Plarn (Plastic Yarn) is a wonderful way of Reusing Plastics Creatively, you will never run out of material to make a wide variety of beautiful projects! Using Plastics Bags to Crochet and knit requires learning how to turn the plastic into yarn, then choosing a technique and dedicating time to learning it. The rewards from the process of creations are numerous on all levels! Did you know that all needle work create a relaxation respond in your body similar to a meditation, with it’s corespondent health benefits? It has been scientifically proven to relieve stress, boredom, depression, among many other benefits. Psychologically there is also the satisfaction of completing a project and making to give to others. Using plastics gives you the added bonus: It Feels Amazing to do something that is Good for our Planet!
The first step is to learn how to cut and prepare the plastic into a ball suitable for crochet, knitting and weaving. You can find many tutorials on the Internet on how to make Plarn, they mostly consist of cutting into the bag sideways. You will end up with various loops that are later joined together. The reason that I don’t like this method is that you end up having to work with a double strand. Double strands are harder to work with and can easily get caught in the hook or break. My method may require a bit more time but I think it is worth it.
Tutorial to make Plarn:
1.Lay the bag flat and straighten out.
2. Cut off handles and bottom.
3. Cut into the bag 0.5 cm ( only one of the layers) in a 45 degree angle, and start cutting a strip round and round till you get to the end! Easy!!! But it takes time, the more you do it, the faster you will get.
The objective is to get one long strand, which will ideally be the same same width all along. If it’s not, it still OK, with practice the strand will be more consistent.
The only thing you should keep in mind is, right before completing the first full round, you must slant down approximately a 20 degrees angle, if you don’t you will get cut off and end up with one short strand. This only happens in the first round, the rest of the rounds do not require this action.
4. Once you have gone all around the bag you will end up with a long strand like this one
5. Take the end and start rolling onto your two fingers. You should be pulling fairly tight to shape the strand of plastic for better crocheting or knitting.
6. After a couple of rounds take off fingers and continue rolling into a little ball, beware if you have cats in the house, they really like playing with the strand ! you will end up with something like this! Now you are Ready to go!
Plastics bags come in all colors, sizes, softness, thickness, pull, etc. You can use different kinds of bags, some are easier or better for some projects. Here is a quick explanation of what I have discovered:
The easiest for beginners and luckily the most abundant are your typical supermarket and veggie shop bags.
Start with these bags practicing basic crochet stitches. Here is a good tutorial I found explaining how to do a single crochet stitch. This is the only stitch that I use for most of my projects. Once you get the hang of it, you can make many items with the square/rectangle form, mats, cushions and simple handbags.
The following bags was made by making a rectangle in single crochet, double the length of the bag I desired. Once completed I folded the rectangle and with another color used a slip stitch (draw yarn through chain and the loop on your hook in one motion) all around the edges. I made another rectangle to make the flap, this was also stitched to the main body with a simple slip stitch.
For the handles I made 3 long strands of chains stitches:
Bags used to package food, napkins and even toilet paper work well for crochet and weaving but are horrible for knitting. They are good for making baskets, amiguri ( name used when referring to small stuffed animals made by knitting or crochet) and handbags. There are many free and easy tutorials on the internet, and you can always adapt them.
My turtle is an adaptation from an amiguri tutorial I found on the internet, I only followed the instructions of how to make the shell. The shell is made in single crochet in a circle until I reach the size of the turtle that I want to make. The body, head, legs I make by using veggi nets and filling them with leftover plastic bags pieces from when I make yarn, and then stitching with needle and thread to the shell. The idea is to used every bit of plastic!
If you want to learn how to make baskets, look at different tutorials, there are many methods and teachers. When you crochet in circles you will star my making a magic loop (adjustable circle), here a good tutorial on how to do it: Crochet in circles is more complex and requires learning how to increase, but once you get the hang of it, it’s also pretty simple. Basket are a great way to learn, this next tutorial is simple to follow along:
There are some bags that are very stretchy that are practically impossible to work with and better saved for other techniques like fusing plastics, you will immediately now when you encounter one of these bags! I hope to write other follow up posts on this subject, but for now I think it’s plenty to get started! I would love to see your creations, you can share them in my Facebook page Bags Revolt, to inspire other newbies!
A special THANKS to all the wonderful ladies whose tutorials I have shared with you today!