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Re-purpose a Bicycle Wheel to Make a Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is symbolic in nearly every culture and religion. It unites heaven, earth, and the underworld and acts as a bridge between the worlds. In Norse mythology, the tree of life is called Yggdrasil, and the gods live in the branches, watching us mere mortals down below. In Egypt, a holy sycamore guards the threshold between life and death and the Mayans believe that the tree of life supports the heavens. The Herero people of South West Africa believe that the spirit tree has magical powers and that the first people climbed up the roots from the underworld to dwell on earth.

Hang the repurposed bicycle wheel up with a piece of twine. #repurposed #bicycle #treeoflife #acraftymix #DIYtutorial #bicycleupcycle #brokenbicycle

I have always been fascinated by these stories and trees hold a very special place in my heart. They are so majestic with their roots entombed deep in the earth and their branches stretching up towards the heavens. So I thought I’d repurpose a bicycle wheel to make one and remind us that Everything is connected. All religions, all cultures, and all people.

Re-purpose a bicycle wheel and make a tree of life. Full tutorial on the blog

Okay, before we get to the tutorial, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. And don’t forget to click the subscribe button so you’ll never miss a post!

What You Need to Make A Tree of Life

To make the tree of life you’ll need a bicycle rim and a roll of 12 gauge black jewelry wire. A 12 gauge wire is about 2 mm thick (1/12″). I love using jewelry wire to create art. It’s super easy to work with. If you can’t find jewelry wire, normal wire will work too. It’s just a little more difficult to twist. The amount you use will depend on the size of your bicycle wheel or whatever round form you’re using. You also need some snips to cut the wire.

The broken bicycle wheel before we turned it into a tree of life #repurposed #bicycle #treeoflife #acraftymix #DIYtutorial #bicycleupcycle #brokenbicycle

If the rim still has the spokes remove them first.

Remove all the spokes. #repurposed #bicycle #treeoflife #acraftymix #DIYtutorial #bicycleupcycle #brokenbicycle

Lightly sand the bicycle rim to remove any rust marks and wipe it down before painting the rim black.

Paint the bicycle wheel black or a matching color. #repurposed #bicycle #treeoflife #acraftymix #DIYtutorial #bicycleupcycle #brokenbicycle

Making the Tree of Life

Measure the diameter of the rim and cut the jewelry wire into pieces that are about 1 3/4 times as long as the diameter of the rim. You’ll need about 60 to 70 pieces in total. The more pieces you cut the wider the tree trunk will be.

Measure the diameter of the bicycle wheel to calculate how long the wire should be cut. #repurposed #bicycle #treeoflife #acraftymix #DIYtutorial #bicycleupcycle #brokenbicycle

Place all the strips of wire together and twist them tightly just off center from where the middle line would be to form the trunk. Place the twisted wire strips over the bicycle rim to check if you’re happy with the trunk length. If you look at a photo of a real tree the trunk isn’t really that high in relation to the rest of the tree, so don’t twist the wire too far up. You won’t have enough to make the branches and roots later 😉

Twist and split the jewelry wire. #repurposed #bicycle #treeoflife #acraftymix #DIYtutorial #bicycleupcycle #brokenbicycle

Once you’re happy, split the shorter wires into five groups. Don’t worry about trying to make the groups the same thickness, it will add to the organic look of the tree later 😉 Then simply twist and split, twist and split to form the roots. Try to make sure you twist the wires in the same direction so you don’t unravel a previous twist. Keep on placing the tree of life on the rim to check if you’re happy with the form and adapt as you go along.

Make the roots and the branches in the same way by twisting and splitting the jewelry wire. #repurposed #bicycle #treeoflife #acraftymix #DIYtutorial #bicycleupcycle #brokenbicycle #jewelrywire #wirecrafts

Do the same for the branches. Let some of the wires overlap and add some kinks to the wire or bend them to mimic how branches grow on trees. Every tree will look different, so don’t worry about making it perfect.

Your tree of life is as unique as what you are.Click to Tweet

The one we have at our little round house looks completely different. To attach the tree of life to the bicycle rim, push some of the wires into the holes where the spokes would have gone and twist them together.

