What can you do with old sports trophies and medals?
Do you ever wonder what to do with old trophies, medals, and awards? Are they stashed in boxes or collecting dust and using way too much space in your home? Well, then you have come to the right place because today I want to show you what I did with all of my husband’s old sports achievements that he’s been so attached to and that we didn’t have room for. It’s time for some decluttering while keeping the memories alive!
What to do with old trophies, medals and awards
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Ever since our wedding 20 years ago I was faced with the problem of what to do with my husband’s huge collection of sports paraphernalia. (I know a lot of women have this problem!) He had been collecting all kinds of stuff, from his own athletic accomplishments to baseball/football cards and Sports Illustrated magazines. He was under the impression that we would display everything in the man cave. This actually made me laugh at first and then I wanted to cry! There’s just no way. If I would display everything that he and I love, our house would look like we could be on the show Hoarders. Everybody has to purge and declutter. With that mindset, we were able to come to a compromise.
I have found several solutions for all his things and in this post, I will show you my way to repurpose trophies and his athletic accomplishments from early childhood to college.
He had 2 crates full of trophies, medals, and plaques stored in his mother’s attic. As a typical empty-nester Mom, she was sick of keeping all his sports memorabilia and told him to take everything home. (Sigh out loud!) He actually thought we’d display them!!!!! He is so attached to his sports past.
Well, guess what I got excited about when I saw the trophies? Yup, the crates! They are the best thing about this pile! Aren’t they cool?
I have seen some projects out there where people spray-painted old trophies a glossy white but that doesn’t solve the issue of using up too much space. And the trophies weren’t nice shapes either. I had to come up with something that would display his medals and trophies in a small space.
What I came up with isn’t in any way a revolutionary new idea, but it solved the problem and he is happy with it.
repurpose trophies in a medals and trophies collage
- thrifted frame (or you could use a large taxidermy display case on Amazon or a large shadow box frame also from Amazon. The shadow box already has the fabric attached to the back and eliminates you having to staple it to the back)
- red, white, and blue craft acrylic paint or any other color (I chose this color combo to match his small medal ribbons)
- antiquing glaze
- staple gun
- glue gun
step-by-step-instructions for creating trophies collage
- I went to our local Goodwill and Salvation Army and found a homemade frame for $1. It had a wooden back, no glass, and a thick fabric cover. Perfect for my project but as I mentioned above you could use a display case (HERE) or a shadow box frame (HERE) for this project as well.
- I removed the plywood back and stapled my scrap fabric to it with my staple gun.
- I first sanded and then primed the frame with my favorite spray paint primer.
The idea to paint the frame in red, white, and blue came from the fact that my husband liked the old red white, and blue ribbon that is left on the one old medal.
I taped the primed frame and added the red white and blue stripes (You can click HERE to see how I paint really crisp strips and it sure works on a frame too). When I looked at the glossy results I decided to antique glaze the frame to make it look a little older to match the vintage look of the entire display. (My little daughter wasn’t too happy with the black glaze. She wanted to know why I’m ruining the pretty colors and making them look dirty. Haha!)
- Next, I had my husband remove all the small plaques from his trophies that he wanted to keep with a chisel (or you can use a flathead screwdriver). He cleaned them up a little but I wanted him to keep the patina on the plaques.
Then I removed the old torn ribbons from the medals.
- I put it all together by laying out a collage of the plaques and medals on the fabric-covered back.
- Then I attached them with hot glue and the medals with needles, so they could be turned around (please see below photo). You can bend and turn the needles the way you want to make them slide into the fabric.
This small frame uses a lot less space than the 2 filled crates and we are both happy with the results.
donate your trophies to charities
After all the customized parts and name tags of your trophies have been removed it’s time to think about recycling the entire bin of trophies. Did you know there are organizations, refurbishing programs, charities, schools, and companies that actually refurbish and reuse old leftover trophies? It’s definitely better to give them new life than to throw them in the trash. This way you also have a positive impact on communities in need.
- Sports Medal Recycling
- Trophy Recycling Program
- AwardsMall, Awards and Promotions (trophy recycling service/refurbishing program)
- the Salvation Army and Goodwill may take your gently used trophies but they all have different rules according to the area you live in, so call first.
- local schools may have use for them which you can also find out if you contact them first
(Call your local recycling programs and facilities for ideas and tips that I didn’t list)
If you have really old trophies then you might want to double-check what metal they are made of because they could be valuable as well. check with your local pawn shops to see if they might be interested.
more creative ideas for old trophies
My daughter wanted her medals displayed a different way and you can read more about it HERE.
My son prefers not taking his medals and trophies apart but he also has a world flag and soccer patch display. (HERE to read more)
You might also enjoy seeing how I hung up my husband’s Sports Illustrated collection (HERE):
Other affordable DIY art work and wall art ideas
- DIY watercolor wall art portrait without using paint
- DIY brush stroke art
- geometric wood wall art
- long narrow wall art using macrame yarn with embroidery floss
- how to hang a plate on a wall
Do you have another idea for what to do with old trophies? If so, please share below in the comments.
Thanks for the visit I’m off to get rid of some more clutter.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this great idea !
And thank you for stopping by my blog!
