A Social Innovators Guide for Moving Problems to Solutions
How do you turn a billboard into a bag?
Thanks for asking.
Here is the story of how the bags come to life.
If you lined up every billboard created in American from one year of advertising in a straight line, it would reach beyond the distance from New York to Los Angeles (in total over 2700 miles). Some people may read this stat as just another way advertising is influencing our lives in a negative way. Or maybe you see how this extreme excess will fill up our landfills when the vinyl billboards are taken down. But here at Plywood People, we see an opportunity to create jobs and make really unique new creations. We believe that the broken can be made beautiful again.
We partner with billboard companies in a positive way. They don’t want to be hazardous to the environment, so they choose to contribute to their excess billboards to us after they have been taken down from the side of the road. Most wooden billboards have a large vinyl banner material that is draped over the physical structure. We get loads of this banner material and up-cycle it into new products.
One of the hardest elements in the process is the cutting. Each billboard must be laid out and spliced into smaller shapes to be able to create each product. We hand cut the material with a rotary cutter by placing a custom mold on top of the material. Someday we hope to have the ability to cut these molds using a machine. But in the mean time, we are truly using our hands.
The next phase is cleaning to make sure each piece is adequate for redistribution. Most of the billboards are dirty, but can be cleaned up simply with a rinse of water and lemon juice. We are careful to make sure the graphics are not affected in the cleaning process because we know that is what makes the design feel so unique.
Then comes the sewing. The sewing is all done by the bag being turned inside out. Each stitch is lead through the process by an individual person. When the basic design is complete, the bag is flipped inside out and details such as velcro, the strap, binding, etc. are added to finish the bag.
about 1 hour ago
about 4 hours ago
about 6 hours ago