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Backstage with the Latest Upcycle Challenge Winner

Jared Laabs

SadieSadie was a first-time contender in the Freestyle Flip Upcycle Challenge and she won! After a short conversation, it was clear why everyone loved her creation. Sadie had a ton of experience with upcycling, designing, and creating things from recycled items so this wasn't her first curtain call.

Back in August, ReStore announce its second Upcycle Challenge where people competed in upcycling and transforming items found on the sales floor. Each participant was given up to $50 worth of merchandise or material. The goal was to use your creativity to build anything you could imagine. No limits! Sadie had heard of the first ReStore Upcycle Challenge and decided this time, she was in!

upcycle challenge entries
All Freestyle Flip Upcycle Challenge entries on display

When Sadie signed up for the challenge, she had already had a bunch of Pinterest inspiration and projects she wanted to complete someday. When she walked through ReStore to find the base material for her project, she knew immediately that a particular end table was a perfect fit. She grabbed it and took it home.

dog approved"This is my dog Phoebe. Phoebe tested out the end table before I turned it in," Sadie commented. "I do some freelance set design for theatre and also create art/craft projects where I always try to incorporate recycled and upcycled elements.  I've done a few craft shows and highlight some of the items on Instagram (unleashthecreativebeast)."

When all of the upcyled entries were submitted, they were featured on the ReStore Facebook page where everyone was encouraged to use "likes" as a way to cast a vote for their favorite. Sadie had the most likes and won first place! When asked why she thought her project won, she humbly thought another project was going to win. "People like dogs," she said, so perhaps that had some influence.

First place in the upcycle challenge at ReStore
Sadie's winning dog bed

Sadie originally found ReStore when she was sourcing materials to build a set for a theatre as a part of her freelance work. Unused decking, became the floor of a set design she was working on. She would also find materials to build props and most often utilized the affordable paint found at ReStore to decorate. Items destined as trash, are now being transformed into something new thanks to her hard work and resourcefulness.

"Every time you buy something new or from a craft store, it's more expensive," Sadie explains, "and sometimes the message is in the medium." As you can see from some of her work, everyday items have a new perspective. 

Sadie's design for Around the World in 80 Days at Lake Shore Players

Next year, Sadie's work will yet again be featured in the public. She is designing the set for Around the World in 80 Days at Lake Shore Players Theatre and has been commissioned to create a women's suffrage portrait for the Ramsey County Historical Society that will be made from bras and other recycled material. Winning the upcycle challenge wasn't her first win and by the sound of what she's currently working on, this is definitely not her last.

When we asked Sadie for tips for the first-time upcycler, she said "just go for it. Some people have an idea and hold back. The more you do something the better you'll get. Just do it."

See what's new: Like Twin Cities Habitat ReStore outlets on Facebook


Topics: DIY, 2019, Upcycle