Flippin Retire

Where do you get your tires?

Anywhere! Mostly while driving around town, I'll spot a pile near a dumpster or left out on curbs. Bulk trash days are great for finding them. Friends who get new tires give me their old ones. I have "tire elves" who find them for me too.

What kind of tires do you use?

The more I work with these tires, the more I learn about them. We're talkin' old, rubber, car tires with the tread and sidewall intact, with no rips or tears. Some tires you can actually still see the big ol' nail that did it in or grease pen letters and numbers from some tire shop. Some tires have been sitting for years in one place and have stains from the elements like water puddles. Like an awesome thrift store find, I like those elements and don't try to fix up the tire too much except for washing them really well prior to painting. Most of the tires I find are 16" but do find some 14", meaning the hole where the center metal wheel and hubcap go is either 16" or 14" in diameter. The General Lee used 14" tires. I've used everything from Firestones to BFGoodriches to Goodyears to Michelins and more. Some are radial tires and cannot be flipped. They have very rigid sidewalls. Some tires I find still have the wheel intact and I make the pedestal tires out of them. They're harder to find. Wanna know more about tires?

What kind of paint do you use?

I use a commercial grade paint for industrial and marine use. I have searched the world over for the best, longest lasting paint there is for rubber. I've spoken with five paint experts from various companies (one being a chemist!) and they've all agreed that what I'm using is what they would recommend because there isn't really a paint made for rubber. Some of the planters in The Flippin Tires gallery have been around for almost four years and there's been little fading, cracking, or chipping.

Can I get a tire painted a solid color or with realistic imagery?

I do have some tires early on that I painted solid colors or an all over pattern covering the whole tire, but the paint over time is more susceptible to cracking and peeling due to the curvature of the tire. I have found that painting spread out patterns maintains the integrity of the paint over time, plus I like that you can still tell the planter is a tire by the black showing through. As far as realistic imagery, it mainly has to do with the texture of the tire. A flipped tire's insides are still pretty textured and rough, not like the outer tread, but still pretty bumpy and doesn't quite lend itself to detailed images. I am experimenting with my own stencils and symbols - who knows, I may get all Banksy and start doing guerilla tire planting all over town!

What can I plant in the tire planters?

This depends on where you place your planters. Tires get really hot in the Texas heat, so if they're placed in full sun, cacti and succulents are best since they can take it. Outdoor shade plants are fine if the planters are in places like a shaded porch or patio, or underneath a shady tree area. Edibles are not recommended in tire planters, so no herbs or tomato plants or the like.

Where is the best place for tire planters?

Tire planters can be put on the ground or a hard resistant surface like a concrete porch or patio. I do not recommend a wood surface like a deck because over time drainage from watering will rot the wood. The 2 and 3-tiered tire arrangements definitely need a proper drainage area because the bottom tire is not filled with soil but supports the drainage hardware (sturdy metal mesh screens) for water and some dirt to drain out.

Do you do the plant end of your business, such as buying the plants, planting your tire planters, and landscaping with them?

I grew up in a part of the country where there were four distinct seasons, instead of one and a half like here in Austin, so southwest vegetation is still foreign to me, although I love our native flora. So, no, I don't do the plant end of it, BUT, I can refer you to an awesome landscape architect who has used my tire planters in her designs. She also has a partner who specializes in planter arrangements.

I have my own old tires. Can you make me some tire planters with them?

Sure! The cost will be the same since I'm mostly charging for labor and materials. I've priced my tires to be competitive with an equivalent sized planter you'd find at a nursery or gardening store most likely made of ceramic, metal, or plastic. Beyond their practical use, my planters are upcycled and add eye candy to your business or yard.

I would like to examine the tires you make more closely. Can I check them out somewhere?

Why certainly! Click on Contact Me and send me a message and we can arrange a time for you to come see my wares. Also check out News/Fave Links to see where I may be showing off my wares in the near future.