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Tag Archive | "recycled-crafting"

Merry Christmas

December 24, 2020 No comments yet

Well it’s that time again and just wanted to send out warm wishes for a very happy holiday to all.

This is one of my past recycled Christmas card ornaments. You can find the tutorial and details here should you want to recycle some of your Christmas cards this year.

Below is my final batch of mini Christmas stockings for 2020. These 6 inch Christmas stockings will go towards next year’s stocking drive for the Warmth for Warriors organization.

You can find the free crochet pattern for the cuffed mini Christmas stockings

Recycled Turkey Craft Ideas

November 26, 2013 3 comments

Well it’s nearly Thanksgiving and I was browsing around and found several cool recycled turkey craft ideas. Check out this cute turkey using a recycled toilet paper roll from Dillydaliart.

Here is a turkey place card you can make using recycled paper such as postcards or lightweight cardboard.

How about using some old wine corks to create a turkey place card for your Thanksgiving table?

Plarn Pop Tab Tote Bag

July 3, 2011 22 comments

This week I present my first pop tab tote bag project. I was asked to create a tote bag using soda pop pull tabs and recycled plastic bags by a member of my Trash to Treasures group on Ravelry. I have been saving soda pop tabs and beer pull tabs so I could complete this project. It took 252 tabs for my bag. I decided that I would alternate rounds so that it didn’t take so many tabs to do this bag. Plus I like the look of the plastic bags by themselves to separate the pull tab rounds.

I used cotton cord on the base of the bag to give it a sturdy bottom and also on the handles. I found if I wrapped the plastic bag yarn (plarn) around the cord as I crocheted around it, it hides the white cord better. As you may see in the closeup pictures of the base, the first few rows I didn’t wrap it as close as I did in later rounds. The later rounds look better and the white cotton cord doesn’t really show through. I found if I wound the plastic around the cord in small sections and then crocheted around the cord, it worked best to keep the plastic tighter and uniform.

Hope you enjoy this free crochet pattern. Happy 4th of July to everyone!

Free Plarn Pop Tab Bag Pattern

Materials needed:
One ball of plastic bag yarn aka Plarn
(Approx. 50 plastic newspaper bags cut into 1″ strips of plarn)
252 Soda pull-tabs
4 yards – 12/32 (9.5 mm) cotton cord

Hook: J (6 mm)size metal crochet hook
Description: Plastic Bag & Pop Tab Tote Bag
Bag measures 12 inches wide and 10 inches long with 18 inch straps

Ch 20 loosely.

Recycled Kleenex Box Gift Tags

June 25, 2011 9 comments

Here are some gift tags I made from a pretty Kleenex box I had. The box was just so cute that I wanted to recycled the cardboard into something useful so I got out my tag die cutter. I cut as many tags as I could from the panels of the box and then used a hole punch to put a hole into the top of the tags. I used scrap yarn and some leather strips for ties to finish off my gift tags.

Here is one other set of gift tags I cut from another Kleenex box. The bottom had some plain white so I cut out a few of those to show you that with some pretty yarn, they make great gift tags too. For the other tags, I used pieces of plarn (plastic bag yarn) for my ties.

This is a really quick and easy project that you and the kids can both enjoy. Let the kids cut strips of yarn or other recycled materials for the ties and voilà — you have yourself some cute and free gift tags.

Altoids Pincushion Tin

June 18, 2011 8 comments

Here is my version of an Altoids tin repurposed into a pincushion and sewing gadget box. The materials used in this project were from an Envelope of Doom (EOD) swap I participated in. If you aren’t familiar with an EOD swap, its where you put some crafting materials into an envelope and mail them off to your partner. The challenge is to use the materials you receive to make things for your partner and then return the finished items back to your swap partner. It was a fun swap and this pincushion sewing box was one of my creations from the materials I received from my partner.

I was inspired by this Altoids project which used a magnetic sheet on the inside of the lid to hold needles and such. There are lots of different crafting versions and great ideas on the web for reusing the tins.

Over at Craftsters Rackycoo’s tutorial is outstanding and has step-by-step photos showing how to decorate your tin. I used a few ideas from the post to finish off my Altoids pincushion box.

