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How To Make Plarn

September 6th, 2008 · 24 Comments

Edited to add: You can see the finished plarn bag here!

Remember when I told you about a pool bag that I am making with Plarn?  Well, I got a little side-tracked with vacation and making monkeys and planning Stan and Floss Adventures, and life!  So, we will use the pool bag next summer.

I wanted to put together a tutorial on how to make plarn for anyone that hasn’t tried it yet.  So here it goes!

Step 1: Lay out your plastic bag nice and flat.  Try to smooth out the wrinkles.  Here I’ve got two bags all smoothed out.

Step 2: Fold your bag in half longways.

Step 3: Fold it again longways.

I was sure that I photographed Step 4 and 5, but mysteriously, they are not in my camera.  So, no photos for Step 4 and 5!

Step 4: Cut off the bottom sealed part of the bag.

Step 5: Cut off the handles of the bag.

You don’t need the bottom and handle portions of the bag. You can recycle these. (My local food store has a barrel where you can place plastic bags for recycling.)

Step 6: Cut your folded bag into about 1 inch pieces as shown.

Step 7: Cut a bunch of bags with the same method.  When you think you have enough, you probably don’t!  I went ahead and cut my yellow bag in 1 inch strips also.

Step 8: Overlap one strip slightly over another as shown.

Step 9: Here’s where it gets a little confusing. Follow the pink arrows, putting the piece that is in my hand under where the first arrow points to. Then pull it to the right. Huh? What? It makes more sense if you do it as you look at the picture. I promise!

Step 10: Pull both strips of bag.

Step 11: Pull the strips until you have a nice tight knot, but pull gently so that you don’t rip the plastic.

Step 12: Continue adding plastic strips.  I find that holding the knot from the previous joining helps to keep the plastic even.

That’s all there is to it.  My SIL made a smaller bag than the one I’m making.  She used the plastic bags that you put your vegetables in at the market.  She cut the plastic strips thinner and used a smaller hook, and did all single crochets.  Hers came out wonderfully also.

Do you have any plans to crochet something with plarn?  I’d love to hear about your planned project!

Tags: Crocheted Stuff · Free Patterns

24 responses so far ↓

  • 1 A Plarn Crochet Bag…is so fun to make! // Sep 6, 2008 at 11:00 am

    […] am having so much fun with plarn!  I am using plastic bags that I had collected, and not yet recycled, from food shopping.  I […]

  • 2 Plarn Bag Finished! // Sep 20, 2008 at 6:26 am

    […] You can go and see my tutorial on how to make plarn here! […]

  • 3 Edna // Nov 6, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    I have actually tried this and it works great!!!

  • 4 Gayle // Nov 6, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    Hi Edna!

    So glad it worked! I really love the plarn bag I made.

  • 5 Vicky // Jan 24, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    It would be nice if there was a picture of the finished Plarn bag so you can see and know for sure what it is. It sounded very interesting but I can’t picture what it is from the intructions and there is not a lot of decription of what a “Plarn” bag is (I haven’t read the other articles mentioned)

  • 6 Gayle // Jan 24, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Hi Vicky!

    You can see the finished plarn bag here:
    http://planetmfiles.com/2008/09/20/plarn-bag-finished/

  • 7 denise // Mar 17, 2009 at 6:36 am

    Hi I just wondered if you could help me I am just starting chrocheting and it is very hard I think youneed a maths degree to follow patterns but concentration does the same.

    Can you just explain anything between ( ) means repeat in one of my books so does * to * however if the no. after the bracket is say 3 which in the case of the pattern I am trying to follow is do you then do the pattern three more times or is it three times in total i.e. including the first as the one inside the brackets. i.e. you do that part of the pattern 3 x times or is it 4. Because you have repeated 3 x times and then plus the one inside the bracket. I hope I am making sense, much appreciated, Denise from the UK

  • 8 Gayle // Mar 17, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Hi denise!

    I’ll email you!

  • 9 Susan // May 25, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    I am so glad to learn that this plastic bag trick actually has a name!! When I say “it’s a bag bag, folks look at me like I’m seriously odd”. I’ve been doing this for quite awhile, having made several bags (grocery size, book size, etc.) as well as hats and a child’s drawstring purse. Different folks save their odd color plastic bags for me; blue and green from the library, and yellow from a variety of places, Dollar Store, etc. I’ve asked them to not bring me any more of the white-background bags since my cupboard is bursting at the seams! We’re getting ready to move so I’m spending more time getting my bags organized, cut and wound into balls, so I don’t have to (GASP!!) throw them away.

