Making Something Out Of Nothing
Sarah Rae Smith
Oct 20, 2008

When scavenging Craigslist's Free section there are things that have obvious uses. Couches usually remain couches and refrigerators usually remain refrigerators. But what about some of the other things, that although common, might have a dual use with a little creativity? Each day this week we will show you two items that could be transformed with a few simple steps. Click through the jump to see today's trash to treasure suggestions.

Sometimes even the best deals we find aren't quite within our budget. We might be saving for other things or just trying to keep our heads above water but either way, it can make decorating either super challenging, or super fun. Check out below how we take a speaker box and a truck tire and turn them into something useful for your home.

Truck tires. They are the fruit flies of Craigslist and almost every city has at least one listing for free tires right this very second. We came across this super fat tire that has some life left in it yet.

Step One: Set your tire in the sun. The sun will soften the tire a bit and make your job a little bit easier. Not a piece of cake mind you, but every little bit helps. 15 minutes will be fine, but 30 minutes can't hurt!
Step Two: Using a strong knife (please don't use your fancy kitchen knives for this. One from the garage would be best. Although if you have no other choice, check with your local tire repair shop and they might be able to do this part for you... assuming you bring them tasty cookies as payment!) cut as close to the tread as possible. The rim will be thick and can be tough, but the closer you can go to the tread the better the end result. (See arrows #1 & #3 on the diagram above for cutting lines)
Step Three: Cut it vertically allowing it to roll out into one long piece. (See diagram and arrow #2 for placement)
Step Four: Let it sit in the sun again. Take this time to find a tasty beverage. You should have a hand cramp from cutting by this point, so a drink break comes at just the right time.
Step Five: While laying it flat against the ground, roll your car tires over the top of it to keep it pressed flat. This might require the assistance of some friends (who trust you to not run over their fingers) to keep it flat until your car is in position. Don't own a car? Large cinder blocks, trash cans or rocks might do the trick.
Step Six: Your new tire doormat is ready to be placed before your front door, back door, garage door, workroom door or even kitchen if you so desire.
Tip: Next spring fill some of the grooves with dirt. Take a few handfuls of moss and a few cups of milk and put them the blender. Blend. Pour the mixture over the dirt in the grooves and watch it grow. You will soon have a rubber/moss matt that combines the best of both the industrial world and the natural one.

Speaker boxes. Most the times these bulky items are being tossed to the curb and replaced with smaller, sleeker speakers that mesh better with our decor. Which is why it's a good thing we aren't using them for their intended purpose. Check out the alterations below to make a really great cat hide out.

Step One:
Depending on the condition of the box a light sanding might be in order. Knock off any rough spots that Mr. Fluff Fluff won't be too fond of, or will snag his fur on.
Step Two: Paint. Or keep it the original wood if you want, but now is your big chance to make it mesh with your existing decor. Check the "oops section" of the hardware paint aisles for reject cans for a buck or two. Other options might be contact paper or wallpaper that you have lying around. (See arrow #1 on diagram)
Step Three: Cover the floorboard in rope. It's great for their nails, but if rope isn't something you have a stockpile of, you can go hog-wild with an X-acto knife, cutting cardboard boxes into small 1/2" strips to line the bottom instead. Just stack them side by side and glue them together and down to the bottom of the box. The exposed inner bits of cardboard should be showing (like a commercial cardboard cat scratcher). (See arrow #2 on diagram)
Step Four: Using a small piece of scrap wood and a few short nails, attach a small shelf under the upper hole. This should allow a cat to enter the box from the bottom hole and jump up to his new perch to "survey his kingdom." (See arrow #3 on diagram)
(Tip: You can use this same speaker box and use it for a nightstand if you are in need. Paint it up, and add a larger shelf inside to hold your books, glasses or tissues!)

That's all there is to making some common Free Craiglist items into something that can be used around your home for very little time, energy or resources. Tomorrow we will be featuring two new items that get the Apartment Therapy Makeover, so stay tuned!

(note: The projects below would require the use of tools, paint, hardware and other assorted items that you might have laying around your home. If not you could borrow such items from a friend/family member or find in another Craigslist posting containing them. If not, there might be a small charge for some of these things in the end.)

Photos via Craigslist, Illustrations by

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