I hope my swap partner will enjoy her recycled Altoids tin as much as I did creating the little sewing box. Until next time, happy crafting to all!

Crocheted Plastic Bag Patterns

April 12, 2007 13 comments

Welcome to plastic bag pattern headquarters! I am building a library of patterns here for crocheting with plastic grocery bags and other recycled materials. Currently I have free patterns available for purses, a plastic bag keeper, shoulder bags, coasters, and other bags.

If you are new to crafting with plastic bags here is the tutorial on how to create yarn from plastic bags.

You may also want to read my tips on crafting with plastic grocery bags, just click here.

I love to share my free patterns and recycling ideas with others to promote recycled crafting. My plan is to continue building this website blog into one of the best resources for crafting with plastic bags as well as covering other materials that can be used. More patterns are being added all the time so please make sure you check back often.

September 2014 update:
It has been over 7 years since I first wrote this post and over the years I have added many new recycled plastic bag patterns to my blog. You can find a list of all the patterns with thumbnail photos of each project at my free patterns page.

Thanks for visiting My Recycled Bags!

Update on Crafting with Recycled Materials

March 9, 2007 8 comments

I wanted to bring everyone up to date on my latest discoveries and completed projects using different recycled materials. Recently I used VHS tape to crochet an evening bag and also a round Motif bag purse. It works fairly well to crochet using the VHS tape but you do need to pull a bit on your stitches to make them uniform and even. Be careful as it can be a bit hard on your fingers and joints. It is a wonderful way to use those old VHS tapes that so many of us have lying around. The black tape gives a pretty sparkly sheen to your project. It appears to do be an excellent eco-friendly way to recycle those tapes!

Next I experimented using cassette tape as yarn. It’s much narrower and you need to use a small hook. I used single strand tape to make a set of Barbie Fashion Doll purses. The free patterns are available under my pattern link on the right. I must say that crocheting with cassette tape is easier on my joints and smoother to crochet stitches with. Another nice discovery was that you do not need to open up the case to use the brown tape as yarn. You simply use a rewound tape and cut off the clear lead so you just have the brown tape to pull out of the case. You can then just work your project by pulling out the tape as you go. It reels out smoothly and you don’t have to worry about your yarn getting tangled. Be careful as the tape colors do vary so check your color shades when you do your projects.

My latest project consists of plastic bags and cassette tape used as yarn. The brown center was a plastic grocery bag I cut very narrow to match my cassette tape width. I cut the plastic bag strips at about ¼ inch. Now I know this is narrow but you need this to match the brown cassette tape. I believe this is a bit like working with thread. While I don’t work with thread much, this was an easy item to stitch as you don’t need to manhandle your work. The stitching seems to move along effortlessly unlike some of the other recycled materials I use. I will post a picture of the bag here when it is completed.

Knitting Links for Recycled Bags

I will continue to try out new and test other recycled materials here on this website. My motto continues to be that this website blog is dedicated to recycling and crafting. In an effort to expand beyond just crocheted recycled crafts, I wanted to share with you several knitted recycled bags. Thanks to Mike at who agreed to allow me to link this knitted recycled plastic bag in a post.

So for you knitters out there, click on this link for instructions on creating a knitted recycled tote bag using a different method than I do for the […]

Tips for Crocheting and Crafting with Recycled Plastic Bags

February 3, 2007 12 comments

Obtaining bags for your projects

Crafting with recycled plastic bags requires lots of bags. Make sure the plastic bags that you use are NOT biodegradable as they will turn to shreds over time. Save all the bags you receive from grocery and retail stores. A few ideas on how to obtain more plastic bags are:

Ask your family and friends to save bags for you. It’s an excellent way to encourage recycling with other people and provide you with the additional plastic bags you need. You will receive bags from stores that you don’t normally shop and this provides a great opportunity to get new colors of bags to add to your creativity.

Check with your local stores that have recycling bins for plastic bags. Most don’t care if you take from these bins as this is the purpose of these collection sites. But ask first so you know it is okay. Also some stores will even let you take the whole big bag of recycled bags if you want them all. Just be aware that not all these bags will be usable and clean.

