As this month is all about getting the most value out of your car, there comes a point where fixing up an old car just isn't worth it anymore, or there are parts that are no longer usable. But what to do with the old junker? If the car still has a special place in your heart, getting $50 for scrap might feel like a letdown. Why not immortalize your car by upcycling its parts into something completely different? Upcycling is a relatively new concept similar to recycling, but it's giving a whole new life and a better quality or value to something that would otherwise have been thrown away. Car parts are inherently ideal for upcycling projects - they're already durable, they are difficult to break down so their base materials can be remade into a new object (which is what recycling car parts does), and they can very easily be made to be a better quality item as something not used in a car. Read on for clever DIY upcycling projects from old car parts!
Furniture from Car Parts
This outdoor bench is made entirely from found or upcycled parts: some scrap wood (looks like it was from an old fence or a pallet) and the banged up tailgate of an old truck and an unused license plate for decoration/nostalgia. Durable, creative, and simple: the perfect upcycled project!
Image: Studio Tinman
There's also pretty much everything made by Studio Tinman. This is an artist who expertly creates new furniture and lighting items from classic car parts. While this is not DIY caliber stuff, it sure looks way nicer and would be a wonderful addition to any home.
Car Part Jewelry
For the crafty, and the brand enthusiasts, jewelry is a great way to showcase your love of cars and salvage parts and icons from your favorite rides.
Image: Hi Octane
The above belt buckle is made from an actual Mercedes Benz emblem! This piece is crafted by the folks of Hi Octane Jewelry right here in Oceanside, but through their Etsy shop they can make you just about any car-themed jewelry you want! With a little skill (and a leftover necklace chain) you could fashion your own unique necklace from used car parts such as gears or emblems, or even from tools like small wrenches and springs. The same goes for other small items, like keychains, clocks, and earrings.
Household Items from Upcycled Car Parts
Looking to create something from a mish-mosh of car parts? Check these out for inspiration.
Image: This Old House
This license plate mailbox showcases your old license plates in a fun and visible way! Carefully mold your license plates around a mailbox frame for a DIY weatherproof mailbox! You can also apply the same concept to make a bird house or bat box, or use your collection of license plates as art for inside the home!
Image: Bob Vila
We couldn't end this without mentioning the ever popular, oh-so-easy upcycled car part staple: the backyard tire swing. Your tire swing could be as simple as an old tire and some rope, or you could get fancy by stringing multiple tires together for a bench-style tire swing for the whole group to enjoy at once. Either way, the tire swing is the perfect starter project for DIYers.
Old tires also make perfect home gym equipment: attach a couple of tires to a bar and place heavy objects or weights in the centers for a bench press, or line up 8-12 tires for cardio and agility training. If your old tires aren't exactly round anymore, they make for great outdoor flooring for playground areas as they cushion for falls and are easy to hose down when things get messy.
Have you turned your old car parts into something unique and different? Tell us what other creative upcycled items are out there!