Eventually, everything dies. Even our beautifully made, quality steel, cast iron and clay chimineas. Sometimes we just get tired of them and fancy a change. But these days the trend is clear. We don’t just throw things away. We recycle, repurpose and repair. We use it up and we wear it out. So what can you do when your beloved chiminia finally gives up the ghost, aside from buy yourself another and enjoy years more alfresco fun? Here are some handy ideas about things to do with an old chiminea.
If you have any bright ideas of your own, we’d love to hear them.
Things to do with an old chiminea
Your dead chimenea might be broken in two. If so, you can re-use the bulbous belly and slim neck separately in all sorts of cool ways. If the chiminea is whole but unwanted, there’s another collection of exciting things to do with it. Here goes.
5 cool ways to re-use a chiminea neck
- Stick the bottom 5cm into the soil for stability in a flower bed or lawn edge. Fill the neck with compost and plant something beautiful – maybe something scented to fragrance the area where you’ll be putting your new chimenea, or a plant that flows down the sides in a mass of colour. Nasturtiums are always good value, flowering for ages and very hardy
- Transform it into a water feature, where the water falls out of the top of the chim neck into a pool. Or stand it in a shallow area of a pond for birds and dragonflies to land on
- Stand it in your garden with a shallow stone, concrete or metal bowl on top – instant bird bath!
- Lie it on its side in a shady, secluded spot for frogs and toads to snooze in, and small wild creatures to shelter from the weather. Add leaves and moss for extra warmth
- Fill it with pebbles to make a simple but attractive piece of garden decor
Exciting ways to re-use a chiminea body
- A plump chimenea belly makes a wonderful planter. If it’s a terracotta chim, it’s the same sort of material as a regular flowerpot. Grow the plants out of the broken neck hole and the mouth for a frothy Mediterranean look. Stand a plant pot in the neck itself for a simpler solution.
- Paint it with masonry paint or house paint to give it a facelift. Bright sky blue is fabulous, as is deep pink or aubergine, both of which contrast dramatically with the greenery. Paint it black and it’ll disappear into the background, a quietly useful backdrop for your plants rather than a feature in itself. One big plant, several small ones, they both look wonderful
- Fill it with potpourri or scented wooden balls and put it in the conservatory, either with or without its stand
- Store small logs and kindling in it next to your open fire or log burner
- Maybe your cat would like to sleep in it. Cats love being in small, safe places where they can curl up and observe the world without being disturbed. If the break at the neck is ragged, make a circular fabric cover with an elasticated edge to pop over the top
Creative ways to re-use an old chiminea whole
You might want to decorate your heart out. If you’re not arty use rubber stamps to create patterns to colour in or buy furniture transfers – they’re very beautiful, incredibly varied, and available from online craft outlets. Arty types can paint a tatty old chim with flowers and hearts, a landscape, a portrait, whatever you like. Once it’s decorated you can use it indoors in all sorts of ways. You might prefer to leave the patina alone to slowly become even more lovely.
- Paint it cream or white, maybe add a crackle glaze, stand it in the corner of your bedroom and fill it to bursting with silk flowers, dried grasses, peacock feathers. Add cream silk ribbons to the handles and neck. Light a candle in it if you like, or stand an electric light of some sort inside. Use the stand or sit it on its belly, either is fine
- No fire? Stand it in an un-used fireplace as a feature, either painted or plain. Place something interesting inside if you want to make more of a show
- A chimenia has a mouth, right? It’s easy to make it into a big, friendly face with some suitable paint and varnish, cool for a child’s room and a funky place to stash their favourite toys. Imagine how much lego you can stuff into a chiminea?
- Plant shade-loving houseplants in the belly, popping a planted specimen in a suitably-sized pot into the neck
- Stand it in a secluded part of the garden and make an insect shelter. Fill it with twigs, grass, pebbles, hollow stems, straw, feathers, lichen, moss and sheep wool. Or stuff a string of solar LED lights inside the mouth so it comes alive, all twinkly, at dusk