Your blogs are totally worth giving time and energy.
Well, thank you so much!
I like this idea! You can also take the little guys on the top of the trophies, remove them and make wine/bottle stoppers!!! 🙂
I would really like to know how to do this.
so I love the idea but the real reason I am posting is that I am from Bethlehem and the ‘crate’ is from Allentown I thought that was pritty amazing being all of the links I could have clicked….also you are german yes? living in the states…my friend is American living in Germany and she has a blog….Life and Death in Franconian Village by Laura Libricz..just little coincidences…in the big, yet very small world we live in. Oh and on the trophys I have 3 just barley adult kids with lots of trophys so I shall be busy.
I know it’s a small world 😉 and it just so happens that I’m also from Franconia! Not kidding! I checked out your friends blog and she lives around Nürnberg right? That’s about an hour away from where I am from. She wrote her first historical fiction novel and I love historical fiction! How exciting! I think I may just read it when I’m finished with my current historical fiction book which also plays in Franconia!
Talk to you soon!
Good luck with your project!
This is gettin really weird…you are from Franconia, yes she lives in Mailach. Yes check out her book, you will enjoy it.I got the okay from my children to rmove theur names and make a trophy frame. I will then try and donate the trophys to a local organization.
What about donating the trophies to your local rec department or Boys and Girls club for them to reuse? They could add their own name plates. Love this idea!!!!
I did check into that but my husbands trophies weren’t in good shape at all.
Wow – you turned the ugly things into an amazing and interesting decoration! Love it! http://lynettesphotoart.blogspot.com
oh！great！ idea is super friendly, knowledgeable, and they’re able to do a lot of different plaques, trophies, awards. Here is a sample “About Me” page that answers these questions. I love this post, lots of great info!Thank for sharing..
Trophies and medals
Perfect. Funny that he can’t let go of the “bodies”.
Thanks Karen. I know, isn’t it?
Wow great idea for medals! This is moving to the top off my project list this weekend!
Wow great idea for medals! This is moving to the top off my project list this weekend!
Glad you like it.
Great idea! I have a ton of gymnastics trophies and scouting awards and I think I am going to do this for myself.
Hi Sophie, good luck with your project!
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Just came across this- love the idea! Did you ever post what you did with the baseball cards and Sports Illustrated magazines???
I have been wanting to but we’ve had issues with our basement and I didn’t want to take pictures in the mess. But I will hopefully get to it this fall when I’m going to redo the basement a little.
Ok great- I will look forward to the ideas! Stumbled upon your blog today looking for ideas for mine and my hubby’s old trophies, medals, etc! And now I have been all over your blog posts- love them!!!
Thank you so much! That made my day, because it’s been one of those frustrating ones 😉
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Very wise words. I implore I can be the religious mom, my offspring needs to grow up having so that others can see God from side to side her and not the planet.
Fabulous idea! I am pinning. Kari
My fiancé and I were just talking about what to do with trophies and this looks great!
How did your husband get the plaques with the names on them? They look tough to get off and we’re hoping it’s something we can manage!
I guess I should clarify a bit, how did he get the plaques off? If you could clarify on that process a bit that would be fantastic! Thank you for sharing this awesome idea!!
Hi, we just used a screw driver or speckling knife to get under the plaques on the trophies and pried them off. Since most of them are only glued on and the glue was old, it was really easy. Some of them were screwed on and we just screwed them off.
Hope that helps and let me know if you have any more questions.
Ok, great! That shouldn’t be too bad (hopefully ha). Thank you so much!
This is a great way to store your collection of trophies. When I was a kid I collected a lot of awards through scouting, sports, and school. I am definitely going to try this out.
Fred Hutchinson | http://www.trophyawards.com
Absolutely the best idea ever! Thank you!
Julia, this is a great idea!!
love to see how you make so many things from what you have.Love it
Thank you Shirley!
The only “change” I would make is instead of painting the Red white and blue, I would actually use the old ribbons you removed and spread them out as the backdrop and mount the medals on top
How did you get the plaques off of the actual trophy it self?Mine seem to be super glued on and I don’t want to break them off.
Mine just popped right off
I love the idea of combining all of my old trophies into one case. This would make it really easy to show. I am definitely going to try this idea for my trophies and my children’s trophies.
Have you ever come across lead crystal plaques that are either broken or no longer useful? Any thoughts on how to repurpose those? I have about 10 that are either broken are just “NO” but feel guilty throwing them away.
Thank you SOOOOOO MUCH for this idea!!!! Now I can get all those dusty trophies off my shelf!!!!
SO glad you like it
Love, love, love this idea. I have all kinds of heirloom academia medals for me and hockey medals and trophies for my boys. I love the red, white and blue. Fantastic job and great inspiration!
Thanks so much I’m glad you like it and good luck.
This is such a great idea and it looks awesome!
Julia I just LOVE this project!!!! Every woman that is married to a guy with two crates of tropies that his mom saved since kindergarten thanks you! 🙂
What a wonderful idea! We have boxes of my husband’s trophies in the attic—I’m so doing this! Thank you!
Oh good luck Michele, I’m glad you like it.
Love this idea..Thank you for all the good ideas you post.