Monday, March 3, 2008

How to make "plarn"

I've been making "plarn" - plastic yarn out of grocery bags - and thought I'd share with you how I've been doing it.

Here's a video tutorial:

(Music is "Prince Charming" by Jim's Big Ego.)

And if you prefer to see still shots, here's a Flickr photoset showing you how-to!

Start with a flattened plastic grocery bag. It's better if it's kind of flimsy.

Fold one side to the middle.

Then fold the other side to the middle.

Fold it again.

One more time.

Cut off the handles and recycle them.

Cut off the bottom of the bag and recycle it.

Cut the rest into strips. How big the strips are depends on how thick or thin you want your plarn to be. It doesn't have to be exact.

Unfold one of the strips into a loop.

Lay two loops down, one over the other.

Fold one of the loops up over the other one.

Then bring that loop through itself.

Pull it tight! If it breaks, just recycle it and use a new loop.

You can make a whole bunch of it at once, or just add on loops as you go to form a pattern.

I made this purse out of it!

...And this hideous hat.


SEWphisticate said...

very cool! thank you for sharing as i had wondered how this was done.

yishui said...

omg! that is so cool! i will definitely try to make that soon, and share your idea; its a great way to make amazing stuff & recycle C:

ingermaaike said...

Great way of recycling!

Julie said...

Thanks so much for sharing this - it's awesome! Figurng out how to get thebag ready had sort of kept me from experimenting with "plarn" (Love that name, btw)

glitterstar said...

Thanks for sharing. :)

sue said...

cool and its also great for recycling. I used to crochet with plarn but now most of our plastic bags are biodegradable( some even breaking down before you get them home). Biodegrable is good for environment. bad for crochet.
But love your video

Sravana said...

If I didn't need them for poop bags, I'd be on this immediately!

Come to think of it, I do get huge bags that are too big and clumsy for poop bagging... hmmm...

Seane-Anna said...

"Plarn"? Interesting! Can you post the instructions for the plarn bag?

Kate E. Austin said...

You are all welcome, and thanks for reading!

The bag was something that I just made up as I went. The base of it was just a flat crocheted rectangle that I folded in half, then stitched up on two sides. The handles are two rows wide... hope that helps!

Tammy said...

Wonderful, thanks for sharing this information.

I also wanted to let you know that I posted about "plarn" on my blog and linked it back to you!

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Awesome tutorial!! I'll definitely be trying this soon :D

Anonymous said...

I'll date myself now,but in the 60s I bought a bag,about 12"tall,4"wide,and 18" across..All made of bread wrappers.very pretty and sturdy,and still use it today.2 crocheted handles too.No plastic groc bags or anywhere at the time.
They made kitchen rugs for by sink and said it was so soft ,better for feet and legsdoing dishes,etc.,1 lady made rugs long,oval and round in any size up to 6'x8'.they were neat.this stuff wears like iron.back then bread wrappers were heavier to then today.
I've had bags saved,and some cut to make a big bag,but have'nt worked on it since Xmas..
Is'nt it nice? yoou're purses are very nice,and I love the hat.
Our crochet group is going to do it for a swap in Oct
Very nice seeing your things.

Joan in So.Wi.

Anonymous said...

I have seen totebags made frm plastic bags, and if I knew the person I asked if I could see it... as for how it was constructed. It was always crocheted.
All I can think is what an awesome way to use those millions of bags that we accumulate after weekend shopping!

Northeastern Wisconsin

Cecile said...

Thanks Kate! Very neat how you tie them together!

Anonymous said...

For those like myself who don't crochet, here's another idea. I have been knitting with 'plarn' and i works up fine using #13 1/2 US needles. I have used patterns found in felted wool pattern books and the size is just right for totes and carryalls.

pickles said...

How great! We will definetly try this at home;)

Nanette said...

This is awesome! I tried to figure out how to make "yarn" from plastic bags to make tote bags - you know, for grocery shopping. I couldn't figure out how to do it...And now that I've learned from you, it's so simple! I'm excited to try this.
Thank you for sharing.

Dil said...

great idea! thanx!

Anonymous said...

I have a ton of white plarn but I really want to make some green. Where did you find your green plastic bags? I can't find a store other than barnes and noble, which i don't shop at enough, that has green plastic bags.

Kate E. Austin said...

Barnes and Noble was the place for those green plastic bags. Try asking on for them - maybe somebody in your community shops there more often than you do!

Mutuelle sante said...

It was a great guide, appreciate it, now to make "plarn" is simple and easy with your guidance. Thank you