To finish off the tree of life, insert the wire into the spoke hole #repurposed #bicycle #treeoflife #acraftymix #DIYtutorial

And hang her up.

Everything is connected. All religions, all cultures and all people

We hung ours using a bit of twine.

Re-purpose a bicycle wheel and make a tree of life. Full tutorial on the blog

And added a swing on one of the branches that we made from a toy car’s wheel. But if you’re feeling adventurous you could always make this miniature porch swing to hang from the branches 😉

Re-purpose a bicycle wheel and make a tree of life. Full tutorial on the blog

Oh and by the way, save those wire offcuts. They can be used to make some awesome wire art or even this super easy photo holder.

Re-purpose a bicycle wheel and make a tree of life. Full tutorial on the blog #DIYHomeDecor #Repurpose

I would love to know what you think. Do you also feel a special connection with the Tree of Life?

Oh and don’t forget to pin and share.

Unique and unusual  Tree of Life garden art made from a repurposed bicycle wheel. Full tutorial on the blog #DIYHomeDecor #Repurpose #repurposed #bicycle #treeoflife #acraftymix #DIYtutorial #bicycleupcycle #brokenbicycle

BTW, if you don’t have any jewelry wire you can make a Tree of Life using T-shirt yarn too. You can get that tutorial here.

And if you’d like to make one and don’t want to go to all that trouble of finding the materials, I’ve got you covered 😉 Disclosure: If you click on the links below, we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us come up with more unique DIY and craft tutorials for you 😉

Sale Mandala Crafts Anodized Aluminum Wire for Sculpting, Armature, Jewelry Making, Gem Metal Wrap, Garden, Colored and Soft, 1 Roll(16 Gauge, Black)
Wheel Master 24' Cruiser/Comfort Rear Wheel - Weinmann AS7X Rim, 36H, Coaster Hub, Black
BQLZR Black RC 1: 10 Flat Car 12mm Hub Wheel Rims 5 Spoke + Rubber Tires Pack of 4

Wishing you lots of love and peace always. Thank you for popping in for a visit.

Made with love by a Crafty Mix

Categories:   Craft Tutorials, DIY Tutorials, Home Decor Crafts, Our Round House, Trash to Treasure, Wire Crafts

Comments

  • Posted: September 7, 2019 13:35

    CAROL COLE

    I love this one so much. To think I got rid of those wheels makes me unhappy. Great, wonderful job.
    • Posted: September 7, 2019 13:59

      acraftymix

      Oh nooooo, I hope you find some more Carol
  • Posted: May 28, 2019 22:30

    Tonja

    I never comment on these posts, but this is one of the most beautiful upcycles I have ever seen... I only recently started to craft due to an illness...and am so excited for this one...I hope mine comes out as beautifully as yours did. Thank you for sharing this.
    • Posted: May 29, 2019 05:02

      acraftymix

      You just made my day Tonja. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I can't tell you how much that means to me. I'm sorry to hear that you've been ill and hope that you'll have so much fun making the tree of life. Stay safe and get better soon 💞
  • Posted: May 23, 2019 02:53

    Kaz

    So pretty..Ive got heaps of embroidery hoops that Im gonna try this on. A few holes drilled into the frame should do the job. Arthritis and Fibromyalgia have made all my craft attempts so much harder..numb hands or shooting pain. Im not letting it stop me tho..think the tree would also look great on the more sturdier wreath frames too or old picture frames. So many options 😊 Thanku so much...just gorgeous x
    • Posted: May 23, 2019 03:43

      acraftymix

      You are such a superstar Kaz. I can only imagine how sore it must be. Arthritis is not for sissies 💞 An embroidery hoop is going to be perfect for something like this and maybe you don't even need to drill holes. You could wind the wire around the inner hoop once or twice before tightening it up when the whole tree is done. Sending much love and I'm sure your trees of life are going to be gorgeous and give you lots of pleasure
  • Posted: January 30, 2019 05:18

