Decor & DIY

Gumtree #autocycle challenge

I just love being part of a challenge, so when Gumtree Auto ZA challenged me to an upcycle of a cart part(s) that I purchased on Gumtree into a piece of home décor or furniture, I was all in! Spring is normally the time when I get a second life, start to throw out, recycle, upcycle and more.

Upcycle: reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original – source

DIY numberplate upcycle headboard as part of the Gumtree #autocycle challenge

The #autocycle challenge could not have come at a better time, as I was starting to think if new ideas to revamp Manny’s room before his baby sister arrives. His brief was short and to the point (for a four year old) – he wanted it blue, black and white with cars as the theme.

As part of the challenge myself and Germarie from Homeology had to create our items and images were uploaded to Gumtree Auto ZA’s Facebook and Twitter (@GumtreeAutoZA) profiles last week. People were able to cast votes for the best upcycled item.

Even more exciting is that my upcycle item was crowned the one with the most votes! Homeology and Lovilee was neck on neck from the start and I won by a fraction. They proved to be very good competition and I just loved the bookshelf that Germarie created for the challenge! All voters were entered into a draw for a BMW travel bag filled with Gumtree goodies valued at R2 000. Congratulations to Tammy Booysen (who entered on Twitter) who walked away with this lovilee prize!

DIY numberplate upcycle headboard as part of the Gumtree #autocycle challenge

See the #autocycle hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to see what the challenge was all about and read more about my experience shopping and selling on Gumtree. Full instruction on the upcycle process follows below.

DIY numberplate upcycle headboard as part of the Gumtree #autocycle challenge
DIY numberplate upcycle headboard as part of the Gumtree #autocycle challenge
DIY numberplate upcycle headboard as part of the Gumtree #autocycle challenge
DIY numberplate upcycle headboard as part of the Gumtree #autocycle challenge

Purchasing my auto parts

Downloading the Gumtree App from the iStore could not be easier (the app is also available for download on the Android store or you can shop online on Search, click and the installation happens all by itself.

I scouted the app and found quite a few items that I was interested in. What I love about the app is that you can mark the items as ‘favourites’ and then later just look and sort through these items again. There were two lovilee grills, one of a Mercedes Benz and the other of an Audi that I thought would make great wall art if sprayed gold or silver, but I opted for some collectors plates.

I contacted the seller through the app and he responded swiftly with the plates he still had available. He sent me an invoice and I did a quick EFT and arranged for pickup of my goods. Always trade safe – if you’re going to meet a potential seller take a friend or family member with you or opt for using a third party escrow service to remove all the risk.

DIY numberplate upcycle headboard as part of the Gumtree #autocycle challenge
DIY numberplate upcycle headboard as part of the Gumtree #autocycle challenge

The upcycle process

What you will need

  • Number plates that I purchased from
  • Piece of chipboard sized 920mm (w) x 1150 (h) to make a headboard for a single bed from Timbercity
  • 12mm wooden screws from Timbercity
  • Screw driver
  • Measuring tape
  • Sharp scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • 2 mounting brackets for a bookshelf from Timbercity

How to?

  1. Arrange the top row of the number plates side by side (My headboard took three number plates exactly). Screw them in using the wood screws.
  2. I did not want to align the plates in columns, so opted to have them overlap like brick work. This meant I had to cut some of them in half. I used a ruler and pencil to mark the back of the plates, then cut them carefully with sharp scissors.
  3. I repeated steps 1 and 2 to complete the headboard and had four rows of plates in total using 12 plates.
  4. I then measured the height of the base of the bed using the measuring tape and added the mounting brackets to the plywood board to such a height that they could slide in between the base and the mattress.
  5. I slid the headboard into position behind the head of the bed and the result? LOVE it!

Upcycled numberplate headboard DIY as part of the Gumtree #autocycle challenge

Selling my item on Gumtree

I uploaded an advert for the headboard that I upcycled using the website. The process again was hassle-free and only took a few minutes to complete.


How to upload your own advert

  1. Log into or use the app. (I used the website)
  2. Click on the ‘Post Free ad’ button on the top right of the screen.
  3. Choose a listing category – I chose ‘Baby & Kids > Childern’s Furniture > Beds’
  4. Choose your location.
  5. Complete the rest of the information that include the Title, Description and Listing Price of the item that you are selling. This is also where you will upload some images of your item.
  6. You can now choose to boost your post to show higher up in the rankings or just use the free ad placement option.
  7. As soon as the advert goes live you will receive an email confirmation with links to edit the advert should you need to.
  8. You are also able to share the advert on your social media profiles with the simple click of a button.

About Gumtree

Gumtree has helped millions of people buy, sell and trade goods and services since its launch in RSA in 2005. is the most visited and largest classifieds website in South Africa. With local sites for hundreds of cities and towns across the country, Gumtree makes it easy for South Africans to find exactly what they’re looking for in their own community. Gumtree is part of the eBay Classifieds Group, the global leader in online classifieds with a global presence in more than 20 countries and 1 000 cities.

For more information or to get purchasing
Facebook: Gumtree Auto ZA
Twitter: @GumtreeAutoZA #autocycle


Images: Hello Love Photography

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Karen Kelly is the founder and editor of She is a creative at heart and passionate about all things DIY. Learn more about her here and connect with her on social media on the links below.

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