reuse, recycle and crochet with PLARN! PLastic yARN !

What a great discovery I had surfing the internet world the other night. My eureka was “plarn” — yarn made out of plastic bags. This idea may have been rooted in my family consciousness already, because I remember my great aunt Ruth made a plastic rug with braided bread wrappers back in the 70’s. She had the right idea, but I’m not sure about the execution (those rugs were slippery!).

I’ve been using plastic grocery bags for trash bags for some time, but now I am hoarding them for plarn. If they’re a solid color, they’re like gold (er, plastic gold), as they make the nicest color accents when you crochet.

How do you make plarn?

I’ll explain how to make plarn out of plastic grocery bags, since that’s the most common stash I have. Once you have the idea, you can use the concepts on all your bags.

  1. Take a plastic bag and press it flat against the table. I like to catch the pleated sides and make sure they are straight.
  2. Fold the bag from the side in thirds and then in half.
  3. Cut off the bottom of the bag.
  4. Continue to cut one-inch strips across the bag. They will form a loop. You can usually get 11 or 12 strips from one grocery bag.
  5. Pull one loop around and through another loop to form a sort of knot or chain. Then just keep adding loops and roll into a ball of plarn.


  • Try stacking about four bags together and cut them all at once to save time.
  • Use a cutting mat and rotary cutter with a plastic ruler to cut your strips.
  • Take 20 to 25 grocery bags to create a ball of plarn. I group similar bags alike to keep a color scheme, but you can use whatever you have. This is recycling after all.

Here are some great tutorials on making plarn that provide pictures and diagrams:

What do you make with plarn?

You can use plarn to make just about anything you can make with fiber yarn, but the most common items are bags and totes. The minute I saw this next pattern, I started sorting plastic bags immediately to make it.

Lori’s version of plastic bag tote

It starts with a round bottom and you just crochet in the round. I made a couple of them and played around with hook sizes and bag colors. The pattern for this plastic bag tote design came from Marlos Crochet Corner website.

I also whipped up my version of this little plarn basket by Susan Kennedy. It would make a fun gift bag or small tote for a little girl.

Here is a cute sunflower that attaches to the Ultimate Grocery Bag at My Recycled Bags. I ran out of yellow plastic bag, so I had to make the petals smaller.

Hopefully, my adventures into crocheting with plarn will give you the inspiration to crochet a project of your own — there are a lot of patterns and ideas out there for plarn. So tell me about your plastic bag recycled project. Did you try to crochet a tote or bag or discover something new?

Friendly Reminder: Please respect the wishes of the designers you find regarding the use and distribution of their patterns or the sale of items made from their patterns.