While the earth is full of materials for manufacturing furniture, the supply isn’t limitless. Why not do Mother Nature a favor and either build or buy some very cool and imaginative pieces of furniture made from recycled materials?

You’d be surprised just how many discarded items out there you once thought of as useless can be turned into wildly artistic chairs, tables and home decor. With a little basic construction know-how, you can transform old bike wheels, water skis and CD jewel cases into functional, eye-catching furniture. Here are several ideas on how to go about converting different types of recycled materials into wonderful additions to your home or garden.

1. Bike Wheel Seats and Tables

If you have an old bike lying around, or maybe you wrecked a new one, you can turn those bent and dented bike wheels into some comfortable furniture. Twisting, contorting and welding the wheels into the designs you desire might be a bit of a creative challenge, but it can also be a heck of a lot of fun. You can get ideas from artists and shops that do this kind of thing for a living—and if your creative endeavors happen to frustrate in you, you can always toss your mangled wheels aside, take out your wallet and give those hard-working bike wheel furniture makers some of your business instead.

2. Metal Drum Furniture

Old metal drums can be given a second life as home or garden furnishings. If you’re good with a blowtorch and some basic tools, you can build chairs, tables and benches out of recycled oil drums. For those of you who don’t have the time or skill to dive into such a project, there are furniture designers all over the world who will be more than happy to sell you, or build you a piece (or several pieces) of furniture constructed out of metal drums. Just make sure you, or the people you hire, scrub the drums down thoroughly before getting to work.

3. Water Ski Lawn Chairs

Water skis won’t last forever. A new style might come out, or maybe you just want a fresh pair of skis to slice through the water on. The good news is you can take your old skis, cut them into appropriator shapes and sizes, bolt them together and create cool benches, lawn chairs and footrests. Like all of the materials we’ve looked at so far, you can go the do-it-yourself route with these projects, or you can buy some funky water ski furniture that has already been made for you.


4. Wine Barrel Furniture

We don’t know how much wine you drink (no judgments here), but if you literally drink or produce it by the barrel, or you can get your hands on some disused barrels, you’ll have the perfect recycled material for building some very chic furniture. Old wine barrels can easily be turned into artsy bar stools, benches, chairs, coffee tables, desks and dinner tables. You’ll need some carpentry skills and tools to get this hobby going, of course—or the help and advice of a pro. Once you do get started, you just might become addicted to the endless possibilities that exist in the world of wine barrel furniture design.

5. CD Case Chandeliers, Disco Balls and Picture Frames

No one buys CDs any more. Downloading music is now the name of the game. Even so, that doesn’t mean you don’t have dozens, if not hundreds of old CD jewel cases in storage somewhere. Luckily, you can take those old CD cases and turn them into decorations and art pieces for your home. CD chandeliers, disco balls and picture frames are just some of the wonderful ornaments you can build out of those dusty jewel cases. If a CD case chandelier doesn’t strike your fancy, you can take your actual CDs (the music now lives on your iPod or computer) and turn them into drink coasters, or transform the cases into box planters and desk organizers. Go crazy, and let your imagination be your guide.