Remember depending on your product you can use bread wrappers, dry cleaning bags, grocery bags, clothing store bags, tire bags, plastic caution tape, unused garbage bags, packing or shipping plastic bags, plastic tarps, and many other plastic materials make wonderful plarn yarn.

Width of strips

The width of your strips will vary but some tips are:

If using very stiff plastic or plastic store bags, cut your strips about 3/4inch or less in width. This makes it easier to crochet with the yarn that is created.

If using lightweight plastic bags, cut your strips 1 to 1-1/2 inches wide. Don’t pull too hard when making your yarn as they tend to break. If the strip does tear in half, just tie the ends together. You can always hide the knot in your work.

Cutting the strips

You can cut the strips with scissors or for a quick cut, use a paper cutter.

Cleaning plastic bags

In most cases, use only clean plastic bags for projects. Throw away any bags that smell or have something sticky or dirty in them. Should you find that you need to clean a plastic bag that has a small sticky or soiled area, use a warm damp towel or sponge. Wipe the area off and make sure it is completely clean and odor free. Once the bag is clean then air dry the bag before you use it in your project.

Hiding loose ends

To successfully hide loose ends, use a small crochet hook. Weave the loose ends under on the inside or backside of your projects. Bury those loose ends by going under stitches and in the same direction as the loose end lies. Then cut the end close to your work to get rid of any excess loose ends.

Minimizing and hiding knots

After you have intertwined two plastic bag strips together, sometimes the knot is big or […]

Recycling Plastic Grocery Bags and Making Recycled Handmade Items

January 24, 2007 26 comments

Hello! This is my first attempt at blogging and the opening blog for this website. I have read other people’s blogs and oftentimes been fascinated in other people’s ideas that they shared through a blog. So here goes.

Ever get tired of all those plastic grocery and store bags you have left over after going shopping? I always asked for paper bags so I didn’t come home with 40+ bags and not much use for them other than filling up our landfills and taking like a 100 years to decompose. Also many animals are injured or killed each year by these plastic bags. But several months ago, a friend had a cute handmade purse she was using. It was very unique looking and appeared to be crocheted out of some type of unusual yarn.

Well, it was crocheted out of old recycled plastic grocery bags! I was shocked and couldn’t believe it. How was that possible? I have crocheted for years and had never seen or heard about such a thing. She explained that her Mother cut the bags up in strips and tied them together to create a ball of “yarn.” I thought what a fantastic idea and a wonderful way to re-use all those pesky plastic bags.

I researched the process and found many other crafters out there doing the same thing. I have seen some beautiful creations of purses, totes, shoulder bags, hairpieces, coasters, rugs, placemats, and other clever uses for recycled plastic bags. Some people crochet, knit or weave to make their handmade products. But no matter what process you use, it is a wonderful, eco friendly use of these bags.

Myself, I have made totes, handbag purses, clutches, and shoulder bags using a large metal crochet hook. I have found that the metal hooks work smoother than the plastic ones but experiment with what works best for you. I clean my hook off with rubbing alcohol to remove any sticky ink or build-up that occurs. That helps the hook move a bit easier when you are crocheting. Crocheting using the plastic bags is hard on my hands and finger joints. I have heard this from others too so please be aware of this. I find that if I crochet for too long my left hand gets very sore. I am a right-handed crocheter. Taking breaks and shaking out my hands does help some.

Anyway that’s my blog. I would love to hear from others who are interested in this topic or people who would like to comment on my crocheted products. I do sell some of my items and hope to use some of my creations for future Christmas gifts for my family and friends. I do hope you too can recycle and help make our world a bit better one plastic bag at a time.

My shoulder bag created using brown plastic bags.

About Me

Hello, I’m Cindy or aka RecycleCindy. Welcome to my blog site that is dedicated to recycling and crafting. I love to crochet and create crafts and other useful things from recycled materials. I share many free tutorials and patterns for creating recycled projects as well as other handmade items.

Here is a direct link to all my free patterns available here on My Recycled Bags.

Thank you for stopping by to visit and for your interest in My Recycled Bags!