Please Note: This idea was originally found on Pinterest and sourced to “That Was A What?!” You can find her tutorial here, but she does charge for instructions.
My hands are permanently black (FYI: wear gloves for this project!), I have overcome two blisters, and my back aches from several days of gluing rope to a tire, but it’s done! When Connor bought his truck, he got this old tire and wheel with it for free, but it didn’t fit his truck, so it was given to me to do as I please. I had just seen the idea to turn it into an ottoman a few weeks before, so the idea was fresh in my head, and thankfully I didn’t get rid of the old tire. The ottoman I made is a bit different from the original tutorial, so I am sharing what I did and what helped me the most to make this awesome project!
1. I kept the wheel attached to the tire so the ottoman would be sturdier. The original tutorial does not, and I can’t speak to as how it holds up with weight of someone sitting on it or putting their feet up. One problem I was faced with keeping the wheel, however, is the possibility of the tire popping or losing air over time. To ensure that the tire wouldn’t go flat, I cut a plywood circle to fit the top of the ottoman and rests on the lip of the wheel. This allows for it to be removed to reach the valve to fill the tire with air when needed.
2. Keeping the wheel attached added an additional concern — because of the weight of the tire with the wheel, I did not trust that legs would hold up the ottoman without cracking the plywood. Obviously, legs could not be directly attached to the tire for it would pop, but a plywood circle on the bottom of the tire would most likely not stand up to the weight either. Despite this, the finished ottoman, even without legs, still feels like a good height, and if anything, it is a beautiful decorative piece that adds an amazing textural quality to any space!
3. This isn’t a cheap project. Before starting this project, I had this preconceived idea that it would be a typical inexpensive project that wouldn’t take too long. False. Anyway, the rope for this project adds up the cost extremely fast, so I would suggest getting something like this, because you will use over half. I used 3/8″ rope and liked the size, but I would be cautious of going much smaller. The nice thing about a bigger size is it takes less time, and hides flaws and glue better. We spent probably close to $100 on glue and rope!
4. Quality of glue is very important. For the glue, I doubled up my products. I bought 2 big bottles of Gorilla Glue, because of it’s longevity. But since it’s not quick drying, you need to use something additional unless you want to spend five hours holding one tiny section, which no one should want to do. I used a hot glue gun. I wouldn’t suggest using hot glue only, because over time it becomes brittle and breaks off. So what I did was squirt a line of Gorilla Glue, then go back with hot glue and make a line right next to it. Then I would quickly lay the rope down, and after a few seconds, it was stuck. And over time, as the Gorilla Glue dries, this rope will be on FOR GOOD. Big old suggestion here — wear gloves, because the combination of gluey fingers and a dirty old tire will turn your fingers black, and if you are like me, you will have to use a pumice stone to get that crap off!
5. This tip will make your product look really well finished! Where your rope ends, for example, when we got to the edge of the wheel and needed to stop, but the rope was too thick and left a gap making parts of the tire still visible, here is what we did: We took a small piece of rope and unraveled it so there were little worm-sized pieces. We glued those into the gap. For the extra extra small gaps still left over, we literally took a pinch of rope fibers, hot glued the gap, and rubbed the fibers onto the glue. Some will stick, some won’t, so we continued this process until the gap was covered. This technique was important for us because our project had the inner plywood circle that needed to be separate from the tire. It was also useful when we covered the plywood circle, because we started from the outside and worked our way in, leaving that innermost circle really difficult to finish. We got as close as we could with the thick rope, cut it, then used the small rope remnants and fibers to finish it off. You can’t even tell where most of our rope pieces begin and end because of this process, plus the thick rope, again hides flaws, but also has that natural texture where small fibers stick out all over the place.
6. The last thing we did was add strips of felt to the bottom of the tire that will touch the ground. We only wrapped the rope to where you could see it (almost touching the floor), but we did not want the dirty tire to rub all over carpets as it gets moved around. Even after cleaning the tire, a residue will remain. We bought 3-4 pieces of black felt and glued it on.
Despite the pain and cost and time of this project, this has probably been my all-time favorite DIY project, and probably also the best looking! Enjoy!