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Ultimate Upcycling Winner

Thank you to EVERYONE that sent in their brilliant upcycling achievements and projects as part of our Ultimate Upcycling Challenge. We have had so many fantastic upcycling projects sent to us as part of our  competition last month – picking just one winner was a challenge in itself!

From tired second hand furniture made into beautiful one of pieces, to wonderfully wacky reporpose projects, this competition has given us a great insight into what our creative and resourceful members get up too. Now enough jabbering, “who won” we hear you cry! Congratulations to our winner, Andrea Martin.

bumblebee in a picture frame made out of bike chains

The Art of Upcycling Bike Parts

andrea martinCongratulations Andrea! Tell us a little about yourself…

I’m a single parent living in Cornwall for the past 18 years and creativity is my main passion.

It’s amazing what a little time and effort can produce with the help of social media and some really supportive followers who love your work. Some days their help and encouragement is just amazing and overwhelming.

How did you first come up with the idea of upcycling bike chains?

There was a complete lack of gifts for men at craft fairs and it was just an idea that popped into my head when attending our local skate park, mainly for keyring ideas to start with.

When you did start making them? 

I started tinkering about with the chains in Nov 2013 and the feedback was amazing so on the 9th December 2013 the GreaseBugs Gear website went live.

loose bike chain links

Whats the process from beginning to end?

Its been a simple matter of hours of cleaning to begin with and then breaking up chains in to the correct sizes needed for each product.

Is it just bike chains you use or do you experiment with other materials?

I started out with bmx chains but now I have played about with motorbike chains as well as lots of other bike parts. I have even started to recycle the spokes and the frames.

owl made of bike chains in a frame

How have your designs changed over time?

So far the designs have progressed from simple keyrings to cufflinks, and then robots started to take form. After a a great deal of research I discovered that there were none like it anywhere in the world and so they’re now subject to copyright.

Where do you source your materials?

I volunteer at the Mount Hawke Skatepark in Cornwall and a lot of chains are donated via the park as well as many followers from Twitter sending me their stash of chains that they’ve had lurking in their garages. So many people have been fantastic and even local bike hire companies have let me collect old parts.

What is your favourite upcycled creation?

So far my favourite makes have been the sugarskull keyrings/bag tags from recycled chains and perspex…

keyring made out of bike chains and perspex

Liz Wheelen

Liz Wheelen

Community User

Liz Wheen has a passion for travelling and is always looking for the next great adventure! Liz looked after the Preloved Community and was constantly dreaming up new ways to help you win prizes and save money. Liz also enjoys finding new upcycling and DIY ideas which she shares on the Preloved blog.