Introduction: Jack's How to Build a Stool Using Recycled Bicycle Tubes and Other Basement Treasures


Hi, my name is Jack. I am a middle school student from Central Massachusetts. My goal for this project is to make a seat on a stool by recycling bicycle inner tubes.

Engineering Design

I originally planned on finding an old stool that had a damaged seat. I wanted to remove the seat and replace it with bicycle inner tubes. When I found the stool I wanted, I noticed it was real old and small (more of a decoration). Also, it could be worth money as an antique. At that point I decided to look around my grandparents basement for items I could use to build my own stool. I found balusters from my uncle’s staircase and a couple ¾ inch dowels.

Why is using recylcled inner tubes a good thing?

Using recycled inner tubes is a good thing because old tires and tubes take up space in a landfill and, if buried, they release harmful chemicals into the air. Old tires and tubes contain chemicals and heavy metals that leach into the environment. The toxins leach into the ground. Water can carry the toxins to other locations and make animals sick if they come in contact with the water.

Rainwater can build up in tires and tubes and become a breeding ground for mosquitos. Then, the mosquitos carry diseases to people.


I decided I wanted my stool 14 ½ inches high. I wanted the seat about 11 ¾ inches long and 9 ½ inches wide. I will use my carving set to carve the dowel ends in about ½ an inch so they fit in the holes in the balusters. I will ask my grandfather to make 2- ¾ inch holes in each leg (baluster), about ½ inch down and another 6 inches down in the center to hold the dowel ends. Then, I will ask him to make 2 more holes, same distance down on the leg side that is a 90 degree angle from the first hole. I will try to fit it together. I will make a seat by weaving recycled inner tubes.

I didn’t see any sites on the internet telling how to make this project but I did see a picture of a chair with a bicycle tube seat.


Materials and Supplies

2 Dowels

4 Balusters

Recycled tire tubes

Wood glue




Glue sticks


Chop saw

Drill press

Staple gun


Carving kit

Glue gun

The Building Process:

Step 1:

I used 1 ¾ inch balusters from a stairway and some ⅞ inch dowels I found in my grandparents basement.

Step 2:

Cut 4 dowel pieces 9 ½ inches long. Cut 4 more 11 ¾ inches long. Cut 4 balusters 14 ½ inches long.

Step 3:

Use a drill press and make a hole in the balusters ½ inch down and another 6 inches down in the center. Make 2 more holes, same distance down, in the baluster on the side that is 90 degrees from the first hole.

Step 4:

Carve the dowel ends down about ½ inch to make the ends less than ¾ of an inch round to fit in the balusters.

Step 5:

Paint all the dowels and balusters (legs) any color you want.

Step 6:

Fit all the dowels into the balusters to make the frame.

Step 7:

Have someone hold the frame together while you slowly remove one dowel at a time, put glue on the ends, and fit into the balusters.

Step 8:

Put wood clamps on the legs, front to back and side to side.

Step 9:

Let dry about 4 days.

Step 10:

Take clamps off.

Step 11:

Wash the tire tubes in soapy water and rinse. Let dry.

Step 12:

Practice stapling the tube to a dowel.

Step 13:

Measure how long you want the tubes and cut them, leaving a little extra.

Step 14:

Flip the stool frame over. Mark where you want the first tube. (I made a paper pattern of how the tubes will fit.)

Step 15:

Staple the first tube in the middle of the dowel on the underside. Continue attaching the others about ¼ inch between each one until you get close to the leg. Stretch and staple the ends of tube to the other side underneath.

Step 16:

Turn stool, measure the length for the tube going that way, cut some strips, and staple one in the middle underneath. Weave it over and under the tubes going the other way.

Step 17:

Every ¼ inch add another tube and weave the tube pieces until they get close to the leg. Stretch tube as you staple all the ends underneath.

Step 18:

Cut off any excess tube that shows.

Step 19:

Test finished stool by sitting on the seat to see if it holds you. Also, test as a footstool.

Step 20:

Difficult Aspects

Making this project wasn’t real difficult. What I needed help with was cutting the legs and making the holes in the legs. I asked my grandfather to help do that. The other difficulty was holding it together with the glue on it until it was clamped. It got kind of slippery. I was happy when I took the clamps off and it stayed together and was pretty level.

Type of Object I Built

I wanted a stool for my room so I made the stool to sit on but also to put my feet on as a footstool.


I didn’t really do a modification. Everything worked fine. The only thing I did afterward was when the stool was up on the table the excess tube kind of showed underneath so I glued it to the dowel.

Skills Needed

The skills needed are how to use a drill press, a chop saw, and a staple gun. I had my grandfather operate the drill press and chop saw because the pieces were small. I operated the staple gun. The weaving part was something I learned in Kindergarten.


The stool works fine. It worked fine when I sat on it. It was a pretty easy project. It took a while to decide what I wanted to make because a lot of things I saw involved sewing.



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