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Instructions for cutting plastic bags & creating recycled plastic yarn

Posted on February 17, 2007

Each photo below is thumbnailed, click on photo to view larger size

This process is a great way to recycle those old plastic bags into something useful. You can crochet or knit a cool tote bag similar to reusable totes that are sold.

• Cutting
Lay recycled bag out flat
Bag1

Fold in half lengthwise then fold in half again
Bag2

Cut off top handles
Bag3

Cut bag in strips about 1 inch wide or as desired
Bag4

Set aside the end of bag where bottom edge was glued. The ends and the handles can be recycled either as stuffing for other projects, packing material for shipping, or taken to your local recycling bin for plastic bags.

Tying strips together
Take two strips and inter-twine together as shown
Bag5

Bag6

Gently pull on ends to knot two strips together
Bag7

Connect next strip to last strip in the same manner
bag8.JPG

Continue connecting strips until you have a large ball of plastic “yarn”
bag9.JPG

Tips:
Pull ends evenly to create a smooth and flat strip.
If you find your strip doesn’t lie flat between knots, you didn’t pull
evenly which creates a bunched strip. Just make sure your strip is
even before you pull your knot tight between the two connected
strips. To fix a bunched strip, just loosen your knot between the strips
then pull on the ends again to make your strip flat and smooth.

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167 Responses to “Instructions for cutting plastic bags & creating recycled plastic yarn”

  1. [...] use, get rid of it and convert it into something useful.  You can make strips with them and create plarn, which then you can knit or crochet like regular yarn.  I haven’t tried that, but I’ve [...]


  2. [...] bags make yarn in a cool, inexpensive way.   I decided to give plastic bag yarn making a try, using these instructions. Note: normally I would not have plastic bags, but I am living in a world of no reusable bags, if [...]


  3. Thank you very much for this wonderful work


  4. KT
    Feb 18, 2012

    Thanks for the idea. I have decided to incorporate it into my scrapbooking project. Check out the picture link on my progress!

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150682689410350&set=a.10150576840035350.441252.285761260349&type=1&theater


  5. [...] Her site also includes a picture tutorial on how to make your own plastic yarn [...]


  6. Kathryn Boyle
    Jun 26, 2012

    Hi Cindy!

    I was wondering if you or any of your readers have tried this method to make plarn out of heavy plastic bags (similar to the “yard” bags). I have a bunch of heavy (almost rubbery) bags I was going to do this with, but once I got the plarn made, I wasn’t able to crochet or knit with it as the material sticks to my hooks or needles. I’ve tried plastic and metal needles. Any suggestions?


  7. Marcia Bowers
    Aug 09, 2012

    THANKS so much for sharing.
    I, too,am a breast cancer survivor (diagnosed Dec. 2005)
    I am trying to print some of your patterns to try.
    Have a good day.


  8. [...] how do you make Plarn? I had no idea and so turned to Google and came up with this page which I found easy to follow. As I had no handles on my bags I simply had to cut the bottom off, [...]


  9. [...] Make Plarn from My Recycled Bags [...]


  10. [...] is a portmanteau of plastic bag yarn. I used this tutorial to make yarn from the collection of plastic bags I’ve got kicking [...]


  11. [...] a single strand to crochet with it. For the plastic retail bags, I made plastic bag yarn using my plarn making tutorial which is done using the looping [...]



  12. Jessica N.
    Oct 09, 2013

    Thank you for this tutorial! It is *exactly* what I was looking for.


  13. Nora sork
    Jan 16, 2014

    Thank you Cindy for sharing! I’ve been wondering how to make plan. My hubby was recently with lung cancer and am looking for a plan cancer ribbon wrist band for him. WE are raising my 2 year developmentally delayed grand daughter and don’t have much time for myself with chemo and all. I W want to buy this ribbon, actually two, from you if you at available to do so?


  14. Cindy
    Jan 17, 2014

    @Nora – I sent you an email about the ribbon. I wish you and your dh the best as you face his cancer battle. These things are never easier. Take care and best wishes.


  15. Lois
    May 06, 2014

    I have made outside seat covers with plastic bags, only I crochet scrap yarn with it. All colors are great.


  16. […] bags. Cut the bags into strips, join, and roll into a ball. There are many talented designers like Recycled Bags that make a living turning plastic into yarn.Here’s a video tutorial on how to make plarn […]



Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] can learn how to plarn at myrecycledbags.com.  Plarning is incredibly easy, and makes a fun project for youn [...]

  2. [...] bagsThere are so many great ways to reuse these scourges of society. Make plarn and knit or crochet them into something fabulous. Some more plastic bag craft ideas [...]

  3. [...] plastic bags into functional items. The super-easy tutorial on how to make plarn is here, pictured is a step where you loop two loops together and reapeat (see image below). Once a ball of [...]

  4. [...]Make plastic bag yarn and knit or crochet recycled goodies [...]