    Louise

    Wow this piece of art is amazing, great work. I'll definitely try it. How many rolls of 12 gauge black jewelry wire did you use for this project? Thanks
    • Posted: January 30, 2019 06:29

      acraftymix

      So happy you like the Tree of Life Louise, thank you. I only used one roll of the wire for this one and had some left over too. I suppose it depends on how long your roll is. We buy our jewelry wire at the China Mall down the road and they don't actually specify how long it is.
  • Posted: January 16, 2019 18:27

    maria

    You are always thinking of something so unique. This is so perfect, right up my in nature ideas.
  • Posted: June 20, 2018 13:28

    Sunny

    About how many strands of wire did you start with? I know the length depends on the rim, but did not find an approximate number of wire pieces to use for trunk to then spread out for limbs and roots. I made one of these years ago with macramé yarn and I love the design.
    • Posted: June 20, 2018 14:29

      acraftymix

      Hey there Sunny, I started with the middle to build up the truck and then split the branches and roots from there. I just went outside quickly and there are 83 strands of wire in total 🙂 If the rim is smaller I'd use less strands so the trunk doesn't look out of proportion and too fat
  • Posted: May 22, 2018 04:25

    Josie

    That is quite something!! I have seen a few things done with bicycle parts over the years but nothing like this :) .... very creative indeed!!
    • Posted: May 22, 2018 04:48

      acraftymix

      Wow Josie, thank you so much. I've just been on your wonderful site too and you have sooooo much information there. I think I'll be spending more time looking around. The message and meaning behind the tree of life is incredibly special
  • Posted: May 17, 2018 01:02

    Marilyn Lesniak

    Congratulations! Your post was my feature pick at #ThursdayFavoriteThings this week. Visit me at https://www.marilynstreats.com on thursday morning to see your feature! All hosts choose their own features from the comments left on their blog so be sure to return to my blog to see your feature. I invite you to leave more links to be shared and commented upon. Please don’t forget to add your link numbers or post title so we can be sure to visit!
    • Posted: May 17, 2018 13:32

      acraftymix

      Oh wow, thank you Marilyn. I really appreciate that 💕
  • Posted: December 17, 2017 23:08

    Phyllis

    How did you manage to twist 60 strands of 12 gauge wire? I'm trying 1/2 of that and struggling.
    • Posted: December 18, 2017 04:01

      acraftymix

      Are you using jewelry wire Phyllis?
  • Posted: August 9, 2017 19:25

    Sadhna Grover

    I love this tree of life. The way you twisted the wire is amazing. Am I imagining that in your tree, the top is the branches and the bottom is the root, or it is true? Awesome work dear.
    • Posted: August 10, 2017 06:37

      acraftymix

      Your spot on Sadhna and thank you so much for the lovely compliment. I really appreciate that
  • Posted: August 1, 2017 23:27

    Mia

    Love this idea, Michelle! What a great transformation! Your tree of life is absolute fabulous! Kisses, my friend.
    • Posted: August 2, 2017 11:46

      acraftymix

      Thank you so much Mia, hope you have a beautifully creative week xoxoxox
  • Posted: July 12, 2017 12:56

    Carolann

    Oh my gosh! This is stunning, Michelle. You are truly an artist! I love the tree of life. It's one of my favs! I would love to buy one! Everything you make is truly artwork. You always inspire me <3
    • Posted: July 12, 2017 13:33

      acraftymix

      Thanks so very much Carolann. I'm also a little besotted with them, they talk to my soul
  • Posted: July 10, 2017 01:02

    Kim @Hunt & Host

    AHMAZING! love this project
    • Posted: July 10, 2017 15:05

      acraftymix

      Thank you Kim, I really appreciate that
  • Posted: July 5, 2017 15:04

    Courtney

    I think this is AMAZING! You turned an ordinary item into something so beautiful. I love it!
    • Posted: July 5, 2017 15:27

      acraftymix

      Thank you Courtney :D I just wish I could find more broken bicycle wheels to make some more
  • Posted: July 5, 2017 12:26

    FLORENCE @ VintageSouthernPicks

    Michelle! This is gorgeous! You are a creative artiste. I wouldn't have thought of this in a million years. Wish I could see your little round house...I'm sure it's full of treasure!
    • Posted: July 5, 2017 12:45

      acraftymix

      ** Please insert blush emoticon here ** Thank you so much Florence, if ever you come to South Africa, you just let me know and you can come stay in our little round house and enjoy our beautiful beaches
  • Posted: July 5, 2017 11:46

