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


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
Plarn cutting 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.

Related Posts with Thumbnails



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

  1. Lunchbox Obsessed
    Sep 23, 2008

    Very cool! Will try this project with my 6 year old, who loves to turn all of our recylcables into various things. Lately, she’s been turning cardboard boxes into musical instruments by filling them with a few dried beans and taping them up. This will be a great craft to learn together. Thanks!


  2. Everyday Magic
    Sep 23, 2008

    Plastic bags + Crochet = Plochet?…

    So I discovered “plarn” about a week ago, and was instantly interested. I mean, there’s all these plastic bags laying around with no real use other than taking up space and using as a garbage bag for the bathroom trash basket. We were just recycli…


  3. Missa
    Sep 26, 2008

    Oh, wow, that’s such an easier way to cut the strips for ‘plarn’ than what I’ve been doing. ‘m trying to use my extra plastic bags to make grocery bags, and it’s the cutting strips that’s making it a tedious project.

    Thanks for the tip!


  4. […] of plastic bags from our porch (enclosed, used for storage – not the homey kind with a swing) and made plarn and then made a bag loosely following hakucho’s big bag pattern – this is what I […]


  5. […] will also 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 […]


  6. […] from cutting the bags into strips. I offer a picture tutorial on how to make the plastic bag yarn here. The free crochet pattern for my net market bag is found here. Thank you.” Lisa Spinelli presents […]


  7. Paula Thornton
    Nov 09, 2008

    Great for small, but I like industrial. I do the same locking pattern with the handle loop and a hole in the bottom of another bag. Fold in half lengthwise 4 times (pattern inward or outward depending on your color preferences) and cut a perpendicular 3/8″ slice on fold about 1/2″ from bottom. Open 1 fold to reveal 6/8″ hole to thread the handles through. Much quicker and thicker. No waste of bag or time.


  8. […] is a drop in the bucket but I went out and spun some plastic yarn AKA “plarn” as per their directions. They have tons of projects you can make out of plarn, such as the dishcloth pictured […]


  9. […] In case you are new to crafting with plarn or plastic bag yarn, I also have a few tutorial found here if you need to know how to make your own plarn.” AdmirableIndia.com presents Trip to Kanyakumari: […]


  10. Lois
    Dec 05, 2008

    Thank you for sharing your great idea,so far I`ve only used bags for garbage collection. Now I`ll make shopping bags, to help cut down land fill.

    Thank you again

    Lois


  11. […] with recycled plastic bags is also known as plarn. If you need to know how to make plarn, check out this picture tutorial. You can crochet this gift bag using plarn with this free […]


  12. […] -Â two different sites do a pretty good job of explaining. This one has better pictures while this one has more pictures… for the two types of learners in all of us. Once you slice and link one […]


  13. […] instructions-for-cutting-plastic-bags-creating-recycled-plastic bag yarn […]


  14. familymassage
    Dec 27, 2008

    Harris Teeter has an annual bag drive in their Together In Education program where they team up with Trex and have a competition amongst their enrolled schools. Each participating school collects plastic bags (when I contacted them last year they said ANY plastic bags, ziploc, grocery, or otherwise) and whichever school turns in the most wins–in 2007 it was $500 towards beautification of school grounds and a Trex park bench.

    I don’t know what the balance is in regards to pros and cons of Trex and the production of their products, but on the surface I like the idea of making useful and durable things like patios and benches out of recycled plastic. They might be worthy of the scraps leftover from the plarn crafting AND the discards when the scrubbies, and bags, do finally wear out. *shrug*

    thanks for all the great info.


  15. Hi Cindy,

    Many thanks for these instructions. I’m going to give them ago and try to reduce the amount of plastic I send to landfill by knitting with plarn.

    All the best,

    Transition housewife’s last blog post..Hate plastic, love plarn


  16. […] learn how to make PLARN and find or make your own patterns, the instructions with clear images are here.  Check it […]


  17. Jaclyn Bailey
    Feb 25, 2009

    Thank you for this! I have been wanting to make plarn for market bags for a while now… but the idea of cutting each bag into one long strip seem like way to much work! This is way better! Thank you so much!

    Jaclyn Bailey’s last blog post..On the bright side.


  18. […] Instructions for cutting bags and making plastic yarn […]


  19. Denese
    Mar 01, 2009

    We started this last night, just a few bags really makes a lot of loops! My children took the ends…stuffing for something or other.
    We’re going to try a rug first, thank you for all the info. 🙂

    Denese’s last blog post..Travel Alert: 441 Through the Great Smoky Mountains is Closed


  20. […] learned to make the plarn from My Recycled Bags. I searched all over, but these instructions seemed to be the easiest to follow. I also watched […]


  21. Joyce Robinson
    Mar 17, 2009

    Here is a related story you might find interesting: The recycling of plastic bags into crocheted carrying bags, called Mochilas which are used by both men and women, is being used by Proyecto Titi to help save the Cotton-top Tamarin, an endangered small primate found only in the tropical forests of Columbia. The bags were littering the environment and jeopardizing the health of the cotton-tops. This project not only gets the bags out of the environment but, by providing funds for the village families, reduces the impact on the forest resources. And they are the cutest little primates in the Americas!!


