Friday, June 20, 2008


How to turn a bag full of these:

Into this!

"Plarn" is actually a word I found on this amazing site called (Cindy is so crafty I am simply in awe of her. Please check out her site; it's been the source of all my inspiration.) Plarn is short for "plastic-bag yarn," yarn that has been made by tying together cut-up pieces of plastic bags. I've turned it into a verb, as in, "I'm going to watch TV and do some plarning." Even Ralph is using it now: "Are you plarning again?" But I digress...

This is the coolest idea I've found on craft sites, and it's free! And for those of you thinking, "But I'm not that good at crocheting," (if you don't crochet at all I still have different free ideas for you below, keep reading!), don't worry, I'm pretty awful myself. The great thing about using plarn is that it's not supposed to look perfect.

So how do you make plarn? I learned the step-by-step process on Cindy's site here. First, take a plastic bag and lay it flat:

Then, fold it in half, and then in half again:

Cut off the handles and the bottom of the bag where it is sealed. You can recycle these or find some other art project to use them in. Helle of gooseflesh used the tops and bottoms of her bags to add some dimension to her crocheted Cunjevoi Garden:
So creative!

Then cut the rest of the bag into strips about an inch or two wide:

When you open the strips, they will be circles of plastic:

Overlap these circles:

And then pull one through the other (like you would do with rubber bands to make one long string), and then pull until it makes a knot:

Don't pull too tightly or it will break (I learned this the hard way of course). Keep chaining these together until you have a good-sized ball. It took about 30 bags for me to make the purse, so I figure that will be my starting point each time. Cindy is kind enough to list all her patterns for purses, etc. for free, so check it out!

And here's another amazing idea I found on on amlowi's page:

(She is currently selling this bag if you're interested)

Since we save up our cans to take to a recycling center, we have about 500 cans that are just waiting for me to pull the tabs off them!

Okay, for those of you who are saying, "That's great and all, but I don't crochet," here's are some ideas that I found on yet another amazing craft site called I found the coolest ideas for plastic bag crafts on their site here. If you sew, you could make something like this:

Or these:

And if you don't sew (and I don't) you can easily use Super Glue like I did, (or you may have a better way of connecting everything, I'm just lazy). I found a tutorial by Amanda at Etsy labs on how to iron plastic bags to make them cloth-like. It was actually very easy! Here's the plastic I used to line my plarn bag:

It's a cereal bag with a clear plastic bag on top and a couple of Stater Bros. grocery bags underneath.

And here it is in the bag:

I just cut the sides and glued it in.

You could quickly make place mats, tablecloths, or any number of things using this idea.

I am amazed at what people can do with recycled materials. And while it can be time-consuming, it's also fun and a great way to make gifts. The recipients will be so pleased that you are helping them "go green!"

For more great and frugal ideas, go on over to Biblical Womanhood!


jen said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I LOVE these bags. I have been wanting to try this for a while and I think this may have just given me the motivation I needed to start it tonight!

Good luck with the Warcraft thing! I don't know how long my husband will be able to stay "on the wagon!" : )

Andrey do Amaral said...

Umbeliveble! Congratulations. Did you make those bags?

Keep in touch

Andrey do Amaral, from Brazil

Alisa said...

Wow! People are so amazing. I think I just found a new hobby. Thanks so much for sharing.

Abbi said...

How neat! I have been thinking about crocheting a bag out of bags but haven't gotten it done yet. I had never seen making "plarn" the way you showed though so I am eager to try it.
Something I did crochet out of plastic bags was a rug. For that you want to use a little wider strips and it takes lots of bags. It lasts pretty well though. It is nice for outside a door or a door of a tent when camping.
I tried ironing plastic bags together to make plastic pants to use with cloth diapers. It didn't work so well for that as it was a little to stiff to be comfortable but I do hope to try making "cloth" again to make a raincoat, poncho or bag.