When our kids were young, they were involved in all sorts of extracurricular programs - sports, music, arts - many with competitive components. Over time, we amassed a motley collection of trophies, which over time amassed a significant amount of dust. A couple of years ago, as the "kids" started moving outward and onward, the trophies went into some bags and boxes. I recently inquired if there was interest by the awardees in keeping any of them, and got a "meh" , followed in one case by the telling question, "I played piano?" (Just a heads up for those of you with little kids enrolled in Suzuki piano classes and the like.)
I've been eyeing the trophies for a while now, with ideas for ways to repurpose them. Some have nice little marble bases. Others have decorative metal or plastic toppers, or decorative columns.
In the process of readying for the 2016 National Day of Civic Hacking, with our local Code for Tampa Bay Brigade, I remembered the trophies, and wondered if we could do something fun with a few of them.
By golly, we could!
Re-gifting 1st Place (and 2nd and 3rd) with a simple, customized mod, turned out to be great fun, and greatly enjoyed by the recipients at the St. Pete National Day of Civic Hacking.
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Step 1: Materials
- Old trophies
- Some kind of mild solvent (window cleaner, alcohol, etc.)
- X-acto knife
- Stickers and labels relevant to your event/award project
Step 2: Remove Original Topper Label
Your ordinary run-of-the-mill kid's trophy, typically given out at dance or music recitals, usually consists of a plastic topper, and a plastic and sometimes marble base, affixed with labels. The topper label is usually something paper based.
In the case of the smaller trophies, with the acrylic toppers, it was pretty easy to peel the labels off. You can try using a solvent to remove it, or just peel it off, and then deal with the residue separately, which is what I chose to do, because it was quick and easy.
The larger trophy had a paper insert framed into the topper, and when I removed the label, it left a paper backing behind that I couldn't remove nicely, so I left it and I'll show you a couple of steps from here, how I dealt with that.
Step 3: Clean Topper
The label residue was easy to scrape off with my finger nail, and then I just wiped it down with some window cleaner and a paper towel.
Step 4: Remove Base Label
The base labels are usually made of a think piece of pliant metal adhered onto base plate. To remove it, just insert the tip of an X-Acto knife and gently pry up one corner. Once you get it going, it's pretty easy to just peel right off.
I started to remove the adhesive residue and then discovered that it was helpfully sticky and decided to leave it on.
Step 5: Affix New Topper Labels
Code for America helpfully supplied our Code for Tampa Bay Brigade with some nice Hack for Change stickers, both small and large. The small ones were perfect for the center of the acrylic star.
For the larger trophy, I covered the area where the paper backing was showing with a large GitHub sticker, and in the center of that, added a smaller Hack for Change sticker.
Step 6: Affix New Base Labels
For the base, I just printed up some event labels, sized to the base plate section where they would go. Then cut them out and just pressed them onto the still sticky base plate area where the old metal labels had been.
You could also use a Silhouette or similar type die cutter or a label maker, and do an even better customization job.
Step 7: Award It Forward!
There you have it: Old trophies repurposed and customized in a fun way! In this case, it was especially fun to have "hacked" together something new from something old for a civic hackathon focused on open source sharing, collaboration, and community building. When we "Hack for Change," we often build from available data or adapt existing platforms and programs to new or local needs.
In every sense, our little repurposed trophies were a perfect symbol and souvenir, of a great civic event!
So check out those old forgotten trophies in the closet and consider giving them some new life, and awarding them forward!
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