By JEANNIE WILEY WOLF
LEIPSIC — Madisyn Curry wanted to make a point with her interior design class at Leipsic High School.
First, she taught about repurposing and environmental sustainability. Then the first-year teacher presented the students with a pile of old tires and bicycle rims and challenged them to create something new.
“I gave them a few ideas of what I would do, but then they had to take it on their own and create their own design,” said Curry, family and consumer science teacher.
The 18 students in the class turned out ottomans, chairs, clocks and planters.
Seniors Lyndie Hazelton and Clarissa Plassman used two car tires, a piece of plywood, some fabric and foam to create an ottoman with storage space.
“So you can put stuff in it, like, when you take it to college or in your room that you don’t want people to see,” Lyndie explained.
The girls used screws to attach the tires together. Then they painted the tires white — three coats — for a pop of color.
“It made us realize you can repurpose basically anything,” Lyndie said. “Like, who knew you could turn a tire into something that you can actually use.”
Nearly all of the work was done in class, which meets for 43 minutes daily.
“So we brought power tools in. We talked to our ag teacher. Faculty members were bringing in twine, pillowcases, fabric, tires, the list went on and on,” said Curry.
Aubree Schroeder and Shylene Giron turned two bicycle rims into a large wall clock they called the “Time-Telling Tire.”
First they cleaned the rims and painted them white with yellow splatters. (Aubree will take possession of the clock and the yellow will match her room.) They used black card stock paper and a Cricut Maker to create the numbers “3,” “6,” “9” and “12,” while buttons mark the other hours.
“We liked the idea of mix-matching them. So each button is a little different, but they’re all black,” said Aubree.
Hot glue was used to affix the numbers and buttons to the rim. But adding the clock mechanism was a challenge.
“We had to take off different parts of the actual tire rim so that we could get a smooth surface,” Aubree said. “And then we just hot glued it.” They also had to remove the smaller hands that came with the clock workings and again used black card stock to make larger hands. A Popsicle stick provides support for the hands.
The girls, who are both seniors, said they’re happy with their timepiece. In all, they spent about $4 to purchase the clock mechanism.
“She really challenged us to think about what our bigger purpose is in doing this, trying to promote repurposing items that would spend 30 to 300 years in the landfill,” Aubree said.
Curry said it’s been five years since Leipsic has offered family and consumer science. It’s definitely not the old home economics class people remember, she added.
“It’s a career technical program that encompasses interior design, nutrition and wellness, personal finance, and an introductory class that teaches young children all the essential skills for life,” said Curry. “It’s a very new program, so the community is seeing a lot of changes in the curriculum.”
Curry said the class is open to students in grades nine through 12 and counts as a fine arts credit. A few of the students have expressed an interest in the interior design profession.
“I have a lot of seniors, so it’s giving them a real idea of what they can do in the career field, because interior design is multi-faceted. You could focus on repurposing. You could focus on home staging. You could be a designer for clothing or furniture, so it’s much more than just designing a home,” she said.
This project, she said, gave the students a realistic approach to life outside the classroom.
“The goal was not to spend any money,” said Curry. “Otherwise everything was repurposed from myself, their homes or faculty within the school building.”
Each project included a photo storyboard, cost itemization, materials profile and marketing plan to sell the item.
Freshmen Isabelle Coleson and Tamara Almanza made a planter out of two lawnmower tires. A piece of bicycle tire is the handle.
Drilling holes in the tires for the screws was the hardest part, they said. At first they tried caulk to attach the tires to a wooden base, but it didn’t hold. They ended up using hot glue instead.
The finishing touches included a coat of bright aqua blue paint and some white polka dots.
Seniors Lydia Apple and Morgan Schroeder created a chair out of tires. They call it the Hide-Oman.
“We wanted to make an ottoman,” said Lydia. “We were on Google looking at different designs, and then we saw one that had a bicycle tire as the back of it. We thought it’d be cool if we made a comfy version of that.”
The students used two car tires to provide a base for the seat and pieces of wood for the back. They also took apart a comforter and mattress topper to create a soft pad to cushion the back which is attached with fabric bows. The chair took about nine hours to finish.
“It’s marketed to college students to store things in so their roommates don’t take it, like their food,” said Lydia.
The students presented their projects to a panel of judges, and the Hide-Oman was one of those selected to advance to competition at Apollo Career Center in Lima in February.