    Julie Nichols

    Wow! I love this! Your creativity is amazing! What a gorgeous piece I love how you displayed it 💕
    • Posted: July 5, 2017 12:46

      acraftymix

      Thank you Julie, these are so much fun to make. I just wish I could find more broken bicycle wheels :D
  • Posted: March 10, 2017 10:52

    Stanford

    Art is magnificent, especially this idea of tree of life. I am an up coming artists from Zimbabwe, I love art
    • Posted: March 10, 2017 14:37

      acraftymix

      Thank you so very much Stanford, art brings as all together and I would really love to see some of your art, if you're willing to share.
  • Posted: January 15, 2017 17:32

    Tammy

    This is amazing love it! Very creative!
    • Posted: January 16, 2017 05:18

      acraftymix

      Thank you very much Tammy :D
  • Posted: January 13, 2017 14:35

    Pili

    What a beautiful story behind the tree of life, Michelle. You're right, everything is connected. This is a piece of art, really stunning. I could see it hanging from an art gallery, seriously.
    • Posted: January 13, 2017 16:25

      acraftymix

      Wow Pili, thank you so very much. That's such a lovely comment.
  • Posted: January 12, 2017 16:38

    Marie from The Interior Frugalista

    Oh my gosh, this is seriously adorable. The tree of life alone was such a unique idea but adding that adorable tire swing ramped up the adorable factor. Pinned and sharing and must show this to my son who is an avid off-road mountain bike enthusiast. :)
    • Posted: January 13, 2017 06:50

      acraftymix

      Oh Marie, thank you so much for your lovely comment. We really enjoy making these and everyone seems to want one. Now if only I could find more bicycle rims ;-)
  • Posted: January 8, 2017 16:02

    Nita Domoney

    This is beautiful and such an interesting feature to have on a wall - very clever.
    • Posted: January 9, 2017 04:47

      acraftymix

      Thank you so much Nita, I'm glad you like it.
  • Posted: November 6, 2016 16:48

    Laura Theriault

    Has anyone done a 14" or 12" rim and if so how many strands of wire do you need?
    • Posted: November 7, 2016 05:08

      acraftymix

      Hey Laura, I haven't tried with a smaller rim, but the calculation I normally use is to multiply the diameter of the rim by 1.5 and then multiply that by 60 to figure out how much wire I need. Hope it helps
  • Posted: November 1, 2016 00:25

    Priscilla

    If I were to use a hula hoop, how would I attach the wire branches. I would paint the hula hoop, but don't know if glue would hold the wire pieces.
    • Posted: November 1, 2016 03:28

      acraftymix

      Ummm, I wonder if you could try drilling holes in the hula hoop? If it's a good quality plastic then I'm sure it could work. You only probably need about 5 holes at the bottom and 5 at the top to anchor the tree. I think we have a hula hoop somewhere in the garage,I can try it out for you
  • Posted: October 26, 2016 18:24

    Ana Maria

    I love it! And it looks pretty easy and you can't really make a mistake with the tree form. Do you have any other suggestions on what to use instead of a bicycle rim? What else could I possibly use?! Hula hoop is too big, right?
    • Posted: October 26, 2016 19:19

      acraftymix

      Uuuum actually I think a hula hoop might work Ana Maria. I know you get the smaller version for little people or you could try an embroidery ring. They come in smaller sizes too?
  • Posted: October 24, 2016 12:09

    Katerina Konstantinou

    wow! This looks so beautiful! Thanks a lot for the detailed tutorial!
    • Posted: October 24, 2016 12:38

      acraftymix

      Thank you Katerina, I'm glad you enjoyed it
  • Posted: October 20, 2016 16:18

    Georgia

    Where do you buy the 12 gauge wire?
    • Posted: October 21, 2016 07:38

      acraftymix

      Hi Georgia, we buy ours at the bead shop in the China Mall, but you can order it online at Amazon, Ebay and AliExpress.
  • Posted: October 19, 2016 13:08

