Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Want a better world? Re-use billboards!

 You’ve seen billboards all of your life, during your travels around town and away. Have you noticed that many of these ads are now made of vinyl fabric? Where do used vinyl billboards go when their advertising days are over?

Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of tons of non-recyclable billboards have to be dealt with each year! Many end up in local landfills. However, the useful life of billboard vinyl can be extended through creative re-use. The I.D.E.A. Store has received numerous vinyl billboards from a generous industry donor.

To help you learn how to work with this versatile fabric, there are two classes this week on the subject. The first class, taking place this evening (Wednesday, January 19 from 6- 7:30), guides participants to understand the unique characteristics of billboard vinyl and to appreciate the range of products that could be made with it. In the second class (Saturday, January 22 from 1-3 p.m.), participants will make bracelets and baskets to take home. Sign up here!

Making items from non-recyclable billboard vinyl is a popular activity these days, and small businesses feature them because they are easy to make. A quick Etsy search can yield several results. Pictured here is a great example of a notebook cover fit with sleeves and compartments. You can check out other products by this artist here.

Vinyl billboard fabric can be worked easily to produce small- to large-scale projects. After you understand how to manipulate and join pieces together safely and securely, larger scale projects are possible. For example, you might sew scraps into a mosaic-style arrangement for a wall hanging or for a shower curtain.

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