  5. [...] in need of a clothes pin bag. There is a crochet pattern over at myrecycledbags made with plastic yarn. I have actually found a knitted version at craftster for free, but since I own Home by Debbie [...]

  6. [...] Plastic Bags in  gray,  tan, or blue:  I make these into plarn (plastic yarn) to make bags and other non-clothing items. I shop at Food Lion, so anything not [...]

  7. [...] Here is a great picture tutorial. [...]

  8. [...] paper towel usage, and The {NewNew} peeps arrived with bags of plastic bags cutting them up into plarn or fusing them down into sheets. . . Very mysterious. KimmChi and [...]

  9. [...] bags. Make a plarn bag, like our fan Christina Brady. Want to see how it’s done?  Check out this YouTube [...]

  10. [...] big for  a coaster , too small for a placemat!! Made with plarn (plastic bag yarn) here’s one way of creating it but I prefer this way [...]

  11. [...] instructions for making plarn are pretty simple. there are a bunch of videos on youtube including a really quick introduction to [...]

  12. [...] be a great project for kids. The yarn used is made using plastic bags – plarn. There is a picture tutorial here and it looks quite [...]

  13. [...] Them Into Yarn – Knitting fanatics will like this free plastic yarn, or “plarn”, that you can use to make a sturdier shopping bag or just practice your knits and purls [...]

  14. [...] also include the instructions for cutting and creating the plastic yarn – see here for the [...]

  15. [...] & hamburger buns, paper towel & TP packaging, etc. to create this rug. She first makes her plastic yarn (or “plarn”), then uses an N (9) crochet hook and does a single crochet [...]

  16. [...] solved the knotty problem by discovering a new way of making plarn, by cutting the bag in loops instead. I also experimented with knitting – and crocheting [...]

  17. [...] should work out just right. In any case, I will certainly be working on more projects using “plarn.” I’ve already recruited all of my housemates into collecting and saving bags for [...]

  18. [...] way more bags than I can use as small wastebasket liners.  And then I found out about plarn, aka “yarn” made from plastic bags.  It’s easy to [...]

  19. [...] to figure out how to create my own plarn and subsequent projects. Finally, I stumbled across this great website. Eureka! My first couple of exploits have been small and humble, yet I am already finding fun ways [...]

  20. [...] tad bit obsessed with collecting stuff I can make recycled crafts out of (like magazine bows and plastic bag yarn). My bus pass is my best [...]

  21. [...] 2. If you can’t flush your litter, then use bags from packaging (cereal bags, chip bags, etc.) for disposal. These bags typically aren’t recyclable, and they just go in the trash anyway, so why not find another use for them before tossing them? A lot of people use plastic grocery bags for this purpose, but these bags can be recycled (and also upcycled—ever heard of plarn?). [...]

  22. [...] easy. I searched through blogs here and found Flextiles blog post about a plarn bowl with a link to myrecycledbags.com‘s instructions for making plarn. I followed the instructions and cut all my loops somewhere [...]

  23. [...] I mentioned in my previous Adventures in Plarn post I used the instructions found here to make my plarn. 12-13 bags were used to make this [...]

  24. [...] wanted to share this today with you,my loyal readers.Learn to recycle those old Wal-Mart bags! Make yarn.I found her site to be informative and interesting,she is most certainly an eco-warrior.Don’t [...]

  25. [...] use, get rid of it and convert it into something useful.  You can make strips with them and create plarn, which then you can knit or crochet like regular yarn.  I haven’t tried that, but I’ve [...]

  26. [...] bags make yarn in a cool, inexpensive way.   I decided to give plastic bag yarn making a try, using these instructions. Note: normally I would not have plastic bags, but I am living in a world of no reusable bags, if [...]

  27. [...] Her site also includes a picture tutorial on how to make your own plastic yarn [...]

  28. [...] how do you make Plarn? I had no idea and so turned to Google and came up with this page which I found easy to follow. As I had no handles on my bags I simply had to cut the bottom off, [...]

  29. [...] is a portmanteau of plastic bag yarn. I used this tutorial to make yarn from the collection of plastic bags I’ve got kicking [...]

  30. [...] a single strand to crochet with it. For the plastic retail bags, I made plastic bag yarn using my plarn making tutorial which is done using the looping [...]

  31. […] bags. Cut the bags into strips, join, and roll into a ball. There are many talented designers like Recycled Bags that make a living turning plastic into yarn.Here’s a video tutorial on how to make plarn […]

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About Me

Hello, I’m Cindy or aka RecycleCindy. I love to learn and share information about crocheted and other items crafted from recycled materials. This is a green, eco-friendly website that is dedicated to recycling and crafting.
This blog and my life have taken on a new journey when on March 10, 2008, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I have added a special area on my blog in which I chronicle my journey into the pink.
Thank you for stopping by to visit and for your interest in My Recycled Bags!

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