Tuesday, January 27, 2015

DIY Pinewood Derby Trophies and Awards

I mentioned yesterday that we had our Pinewood Derby on Saturday, and I wanted to shared the trophies I made. We combined our pack with the packs from three other LDS wards in the area, so we had a nice size group that divided the responsibilities. Totally the way to go, since no one had to do it all. Our pack handled the awards and the computer program that managed the heats (more on that tomorrow).

Our pack did the awards last year also, but someone else made them and her son bridged over last year, so I said I'd do them this year. Just the type of creative outlet I like.

I did some googling and checked out pinterest back in November or December when I first said I'd do them. Then I didn't do anything more until a couple weeks ago when I sorted through our massive scrap pile in the shed to find wood for the trophies.

I thought I'd seen some like these when I looked the first time, but when I went back to look at them again, I couldn't find the exact style. In any case, it's not an original idea and there's lots of similar ideas out there.

the pieces and materials used

I cut 2x4s in three heights for the posts, angling the tops. The 8" high posts were cut from 3" on one side to 5" on the other side. The 10" high posts were cut from 4" to 6". The 12" high posts were cut from 5"to 7". Setting the mitre saw at 31.5* gave just the right cuts for those measurements.

I cut 1x4s for the bases, making each one 5" long.

I lightly sanded the edges to knock down the rough bits, then glued matchbox cars on with gorilla glue. I used painters tape to keep the cars in place while I waited for the glue to expand and dry. I had to keep changing the positions of the posts to keep the glue from dripping. I still missed a few and had to carefully scrape them up.

Once the glue dried, I drilled pilot holes and screwed the bases to the stands. I made 1st-3rd trophies with cars on top for each age group (Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and Sibling), and a fastest of the fastest trophy with a platform for the winning pinewood derby car to sit on. That's thirteen trophies total.

unpainted fastest of the fastest trophy with other unpainted trophies in the background

The fastest trophy was a little taller than the first place trophies and I changed the angle to about 22* (the marking that's closest to that on our saw- can't remember right off). The top is about 7 or 8" long with screen trim for the lip. I should have used a taller piece of wood for the lip since it didn't come up high enough to keep the nose of the car in place. When I tried Sunshine's car on it, it rolled forward to the wheels. But I didn't try her car till after I'd painted it already. Oops. Live and learn.

I forgot to take a good picture before I started painting, so the picture above is the best I've got. Below is a shot after I primed the trophies and just before I sprayed them with silver metallic paint (these were the second place trophies). I used gold metallic spray paint for the first place and fastest trophies and hammered copper spray paint for the third place trophies. The hammered copper didn't leave quite the finish I wanted, but it was half the cost of the bronze metallic spray paint, so I didn't worry about it too much.

After the paint dried, I used my Silhouette to cut white vinyl for the age group labels and places.

Like most things I do, they're not perfect (I should have sanded them a lot more), but I'm pleased with how they turned out and everyone thought they looked nice, so I'm not going to obsess over their imperfections :)

I ordered a PDF file from this etsy shop and printed out certificates for each of the boys (there's other items you can print as well). I didn't like the generic ones I found online, and most of the nicer ones had categories already printed on them (most sporty, best whatever), and that was not what I was looking for. I don't agree with making up awards just so everyone can get one (don't get me started on those stupid soccer trophies Sunsine gets at the end of every season), and I wanted to just give participation certificates.

These certificates have a unique look to them that got us several compliments. And there are options included in the file if you do want to give the boys "category awards". We printed out 50 so we would have enough for siblings who participated and mess-ups while writing.

you can personalize the title above as well as the pack info and date
I added the watermark because I'd feel really bad if someone managed to steal the image I shared- it's only $9, so go buy a copy and check out the coordinating items she has available

I had planned on just doing the certificates for each of the boys, but at our den meetings on Thursday our boys were excitedly talking about the candy cars they got last year. When I mentioned we weren't doing them this year, they were very disappointed.  So I rethought that decision and Friday I put together 60 candy cars so the boys and their siblings could each have one. They were very happy :)

I found several designs online and ended up combining ideas from several to get these. I actually forgot to take pictures before the race, and these are all that made it home with us. I used several varieties of snack size candy bars for the bodies of the cars with Hershey miniatures glued on as spoilers (the wrappers on the cars below are a little battered from being pushed around in the container). I used low-temp hot glue that allowed everything to stay stuck and only slightly melted the chocolate.

I used Lifesavers and round candies for the wheels. The round candies were walmart brand, which have allergy contamination notices on the packages, so I made several cars with Lifesavers (and no Krackle bars) to make sure they were gluten free. I used dabs of glue to stick the ends of the candy wrappers to one side before adding more glue and sticking them to the sides of the candy bars. Probably overkill, but I liked how it looked.

I tried to buy enough of each candy that I wouldn't have a lot of any one kind left over. I had planned on making 50, but had enough for 60 with just a couple random candies left over.

I will admit that these awards aren't the quickest to make, but they are pretty cost-effective if you're on a budget.

  • I had the wood, glue, screws, and primer, and purchased the cars ($12 for 12 cars) and spray paint (about $12 for 3 cans, with some left over). That's less than $2/trophy for 13 trophies.
  • The certificate file was $9 (one of the moms printed the certificates for me since we only have a black and white printer, an additional cost would be $3-4 for card stock). That's about $0.26/certificate for 50 certificates, and the file can be used for future pinewood derbies.
  • I had the hot glue already, and had to purchase the candy (4 bags of round candies, 1 bag of Lifesavers, 4 bags of snack size candy bars, and 1 bag of Hershey's miniatures came to around $25). That's about $0.42/car for 60 cars.
The trophies and candy cars could also be adapted to be used for a car or racing themed birthday party.

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