    Rosie Walsh

    For this project, in USA measurements, get 200' roll of 12 gauge wire. Each strip will be just under 30". I'd love to know the diameter of the rim you used. Then to figure out the different ratios using a larger or smaller rim. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful art work. WOW!
    • Posted: October 19, 2016 14:06

      acraftymix

      Hi there Rosie, thank you so much for your lovely comment. The inside rim measurement is 51 cm or 20 inches. Please let me know if you need any other measurements and I'll check them for you.
  • Posted: October 19, 2016 06:45

    Raylene Harvey

    Oh wow, Michelle! This tree of life DIY is amazing - I have to try it :) I can totally see this hanging on the wall of my sewing studio. So glad I found your blog <3 xx
    • Posted: October 19, 2016 08:45

      acraftymix

      Hey Raylene, I'm loving you video tuts. Thanks so much for coming to say hi ;-)
  • Posted: October 15, 2016 12:46

    Karen Ploransky

    Michele, what an amazing project! I love the background at the beginning. An gorgeous project! I'm going to share it on my blog facebook page!
    • Posted: October 15, 2016 14:13

      acraftymix

      Thank you Karen ;-) and I love shares too
  • Posted: October 15, 2016 02:08

    Donna Williams

    Just WOW, Michelle. I can't even believe this is a thing. The tree is STUNNING! Mind blown. I've featured you this weekend on DIY Salvaged Junk 349. Thanks for linking up! :)
    • Posted: October 15, 2016 07:00

      acraftymix

      Oh my word, Donna, thank you so much for the feature. You've made my weekend :D
  • Posted: October 11, 2016 20:37

    Lynne Forrest

    Love this. How did you attach the tree to the bike rim????
    • Posted: October 12, 2016 04:36

      acraftymix

      Thank you so much Lynne. We attached the tree of life to the bicycle rim by pushing some of the wires into the holes where the spokes would have gone and twisting them together. The close up picture of the rim above shows how we did it. Let me know if it helps
  • Posted: October 8, 2016 13:16

    Stephanie

    Wow, this is truly beautiful! I would have never guessed that was a tire! So pretty.
    • Posted: October 9, 2016 07:30

      acraftymix

      Thank you so much Stephanie ;-)
  • Posted: October 8, 2016 04:06

    Petrina

    Wow, this is so clever, creative and absolutely beautiful! I would have never thought to make something like this. Now that I know, I will definitely be making this! I love the whole thing, but the little tire swing is so adorable. It adds the perfect touch. Thank you so much for sharing! Take care!
    • Posted: October 11, 2016 10:57

      acraftymix

      Thank you so much Petrina, glad you liked it. I'd love to see some photos of yours when you're done ;-)
  • Posted: October 6, 2016 20:22

    Marilyn Stein

    I am new to jewelry wire. Is the specific size 1,2 mm? I've seen 2 mm but I've never seen a "split" size with a comma...
    • Posted: October 7, 2016 05:12

      acraftymix

      Oops, I think that's a mistake on my part. It should be 12 gauge jewelry wire which is about 2 mm thick. Thanks for pointing that out Marilyn
  • Posted: October 6, 2016 13:35

    Celeste | The Whole Serving

    This is amazing and so beautiful, I love it.
    • Posted: October 6, 2016 13:37

      acraftymix

      Thank you so much Celeste <3
  • Posted: October 6, 2016 03:22

    Cathy Chesser

    Your Amazing Tree of Life is the most Beautiful piece of Art I have ever seen. You are a talented artist and a precious person. Thank you for sharing my heart was touched <3
    • Posted: October 6, 2016 04:52

      acraftymix

      Wow Cathy, what a beautiful thing to say. Thank you so very much <3
  • Posted: October 6, 2016 03:08

    Kellie

    My mouth is gaping open! Wow! Can you make me one? i am sure mine would not turn out like that. Really spectacular, amazing, I'm in awe!!!
    • Posted: October 6, 2016 04:54

      acraftymix

      Of course yes, I'll swap you for one of those adorable monster costumes you made? It's really easy to make I you use the softer jewelry wire though, so give it a try.
  • Posted: October 6, 2016 02:21

    rachel

    Where did you get the wire?
    • Posted: October 6, 2016 04:57

      acraftymix

      We buy the wire at our local China Mall. South Africa has tons of them all over the place and they sell the wire in 60m rolls. I did a quick search on google and got lots of results coming back so you'll be able to shop around for a price that suits you best.
  • Posted: October 6, 2016 01:42

