The future is in the bag, but it also has a wonderful, unique story behind it, too.
RULA started out in 2009 as a small home-based project. After seeing a huge box of old, glossy magazines, it was a lot smarter to make something out it than throw everything out.
After the strong rains that came with Ondoy, the thought of throwing anything was just downright dangerous. Manila was flooded because of clogged drainages. There was a desperate call to manage waste and recycling was one way to do it. So it started with one huge box of glossy magazines.
Learning The Craft
There wasn’t any kind of formal training to learn how to make a RULA bag. To start with, RULA bags aren’t exactly the typical woven bags the Philippines is known for.
When it comes to weaving, the Philippines is well-known for it. It’s a craft that’s highly respected because the skill has been handed down from one generation to another. Local towns have their own style of weaving and they’re all works of art, to say the least.
RULA bags are not woven. To say that they are, would be totally unfair for the genuinely woven handicrafts of the Philippines.
Each piece of paper is carefully measured, cut, laminated, and folded. Once all that is done, they are linked to one another by hand.
RULA bags may seem like they’re woven but they’re not. Each piece of paper is carefully measured, cut, laminated, and folded. Once all that is done, they are linked to one another by hand. That process is called interlock. The sewing part comes in once all the pieces of paper have been interlocked.
The bag-making process of RULA was taken from the same process that produces bubble gum bags. However, some parts of the process were tweaked accordingly.
Making a RULA bag is pretty much a low cost project. The only two things that have to be bought are some laminating tapes and a big spool of thread.
That made it a great project to develop. For any stay-home mom, who had a good amount of time to learn something new, it was a very affordable project. If it could lead to some financial gains, then why not?
Making a handmade bag out of paper was just not easy. The process had to be refined so that each step would produce a standard output.
When making a RULA bag, there are three basic stages. These are cutting, folding, and laminating. Unfortunately, the interlocking and the sewing parts are too difficult to consider as basic stages. Given all that, it’s very tedious to come up with just one bag.
We had to refine the process so that each step would produce a standard output.
Hence, the best solution is to reach out to a small community that can help with producing bags. That small community is called Station 9.