  • 10 kelly // Aug 8, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    I havent even made the yarn yet but I am already imppressed!

  • 11 » Blog Archive » What I have learned (originally posted 8/26/09) // Aug 29, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    […] reused plastic take out containers, reused plastic bags and even turned them into <a href=”http://planetmfiles.com/2008/09/06/how-to-make-plarn/”>plarn</a&gt;. Now I go even further. I save the last bit of a bar of soap to use when hand washing laundry. […]

  • 12 CHRIS // Oct 7, 2009 at 2:17 am

    WHAT COULD BE THOUGHT UP NEXT?

    GOOD IDEA, I KNOW WE HAVE BAGS COMINT OUT ALL OVER THE HOUSE, AND SOME STORES DON’T TAKE THEM AND NOW SOME STORES ARE NOT USING THEM, IF THEY HAVE A STOCKPILE OF THEM AND USE PAPER INSTEAD, WHAT A GOOD DEAL TO USE THEIR NEW BADS, HAHAHA, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK

  • 13 Aggie // Nov 1, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    This is awsome. I could see myself crochet a bag using these bags. This is a great idea and good for the environment. Recycle always.

  • 14 Holly // Jan 21, 2010 at 11:52 am

    I am going to Nicaragua on a teaching mission. I am bringing some of your book making ideas, but these students have NO supplies, so glue, paper, string, scissors are not always available. However, there is an abundance of used plasic bags, mostly littering the streets. With shared scissors, they will be able to use these bags to make string. Thanks.

  • 15 pam // Mar 6, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    I am so excited to learn to make plarn bag’s..I have a couple of question’s 1st. What size crochet hook will be best to use and what is the best way to chrochet when you get to the knots made conecting the bag’s? I am thinking it will be about the same as when having to add more yarn when chrocheting..This is my 1st time on this sight and I am amazed at all the fantastic ideas you have..Thank’s so much for sharing..

  • 16 Dorissa // Mar 30, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Our public library has a big bag that is mad of plarn. It hold plastic bags people can use to take their books hoe in. Thanks for the tutorial.

  • 17 LA // Apr 13, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    ok my daughter and I made plarn yet we don’t crochet. Can anyone recommend a pattern we can use to create a small handbag? We are not sewing people either so this is all new to us ….would you recommend weaving?

  • 18 CHRIS // Dec 29, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    HELLO AGAIN, I JUST NOTICED A TYPO IN MY COMMENT ABOVE (#12 CHRIS) LAST SENTENCE 3RD WORD SHOULD BE BAGS NOT BADS, HAHAHA, CHRIS (JUST THOUGHT YOU’D LIKE TO KNOW) THE STORES ARE ON TO US, THE BAGS ARE WANTED BACK AT THE STORES FOR THEM TO RECYLE, WE COME UP WITH GOOD IDEAS AND THEY NOW WANT TO RECYCLE?

  • 19 Dedri // Feb 8, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Fab tutorial! I’m planning on making a video of how to join the loops speedily (and I mean superfast).

    I have stacks and stacks of plarn just waiting to be used :)

    Thank you for your time and effort in putting this together :)

  • 20 YarnYokel // Jul 8, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I stumbled on your website. I just love it. I will have to share this idea with my mother who is a huge big on recycling everything that comes into her house. So this will give her something more.
    Thanks for sharing

  • 21 Psutter // Apr 27, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Great idea but be careful, our local grocery store has started using degradable bags. They really do break down. I have stored things in plastic bags and gone back to find my stored item and a few shreds of plastic. Make sure that you don’t have these for your project. How disappointing to take the time to make something, only to have it fall apart in a short time. Patty

  • 22 Zone 1 all wrapped up in plarn « theroadtoserendipity // Oct 3, 2012 at 5:16 am

    […] http://planetmfiles.com/2008/09/06/how-to-make-plarn/ […]

  • 23 Living in a city with a new plastic bag ban, month 1 – is it all just about brushing your city’s eco image? | giaguara // Mar 13, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    […] you could – if simply reusing the bag is not good enough for you – use it e.g. for making plarn for your craft projects or fuse the plastic to a durable fabric you can use in some project that […]

  • 24 Sue Kay // Dec 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I made a few bags using your directions to make PLARN. Thanks! They turned out great :)

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