    Candy Walsh

    This is so awesome and I'm SO glad I came across it on Hometalk! My son is an avid cyclist and is a mechanic and manager at a high end bicycle shop here. As soon as I saw this I texted him and asked him to bring me and old rim home! I'm going to make it for the shop owner and his family for Christmas, so this was perfect timing!! Thanks so much for the idea and inspiration behind it~this is very unique and creative!
    • Posted: October 6, 2016 04:59

      acraftymix

      My pleasure Candy, really glad you likes it and it will make a lovely Christmas gift for the shop owner. Thanks for coming to say hi from HomeTalk
  • Posted: October 5, 2016 23:10

    Auntiepatch

    Beautiful!
    • Posted: October 6, 2016 05:00

      acraftymix

      Thank you Karen ;-)
  • Posted: October 5, 2016 21:25

    Linda at Mixed Kreations

    This is so neat, love it! I haven't seen one this large, I've only seen the ones made in jewelry, and one of these days I'm going to give that a try. This one is so creative, and a great way to repurpose an old bicycle rim. Love the little added touch of the little swing.
    • Posted: October 6, 2016 05:01

      acraftymix

      Glad you like it Linda. You're so clever with all your crafts, I'm looking forward to seeing how you add your own unique touch.
  • Posted: October 5, 2016 20:17

    Sarah - Craft Invaders

    Oh this is amazing, I want one!
    • Posted: October 6, 2016 05:03

      acraftymix

      Yay, thank you Sarah ;-)
  • Posted: October 5, 2016 15:52

    Kat

    This is just spectacular! This will definitely be a project worth trying!
    • Posted: October 5, 2016 16:14

      acraftymix

      Hello boootiful Kat. I'm so glad you like it <3
  • Posted: October 5, 2016 15:35

    Ilka

    I'm so impressed by this creative idea! What a beautiful wall decor!
    • Posted: October 5, 2016 16:15

      acraftymix

      I'm really glad you like it Ilka
  • Posted: October 5, 2016 15:23

    jan

    Going to be looking for bike wheels--think a kids would be great too. Very creative and thanks for the great tutorial
    • Posted: October 5, 2016 16:13

      acraftymix

      Thank you Jan and a kid's wheel would work beautifully. You'd definitely use less wire. Thank you so much for coming to say hi and leaving a comment
  • Posted: October 5, 2016 14:31

    Laura

    I'm a cyclist and love this!!!!!
    • Posted: October 5, 2016 15:04

      acraftymix

      Yay, I'm so glad Laura. I think I'd see my butt if I tried getting on a bicycle now ;-) Thank you so much for coming to say hi and leaving a comment
  • Posted: October 5, 2016 05:21

    Katrin

    Wow, Michelle, {I think I start every comment for your posts with wow, lol} this tree of life diy is beautiful and you are so so creative to use a tire! I love it!
    • Posted: October 5, 2016 05:58

      acraftymix

      Lol, wow is good Katrin ;-) Thank you so much
  • Posted: October 4, 2016 16:27

    Mary-the boondocks blog

    This is so amazingly awesome! I just showed it to my daughter, the one with the artistic inclinations, and her jaw dropped! Love all the quirkiness and details that you have added with the wire twisting. And the photography is excellent!
    • Posted: October 4, 2016 20:25

      acraftymix

      Wow Mary, thank you. That's such a beautiful compliment coming from someone who takes the most amazing pictures. Please tell your daughter I say thank you too
  • Posted: October 4, 2016 14:11

    Sarah Jean

    I never would have guessed it was from a bike wheel - how cool!
    • Posted: October 4, 2016 15:21

      acraftymix

      Thank you Sarah ;-) I think someone must have taken a nasty fall looking at how banged up the rim is.
  • Posted: October 4, 2016 13:02

    Keri

    Michelle, I never would have guessed that your tree was made from a tire, wow! The twisted wires make it look like real branches, amazing! You're so creative!
    • Posted: October 4, 2016 15:22

      acraftymix

      Thank you Keri. I love making these, we just struggle a bit to find old bicycle wheels

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