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):
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.