Published on September 21st, 2012 | by Jessy Troy

6 Upcycled Hacks: Automotive Edition

As a green-minded individual, you’ve recycled, reused, and donated many items over the years, but the new trend in environmentally friendly home activities is upcycling, the act of transforming otherwise useless items into works of art and functionality that could have been sprung only from the human imagination. From lamps and tables made out of unlikely materials, to sculptures created from nothing other than discarded supplies, upcycling has long existed and is now capturing the minds of people around the world.

Automotive parts offer a special case when it comes time to do away with them; often not accepted by local garbage collection services (given their weight and composition), old car parts can present a real hassle. Instead of focusing that energy on disposing the materials, set your sights instead on what those parts could be. Here are six examples of excellent upcycled hacks, automotive style:

1. Wheelie Pool Table

Wheelie Pool Table
Via Autoblog

Discarded Supermini tires have been converted into a table base for a pool table in this image, making for a very stylish piece of usable furniture, especially for racing enthusiasts.


2. License Plate Basket

License Plate Basket
Via Cool Material

Made from useful sheet metal, license plates can serve as more than simple identifiers! Once you’ve gotten the necessary use from them on your car, consider implementing the material in an unorthodox but highly useful way by creating a basket with the license plates as the base.

Suitable both indoors and outdoors, this basket is sure to spark unique chatter!

3. Driveway Reflectors

Driveway Reflectors
Via Etsy

Owning a long, dark driveway means setting up some form of reflectors or lighting in order to help guide you and your visitors along the right path after the sun goes down. Instead of purchasing a new set of equipment, consider putting the reflectors and light covers from abandoned vehicles to clever use. Able to both reflect and refract light, this arrangement will show up when headlights hit it, solving navigation problems in the dark while costing you absolutely nothing more than time to implement.

4. Car Seat Sofa

Car Seat Sofa

If you’ve got access to an entire discarded vehicle, the upcycle possibilities are endless! This photo shows an intricate sofa made from beautiful leather seats with the altered front end serving as a frame. While this job may be a bit more intense than you planned for, both in time and materials, any variation on the finished product could prove to be a valuable addition to your sitting or hobby room!

5. Headlight Lamps

Headlight Lamps
Via greenecoservices

Pre-wired and usually already fitted with a light bulb, headlights on unused cars are excellent indoor lighting options! With only a minimal amount of electrical knowledge required, any headlight can be easily removed and converted to draw power from a household electrical outlet.

Making a particularly nice garage piece, lamps made with headlights can fit any criteria set when you begin your creation, allowing it to be fixed in place or to serve as a mobile lighting system for work in dimly lit areas.

6. Giant Cow

Giant Cow

How much time and effort did you plan to put into your automotive upcycle project? The huge sculpture pictured above is the work of a single upcycling artist, proving just how creative one person can get with even the most raw of materials!

While many of the individual parts of a vehicle hold potential for small household treasures, the frames and other larger components are likely to remained unused. While obviously not an endeavor for everybody, the act of converting refuse into art is one that serves to remove material that would otherwise end up in a dump or junkyard into an exciting conversation piece for an extraordinary yard!

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