Product in a Tin Competition

2018 Winners

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See competition winners from other years

winners 2018

2018 Competition Winner: Niamh

Congratulations to Niamh from St. Clement Danes School in Chorleywood who is the winner of the 2018 Product in a Tin competition. 

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Niamh was a year 9 student when she designed and made her entry at school with the support of her teacher, Miss Georgiou. Her entry was a pair of ear rings made out of polymers, metal, paper and textiles. Recycled plastics were layered and stitched using a sewing machine and then fused to a thicker layer of laser cut polymer. This was then attached to silver ear ring hooks, along with paper beads made from magazines and inspired by traditional Ugandan bead making.

Earrings close up

The entry was chosen as the winner because it stood out as being different from other entries, both from this year and previous years. As well as the product itself being a little different, the way materials and techniques had been combined also made the entry stand out from the crowd. Her entry was also executed to a very high standard with a product that wouldn’t look out of place in a shop. Niamh’s application form also helped the judges understand her design thinking and how she was inspired, particularly her explanations about how she had used recycled materials and how the paper beads were inspired by Ugandan bead work.

Niamh’s entry is an excellent example of the new Design and Technology GCSE which encourages students to combine materials and her entry showed how metal, plastic, textiles and paper could be used together in a creative way that celebrates the traditions and uniqueness of each material, whilst also showing them used in a contemporary way.

Earrings 2

Niamh won a Husqvarna Viking H Class 100Q sewing machine for her school as well as winning £50 worth of gift vouchers for herself, along with some design resources and her own dedicated portfolio page on our website which she can use to showcase her design work in the future. 

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Find out more about the machine Niamh has won for her school. 

HUGE thank you to Coles Sewing Centre, Nottingham & Husqvarna Viking  who sponsored this fantastic prize. Check out the Coles Sewing Centre website or contact rose@colessewingcentre.co.uk if you are interested in this machine.


Runners Up

2nd place: Skye, year 9 student (teacher Miss Georgiou, St. Clement Danes School in Chorleywood). 

Stacking puzzle

For the first time in the competition the top prize was between two entries from the same school. Skye’s entry was a baby’s stacking puzzle made out of laser cut wood and acyclic. The quality of the finished product was extremely high, with a strong visual appeal that fitted the baby and toddler target market Skye had designed for really well. Skye’s product was a good example of how simple ideas can often be the best ones when executed to a high standard. 

Skye wins £20 of gift vouchers and some design resources. 


3rd place: Charlie, year 8 student (teacher Angela Holland, Hardenhuish School in Wiltshire)

Knitted torch

Charlie’s entry raised lots of smiles from the judges who loved the colourful e-textiles knitted torch. It had lots of character and included some very challenging knitted fabric construction for the body of the torch, including perfectly shaped feet! The torch also had a challenging electronic circuit with a push switch on the end of one of the arms, as well as a battery pack tucked away in a specially designed internal pocket. Charlie’s entry form gave lots of information about his design including how he had combined polymers, metal and textiles to create his product. 

Charlie wins £10 of gift vouchers and some design resources. 

Other winners

As well as the main prize categories there are a number of other prizes that are awarded to acknowledge the hard work of students. The competition this year was very heavily dominated by entries from year 9 students which is why so many are listed below. This is something that has never happened before, especially as in previous years younger students have really given the older ones a run for their money!


As usual there were lots of fantastic entries many of whom came close to being in the top three. The #InspiredBy prize category acknowledges entries that just missed out on the top prizes, but which really stood out to the judges in some way and which they felt were particularly interesting entries. These entries, along with the winners, will be showcased a lot with teachers over the coming months to help inspire creative projects and ideas. Each of these entries wins a small designing related prize to acknowledge the hard work and creativity of the students. 

The entries below are listed in no particular order. 

earring holder

Emelia, year 9, London Academy, Edgware (teacher Miss Muller). Laser cut MDF earring holder etched with a butterfly design and holes to hang the earrings and embellished with textiles materials. 

Thermochromic mug wrap

year 9, Scalby School, Scarborough (teacher Mrs Biggs). Mug wrap designed to meet the needs of a Down’s Syndrome teenager, with easy grip textured fabric & thermochromic dyes to show when the mug is hot. Materials: metal, polymers, textiles, wood. 

story dolls

Nike, year 9, The Romsey School (teacher Mrs Cooper). Fairytale story dolls made from layers of textiles materials with a clear polymer top layer making them rigid & wipe clean. 

