climber. My kids especially like to gain a different perspective of our backyard by standing up on the tippy top tire. The smalls dig around with shovel and bare toes and just enjoy the textures and the climbing.
I especially love it because I didn’t give up. I may have said a few choice words, gained a few bruises, and let a few tears fall, but I didn’t stop until it was finished. I learned a lot about myself during the construction of this colourful play area, that’s for sure. Did I mention it rained through most of the bolting?
If you have any questions about the process of building this climber, don’t hesitate to ask! I will try my best to explain myself and the instructions a little better for you!
Thanks for stopping by!
~Arlee, Small Potatoes