Annie Harrington is a small business owner, writer, and amateur photographer. In her free time she enjoys writing about ways other business owners can positively impact their brand image with unique window decals and poster printing.
There’s been a very interesting trend developing over the past couple of years. Quite literally, one person’s trash has become another person’s treasure. In this case, many people are benefitting from this overabundance of “trash,” while reducing waste and the environmental detriment vinyl can cause. Creative individuals are taking vinyl banners used for advertising and transforming them into genuinely useful, everyday items, such as handbags, messenger bags, wallets, and shower curtains, among a great many other things. Sellers have popped up all over the web, ready to sell you their latest vinyl creations, but honestly, why spend the extra money when you can make them yourself?
Of course, the projects you choose to pursue will come with varying degrees of difficulty. You can create your bags and wallets however simple or elaborate you desire. You are the master of your creative domain.
Before Starting a Project
Get some vinyl!
This can actually be the most challenging part of your project. Have a convention or exposition center nearby? Check there. Be prepared to do a little dumpster diving. Often after a convention, there will be a surplus of vinyl banners. They might be for a concert, a garden show, or a job fair, but they’re usually there. Get there quickly and you’ll have the run of the place. Just don’t forget to ask permission first before going headfirst into a dumpster.
If that doesn’t work out, check with local advertising agencies. Chances are, they might have banners left over from old clients and campaigns and no longer have use for them. They might try to charge you for them, but haggle! Those old banners take up space and are of no use to them, so use that against them.
If you don’t have much luck at either a convention center or an ad agency, you can always check online. Look on auction websites. The great thing about the online environment is you’ll have a fairly large selection of designs and color schemes to choose from. The bad thing about buying online is you won’t be able to inspect the quality of the material until it arrives at your doorstep.
Starting a Project
What You’ll Need:
• scissors or craft knife
• vinyl Banner(s)
These supplies can vary from project to project, and you can change things up however you like, but I consider these the basic supplies. At this point, know what you want to make. A wallet? A purse? A messenger bag? This is your chance to be creative and how much vinyl you have will dictate the scope of the project.
Note: before officially beginning your project, wash your vinyl with warm, soapy water. You don’t know where that stuff might’ve been!
Using the ruler, guide the craft knife to create the outer edges of you bag or wallet. Cut out a variety of piece, whatever you think you might need. Once you have your basic pieces, you can go back with the razor or scissors and make sure everything is nice and straight.
Putting it Together
What You’ll Need:
• scissors or craft blade
• vinyl pieces
• nylon edging or duct tape
• Velcro (or other hook-and-loop fastener)
• bag straps
This list can vary on the type of project your pursuing, but basic construction remains the same. You can go extra frugal and put everything together with duct tape. I think it works awesome with the overall aesthetic of vinyl. These days, duct tape comes in a wide variety of colors and you’ll be able to find something that works with whatever pattern and colors happen to be on the vinyl you’re using.
Alternatively, you can use a nylon edging material for a cleaner look. You can find this at most craft stores. It comes in adhesive and non-adhesive varieties, so if you choose the non-adhesive edging, you may have to bust out the thread and do a little needle work (or a sewing machine works, too).
If you’re making a back, you’re probably going to want straps. You might have to purchase adjustable straps online or at a craft store. Or you can simple create straps out of more vinyl! Either way, you can’t go wrong!