  22. […] It’s plastic yarn and right here is: How to make Plarn. […]


  23. Lucien
    Mar 21, 2009

    This is sooooo kewl. I had a baby afghan kit for 30+ years. After I retired, I learned how to crochet, starting with a potholder. The baby afghan was the next project I completed.

    I love to crochet, but the yarn plays havoc with my allergies–so this what the doctor ordered!!!

    I don’t know how to do it, but I would like to put a link in my blog where I can click on your name and it points to you. Would you be able to instruct me as to how this is done? Or where there is a site that can explain what the difference is between subscribing, following and all that bloggie stuff?

    Lucy

    Lucien’s last blog post..My First Softie


  24. Cindy
    Mar 22, 2009

    Lucien:
    Glad you stopped by. As you use Blogger for your blog, you can just add my site to your blog roll. Just go to your admin page in Blogger and add http://www.myrecycledbags.com/


  25. HannaH Jane
    Mar 26, 2009

    Cindy, this is really awesome! I’ve got tons of these bags at home. I’ve started shopping at Aldi recently, and you have to bring your own bags. I’m going home to get started tonight 🙂

    -HannaH


  26. […] learn how to make PLARN and find or make your own patterns, the instructions with clear images are here.  Check it […]


  27. Hi Cindy,

    Well it took a while, but I’ve created my first plarn purse. Many thanks again for these instructions it worked really well.

    Transition housewife’s last blog post..Plarn purse


  28. […] so I’m going to give it a go. I will probably use a similar (if not that exact) pattern. This website has the best instructions I’ve found thus […]


  29. A New Use for Plastic Bags | Cheeky Maiden Soap Co. Tip of the Week
    May 02, 2009

    […] This site gives step by step (with photos!) instructions on how to make a “yarn” out of your old bags and weave them into a new one! […]


  30. Jim Carroll
    May 06, 2009

    RE: Jerry Scovel’s idea using plarn and plastic bottles…

    If you go to the Instructables web site “plastic rope” into the search box, you’ll get a number of projects that use plarn to make rope. The best one (in my opinion) uses a rope-making machine to twist the plarn into real rope. Go here for the details. The nice thing about this technique is that you can take the rope you’ve made and use the rope-making machine to twist it into thicker rope. Very strong and easily done in a third-world country.


  31. […] plastic yarn, or “plarn”.  GooseFlesh blog has very good instructions and pictures, My Recycled Bags is another good sourceand has many good articles about green […]


  32. […] savers/scrubbies: Use this pattern with plarn and save soap and the environment. Once empty of soap, the ’saver’ becomes a reusable […]


  33. […] bag basically consists of two large granny squares crocheted out of plarn with a 9 mm hook. I then crocheted the two squares together, went around the top a few times to […]


  34. […] is made using recycled plastic bags which have been repurposed into plarn or plastic bag yarn. Here is a picture tutorial to show you the step-by-step process to making plarn. What better way to celebrate Earth Day than […]


  35. Greendesigns
    Jun 19, 2009

    I have heard of this but could not picture it, now I see it. Interesting! I make purses out of coffee bags. freecycle.org is a great site to find people who will save stuff and you either pick up or mail a SASE.

    Greendesigns’s last blog post..Large Funky Eco Tote/Bag/ Purse made with Recycled Coffee bags


  36. […] 1. Turn your plastic bags into plarn: I like this simple YouTube video and these step-by-step instructions. […]


  37. […] 1. Turn your plastic bags into plarn: I like this simple YouTube video and these step-by-step instructions. […]


  38. Debora
    Jul 10, 2009

    We make long strips by cutting the handles and bottoms off then folding the bags like you do but leaving about 3″ hanging out. When you cut the strips, don’t cut the end 3″. Now starting at the end of the uncut strip across the middle, cut from outside end over to the first slice and continue cutting from 2nd slice to 3rd slice. You will end up with one continuous strand.


  39. Cindy
    Jul 10, 2009

    @Debora,
    Yes, this is another good method for making plarn and also works great for cutting a tee-shirt into T-yarn.


  40. Weblogian
    Jul 11, 2009

    Hi Cindy, That was a great idea and very useful. Thank you for posting it.

    Weblogian’s last blog post..Top Indian Web Blog Hosting


  41. Jo
    Jul 13, 2009

    Hi, I love the whole recycling thing, but I’m a bit worried about the number of plastic bags all these “eco-friendly” people are collecting. And if it’s such a great idea, isn’t there a temptation to go out and get more bags to make more plarn? This increases the demand on the bags that should really have been abolished from our supermarkets long ago. In the end, it’s still non-biodegradable rubbish when you get fed up with your hand knitted plarn bag and want to make another one. Hope everyone out there will use their plarn bags to go shopping from now on, stop picking plastic bags up from supermarkets and shops, and keep spreading the message that they are a bad idea, whatever good use you put them to.



