Come Learn and Share Information about Recycling, Crocheting & Recycled Crafting

Using VHS tape to crochet an evening bag

February 21, 2007 27 comments

Crocheted Evening Bag made of VHS Tape

I first saw a posting at a popular Crochet board where a board member asked the question if anyone had ever tried to crochet using old VHS tape. After reading the post, it inspired me to look into the possibility. Being a recycling craft enthusiast, I had never heard or tried crocheting using VHS tape. I quickly decided that I had to try out this new and interesting idea.

I first found an old VHS tape. After dusting it off and deciding this old blank tape wasn’t something I’d ever view again, I went to work. I had to figure out how to get the tape out and not make too big a mess. After a bit of a struggle, I pried open the case with a screwdriver and was able to get to the tape itself. (Some tape cases have small screws which can be removed making it much easier to open the cases.) I should say that the tape really needs to be completely rewound as you don’t want to have tape on both reels. I removed the reel with the tape on it from the tape case and discarded the remaining stuff. What I now had was this beautiful shiny black tape that was ready to be used in my crochet project. Unlike the plastic grocery or retail bags, I didn’t have to fold, cut, and tie together the strips to create the yarn. The reel of black VHS yarn was already prepared for me!

Next I got my favorite metal size N hook out that I do most of my plastic bag crocheting with. Taking the single strand of VHS tape, I started by chaining a simple Sc chain stitch to see how this was going to work. The VHS tape is only about ½ inch wide and my chain was pretty loose and thin. I turned at the end of my chain and started doing a Hdc stitch into the chain and quickly found out this wasn’t going to work. I am used to crocheting using plastic grocery bags that I cut in 1 inch strips and create double strand yarn. I find the double strand plastic bag yarn gives me a nice sturdy yarn. The single strand of VHS tape was too narrow and lightweight for my use.

So I found another VHS tape and repeated the process so that I now had two reels of 1/2 inch tape. I doubled the tape by holding two strands together from the two reels. I started my chain again and this time it went much better. My chain was sturdy and was about the same thickness I was accustomed to using when I crochet with plastic bag yarn.

The VHS tape is not quite as smooth to use as plastic bags. I had to somewhat manhandle it which tends to make my fingers and joints sore. So just beware of that and don’t pull too hard on your work […]

My One Month Website Blog Update

February 18, 2007 No comments yet

It is time for another installment to my website blog. I hope you have enjoyed and learned a bit more about recycled bags from my first blog and the subsequent articles I’ve posted here.

It has been just about a month since I began this adventure. I do use the word adventure rather than venture because I am having so much fun. I am learning and discovering new things at every turn. So far it has been a thrilling adventure! I’m so excited by the response that I have had concerning recycling and crafting. Many people had no idea the crafts that could be created using recycled plastic bags. I find sharing my knowledge of recycled crafts very rewarding. It’s like giving someone a gift and it doesn’t even cost me anything. The crocheted Granny Square Motif bag was especially well received. I posted the free pattern on several crafting and crocheting boards so it could be shared with the most crafters. The pattern was picked up by Craftzine, CraftGossip, Crochet n More, and Crochet Pattern Central. It is wonderful that so many sites and crafters are interested in recycling and my craft ideas.

I want to let everyone know that I have appreciated all the comments and emails that I have received concerning this website. I hope to expand it to include more free patterns, helpful links, product tips, eco-friendly ideas and other valuable information for all of us interested in crafting and recycling. Please feel free to contact me if you have something you want to share with others at this website. Just click on the My Contact at the top of the page.

Well that’s about all for this installment of My Recycled blog.
Remember my motto — enjoy!

My Recycled
A Website dedicated to recycling & crafting

Instructions for cutting plastic bags & creating recycled plastic yarn

February 17, 2007 175 comments

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.

Lay recycled bag out flat

Fold in half lengthwise then fold in half again

Cut off top handles

Cut bag in strips about 1 inch wide or as desired

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

Gently pull on ends to knot two strips together

Connect next strip to last strip in the same manner

Continue connecting strips until you have a large ball of plastic yarn

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.

Free Granny Square Bag Pattern – Recycled Plastic Bags

February 10, 2007 21 comments
Granny Sq Bag

Granny Square Motif Bag

Crocheted using recycled plastic bags this Granny Square Bag
is a quick and fun project!

Size: Approx. 8-9 inch square bag if using 3/4 to 1 inch strips of cut plastic bags into plarn.
Hook: N metal crochet hook used in this Motif pattern.
(Any large size hook can be used but Motif size will vary.)

With center color (White shown) Ch 4, Sl St to form ring.

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 […]

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!