The Upcycle Challenge 2017 Winning Projects

The prize event for the Upcycle Challenge 2017 was recently held in Athlone during this years European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR). This year’s winners were presented with their prizes and showcased their winning entries at the event. Read on to find out more about this years winning entries!  

Category: Men’s Sheds
Section Winner: Allihies Men’s Shed (Co. Cork); 6 Seater Garden Table 

Our winners of the fiercely fought Men’s sheds competition were Allihies Men’s shed, from Co. Cork with their 6 seater up-cycled garden table!

The gentlemen from Cork based their build around a cable spool which they had saved from disposal from a fisheries harbour. Using a selection of materials available to them from some of their previous projects they assembled this beautiful table and detachable chair set that would be at home in any garden, and is sure to the centre piece to a few BBQ’s when the summer rolls around next year!


Category: Eastern-Midlands Waste Region
Section Winner: Hana Tesarova; Bag from bicycle tubes

This year’s winner of the Eastern-Midlands Waste Region category was Hana with her stylish bags made from used bicycle and large agricultural vehicle tyre tubes.

Hana collected all the materials in the local bike stores (and auto-repair stores for the large wheel tubes!). The tubing was cleaned with essential oils, no chemicals are used, along with a very small amount of water (a process which Hana herself developed over the years through experimentation).

She then cut the tubing and manipulated it until she found the desired design for the bag. Recycled dog food bags and all sorts of plastic household waste were also used in the process of the bag creation. These plastics usually support other elements of the bags such as the stitching or as backing for eyelets in the rubber material.

Hana described most of her bags as being inspired by organic shapes that occur in nature and in Ireland, and are made from 99% upcycled material.


Category: Connacht-Ulster Waste Region
Section Winner: Martin McLoughlin; Sewing Machine Table

Martin McLoughlin was the winner of this year’s most hotly contested region, Connacht-Ulster, with his bringing together of wood and steel.

An old metal Singer sewing machine base which had been lying dormant in his fathers shed was the inspiration behind this piece. Martin rescued a fire-damaged wooden table from a skip which was the perfect complement to the metal frame of the sewing machine base.

After some necessary restoration work on the wooden table top, which involved a good sand and a varnish to revive the timber, the beautiful material lying beneath the burnt surface was revealed. Martin paired this with the newly cleaned and painted sewing machine base to become the gorgeous table you can see below.


Category: Southern Waste Region
Section Winner: IRD Duhallow Furniture Revamp; Tyre Foot Stool

The IRD Duhallow furniture revamp were the winners of our final category in the Upcycle 2017 challenge! From a lowly old tyre, they created this stunning footstool with a storage compartment for bits and bobs such as magazines or hobby materials.

With just an old tyre and some offcuts of wood from the workshop, the idea for this project quickly took off. The tyre was painted and wooden offcuts were cut to size to fill the top and the bottom open spaces of the tyre. The bottom was secured in place and given the bun feet from an old wardrobe, while the top was cut to size and upholstered with some spare fabric that was available. A small piece of upcycled rope was added to be used as a handle so the interior storage compartment can be accessed. What a wonderful and imaginative use of materials!


The FreeTrade Ireland team would like to extend our congratulations to this year’s winners! We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took part and for all the inspiring entries received; the standard was extremely high this year. We are delighted to see that Ireland’s upcycling community is growing from strength to strength!


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