Phone standlampshade

Year 9, London Academy (teacher Miss Muller). Flat pack phone stand. Materials used: wood, polymer, textiles

Katie, year 9, Scalby School (teacher Mrs Biggs). Textiles & paper appliqué & a range of embellishments on a lamp shade. 

drawstring bag

Year 9, The Romsey School (teacher Mrs Cooper). Drawstring bag made from traditional textiles materials and dyed tea bags all covered with polymer layer to make the surface wipe clean. 

fidget worms

Rebecca, year 9, London Academy (teacher Miss Muller). Fidget worms to reduce stress & anxiety. The worm has a marble inside the fabric layers as a fidget aid. Materials used: textiles, polymer, glass.

ipad holder

Emily, year 9, St. Clement Danes School (teacher Miss Georgiou). iPad holder that fits on to the back seat of a car. Materials textiles & laser cut acrylic. 

food wrap

Isabella, year 9, St. Clement Danes School (teacher Miss Georgiou). Reusable food wrap made from food grade plastic & recycled materials. The fabric has been printed & the button painted to match.  

Merit prizes

The following entries were awarded a merit certificate because they made the judges smile and they felt there was something special about each piece. Each of these entries wins a small designing related prize to acknowledge their hard work.

The entries below are listed in no particular order.

Travel Tic, Tac, Toe using wood & textiles, by Serena, year 9 from St. Clement Danes School (teacher Miss Georgiou)


Patchwork bag with e-textiles by Katie, year 9 from The Romsey School (teacher Mrs Cooper)

Fold up raincoat by Ellen using wood, polymer & textiles, year 9 from St. Clement Danes School (teacher Miss Georgiou)

Baby mobile using textiles & polymer by Daisy year 9 from St. Clement Danes School (teacher Miss Georgiou)

Apron using textiles & polymer by Megan, year 9 from The Romsey School (teacher Miss Bond)

Merit 2

Letter blocks spelling toy using wood & polymer by Lucy, year 9 from St. Clement Danes School (teacher Miss Georgiou)

Babygro and tutu using textiles & polymer by Holly, Wey Valley School (teacher Miss Glass)

Keyrings using polymer & metal by Nioami, year 9 from the London Academy (teacher Miss Muller)

Cot toy with e-textiles by Holly, year 9 from The Romsey School (teacher Miss Bond)

Thought tube using textiles, metal & clay by Francesca, year 10 from Newland Girls’ School (teacher Wendy Bennet)

Teacher prize

This award goes to Gail Cooper at The Romsey School for her entries. The school entered 7 pieces of work all of which were very different to each other. Entries included a wide range of materials, including some used in a creative way, such as dyed tea bags, recycled plastics, and e-textiles. Judges liked how the products fully embraced the broader material focus of the competition brief, as well as using real life design problems. 

Romsey school

Other entries

Here’s a small selection of other competition entries and although these didn’t win any type of prize the judges really enjoyed seeing them. Can you see yours? 

If you can’t see yours, why not enter again next year to see if you can get your work on this page. You never know you might win a prize!

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Other information on how the competition went

Click here to find out how to enter the current competition 

Many thanks to everyone who entered the competition. It has been a real pleasure to see the work of so many students and teachers. I know many schools also ran the competition as an internal school competition with only the best entries being sent to us, so thanks also to those students who took part in the competition at their school. With this in mind students in the future will be able to submit photo entries if they don’t want to part with they work. Although these entries won’t be able to win any of the prizes, they will be considered for inclusion on the website. 

The quality of submissions continues to increase each year and it never ceases to amaze us the quality of both the work and ideas that are submitted. Quality isn’t the only thing we look for though and creative thinking is just as important and many application forms help us understand the thinking behind each entry particularly in relation to user needs and how the product solves a design problem.

For the first time two entries from the same school were competing for the top place, along with another fabulous entry from Hardenhuish School in Wiltshire. Judging the competition was a challenge however as the overall standard of entries was very high and many of the #Inspiredby winners were strong enough to be considered for a place in the top three. 

The competition this year was very heavily dominated by entries from year 9 students, which is unusual as there has never been a dominant year group entering the competition before. We’re not quite sure why this was the case but many schools doing a 3 year GCSE have told us they have used the competition as a mock NEA context, so perhaps this is one explanation. Many more girls than boys enter the competition, although this is something that is gradually changing each year. 

Schools are responding well to advice we give to teachers to run the competition internally and for only the best entries to be sent off. This has made entries more focused and it’s helped schools reduce the costs of sending entries whilst enabling them to acknowledge excellent work, particularly where students don’t want to part with their work. 

What will happen to the entries?

It’s a genuine privilege to receive the competition entries and we get really excited to open each package. Unfortunately entries can’t be returned but entries play an important part in the work we do; we showcase the work in displays on our courses and the entries are used to inspire projects and resources (with credit given to the student and school). We still regularly use entries from some of the early competitions in the work we do so students who enter can be reassured their hard work is never wasted. Below are some of the displays the products have been used for in the past. Students who don’t want to part with their work can submit photo entries, although these can’t win prizes and can only be considered for inclusion on the website. 

Click here to find out how to enter the current competition 

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