A plain medal with a wreath design.

It's decided. You're going to breathe new life into those old, unused medals you've got lying around the office. It makes total sense: by simply changing their old ribbons for newer ones, you're going to give them a fresh, contemporary look that aligns perfectly with your upcoming event. Plus, it's cheaper, faster and more environmentally friendly than ordering new medals.

The only question is: how do you go about this transformation exactly?

We've got the insider knowledge you need. We're the only medal supplier to actively accept medals for updating, reflecting our commitment to delivering high-quality, sustainable medals in a flash, no matter the method. We've helped dozens of organisations with this endeavour and want to help you do the same. In this detailed step-by-step guide, you'll learn what boxes to tick to secure a stunning medal makeover from Badges And Medals.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Your old medals
  • A ruler
  • Adhesive tape (preferably a wider roll, about 45mm or 1.5 inches across)
  • Crumbled newspaper, packing peanuts or bubble wrap
  • A sturdy cardboard box (if you don't have one, try your nearest post office)

Optional extras:

  • A marker
  • A pair of scissors
  • One of your favourite movies

Step 1: Check if your old medals can be upgraded

Before you dive in, check if your old medals are suitable for upgrading.

We don't suggest upgrading medals that are damaged, show signs of ageing, or have something on them that dates them, like a previous year or sponsor. Recipients might feel cheated or confused if they find out the medal they worked so hard for wasn't made for them.

To make sure your old medals shout "now," not "back then", give each one a once-over. Look out for scratches, rust, dents, chipping or fadedness. Don't worry about the ribbons - they're switched as part of the upgrade, so it doesn't matter if they look old or have old information.

Once your medals get the all-clear, move on to the next step.

If they don't pass the initial inspection, then it might be time to recycle them and purchase new medals.

Step 2: Contact the Badges And Medals sales team

Reach out to our dedicated sales team using our contact form. They will assess whether your old medals can be upgraded before your event date and, if so, what that will cost you.

Here's what they need to know:

  • What is your budget?
  • When is your event taking place?
  • What is the best way to contact you?
  • How many medals need upgrading?
  • Do you want custom or plain ribbons?
    Plain ribbons usually have only one or two colours and take a few days to make. Custom ribbons can have any colours, text or design features you like. Your imagination is the limit! However, they cost more than plain ribbons and take a week or two longer to make. It's up to you which ribbon goes on the medals. But remember: ribbons with the highest 'wow factor' are custom-made.
  • What size ribbon do you need?
    If you're unsure, whip out a ruler and measure the width of your medal's old ribbon. If that's unavailable, measure the inside of the ribbon bar (aka the long rectangle at the top of your medal). Most ribbons are 25mm wide.
  • Do you want to personalise your medals at the same time?
    While the medals are being upgraded, why not get them personalised? People appreciate the effort and attention to detail that goes into personalised items. Medals are no exception. Engraving the back of each medal with a participant's name, an event date, or a special message turns them into more than just a token; they become a cherished keepsake. Keep in mind that this might tack on a couple of extra days and dollars to your order.

Dozens of custom medal ribbons floating in the breeze.

Step 3: Choose your new ribbons

Your choice of ribbon sets the tone for your upgraded medals.

If you opt for a classic plain ribbon, you'll receive a table showcasing an array of colour options. Explore the palette to find the colour (or colours!) that best complement your medal and the essence of your event. Consider your event's theme, brand's colours, or your team's personal preferences. Then tell your order manager the one you want.

Our team of dedicated in-house designers is here to turn your vision into a reality should you desire a custom ribbon that not only complements your upgraded medals but also elevates them to a new level of distinction. Share your design ideas, colour preferences, or specific branding requirements with your order manager, and they'll come back with a mock-up.

Step 4 (OPTIONAL): Remove your old ribbons

While removing your old ribbons is not an essential step, it certainly speeds up the upgrading process on our end. It benefits you in two ways: making your final bill cheaper and ensuring a quicker return of your medals. We particularly recommend this approach for smaller orders.

If you don't have the time or equipment to remove the old ribbons, then don't worry! We can do it for you. Just skip to the next step. If you do have time, then here's how to do it:

If your medal is from Badges And Medals, there will be a convenient slot in its ribbon bars. This thoughtful design element makes removing old ribbons a breeze. Grasp the loop of your ribbon and gently slide it off the ribbon bar at the same angle as the slot.

If your medals are from a different supplier or there's no ribbon slot, you can still easily remove the old ribbons. Grab a pair of scissors and carefully cut the ribbons away from the medals by snipping the loop. Be sure to exercise caution to avoid scratching the medals!

To make the process enjoyable, consider turning it into a fun activity - maybe turn on a movie while you remove the ribbons or catch up with your co-workers while you tackle it together.

Step 5: Send your old medals to Badges And Medals

Follow these steps to pack and send your medals so they arrive in the best possible condition:

  1. OPTIONAL: Wrap your medals
    We recommend wrapping the medals in newspaper or bubble wrap before placing them in the box. It reduces the likelihood of them scratching each other on the journey over. 

  2. Pack the box.
    Open your box. Place a layer of scrunched-up newspaper, packing peanuts or bubble wrap along the bottom. It will help to protect the medals from being damaged once they're in transit. Then, place your medals inside the box. Once they're in, fill any remaining spaces with scrunched-up newspaper, packing peanuts or bubble wrap.

  3. Secure the box.
    Close the box's lid and use adhesive tape to secure it. We recommend taping the same area two times for maximum effect. Be sure to leave a space on the box to write on.

  4. Label the box.
    Use a marker to write the address of your nearest Badges And Medals store. If you’re not sure, ask the team member you’ve been speaking with. Then, write your own address in the top left corner - this helps us identify who sent the medal and acts as a return address should the courier be unable to deliver the box to our office. Make it clear to the courier that your address is not the address you're trying to send to by prefacing it with the words "return address". Alternatively, head to your nearest post office and tell them these details. They will print a sticker for you.

  5. Send the box.
    Take the parcel to a post office and ask the staff to help you send it. Or, if you're short on time, check if the courier service you plan to use runs a pick-up service. We advise choosing a shipment option that allows you to track your medals for peace of mind. Please note: Badges And Medals do not cover the cost of shipping fees.

Step 6: Wait for your upgraded medals to arrive

Now it's time to sit back and relax! Our dedicated team of specialists will update your old medals to your specifications once we receive them. How quickly it takes us to send them back comes down to what type of ribbon you picked and whether you removed your old ribbons ahead of time. Take a look at our timelines to see when you should see them again:

  • Adding plain ribbons: about 3 to 7 days
  • Removing old ribbons, plus adding plain ribbons: about 7 to 14 days
  • Adding custom ribbons: about 27 days
  • Removing old ribbons, plus adding custom ribbons: about 27 to 30 days

Let's get started!

We hope this step-by-step guide has provided clarity on the process and inspired you to take the next step in upgrading your medals of the past. Our team is here for you if you have questions or are ready to embark on this transformative experience.

Countless organisations have entrusted us with this meaningful journey, and we're eager to extend that support to you. Reach out whenever you're ready to turn your medals into symbols of not just achievement, but of a fresh and empowered narrative!

contact our team