  42. […] har jag förstÃ¥tt att det finns ett liv efter detta även för mina plastkassar. Här fÃ¥r du lära dig hur du gör garn av dina gamla plastkassar. Vad man ska göra med garnet? Fortsätt läsa här sÃ¥ lär du finna […]


  43. […] of what to do with all my white plastic bags. I knew I wanted to transform them into “plarn” and do a crochet project. The problem: white plastic bags are ugly. I don’t care what […]


  44. […] in making your own bags? Check out this guide  on making your own bag  that Valerie passed along for a tutorial on getting […]


  45. […] 11. Balene II size P – This is sort of half way between Boye and Bates shapes. I don’t love it but it’s perfect for plarn. […]


  46. Tamralyn Kelly
    Sep 26, 2009

    This is exactly what I was looking for. This way of making plarn is so much easier than what I imagined it would be. It will be a perfect way to do my homework for college. I have a dress and humanity class that requires me to recycle something and make it into something new. This is a perfect idea.


  47. […] plastic bags […]


  48. […] Here you will find instructions on how to create the plastic yarn. […]


  49. Terica
    Oct 10, 2009

    Just to say thank you for a very easy thing to try. i can see making twine for my garden this way too. so many uses and unfortunately so much plastic!
    Plard , I love that !
    .-= Terica´s last blog ..Wow ,how time passes when you are having Fun… =-.



Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Plastic bags + Crochet = Plochet?…

    So I discovered “plarn” about a week ago, and was instantly interested. I mean, there’s all these plastic bags laying around with no real use other than taking up space and using as a garbage bag for the bathroom trash basket. We were just recycli…

  2. […] of plastic bags from our porch (enclosed, used for storage – not the homey kind with a swing) and made plarn and then made a bag loosely following hakucho’s big bag pattern – this is what I […]

  3. […] will also 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 […]

  4. […] from cutting the bags into strips. I offer a picture tutorial on how to make the plastic bag yarn here. The free crochet pattern for my net market bag is found here. Thank you.” Lisa Spinelli presents […]

  5. […] is a drop in the bucket but I went out and spun some plastic yarn AKA “plarn” as per their directions. They have tons of projects you can make out of plarn, such as the dishcloth pictured […]

  6. […] In case you are new to crafting with plarn or plastic bag yarn, I also have a few tutorial found here if you need to know how to make your own plarn.” AdmirableIndia.com presents Trip to Kanyakumari: […]

  7. […] with recycled plastic bags is also known as plarn. If you need to know how to make plarn, check out this picture tutorial. You can crochet this gift bag using plarn with this free […]

  8. […] -Â two different sites do a pretty good job of explaining. This one has better pictures while this one has more pictures… for the two types of learners in all of us. Once you slice and link one […]

  9. […] instructions-for-cutting-plastic-bags-creating-recycled-plastic bag yarn […]

  10. […] learn how to make PLARN and find or make your own patterns, the instructions with clear images are here.  Check it […]

  11. […] Instructions for cutting bags and making plastic yarn […]

  12. […] learned to make the plarn from My Recycled Bags. I searched all over, but these instructions seemed to be the easiest to follow. I also watched […]

  13. […] It’s plastic yarn and right here is: How to make Plarn. […]

  14. […] learn how to make PLARN and find or make your own patterns, the instructions with clear images are here.  Check it […]

  15. […] so I’m going to give it a go. I will probably use a similar (if not that exact) pattern. This website has the best instructions I’ve found thus […]

  16. A New Use for Plastic Bags | Cheeky Maiden Soap Co. Tip of the Week says:

    […] This site gives step by step (with photos!) instructions on how to make a “yarn” out of your old bags and weave them into a new one! […]

  17. […] plastic yarn, or “plarn”.  GooseFlesh blog has very good instructions and pictures, My Recycled Bags is another good sourceand has many good articles about green […]

  18. […] savers/scrubbies: Use this pattern with plarn and save soap and the environment. Once empty of soap, the ’saver’ becomes a reusable […]

  19. […] bag basically consists of two large granny squares crocheted out of plarn with a 9 mm hook. I then crocheted the two squares together, went around the top a few times to […]

  20. […] is made using recycled plastic bags which have been repurposed into plarn or plastic bag yarn. Here is a picture tutorial to show you the step-by-step process to making plarn. What better way to celebrate Earth Day than […]

  21. […] 1. Turn your plastic bags into plarn: I like this simple YouTube video and these step-by-step instructions. […]

  22. […] 1. Turn your plastic bags into plarn: I like this simple YouTube video and these step-by-step instructions. […]

  23. […] har jag förstÃ¥tt att det finns ett liv efter detta även för mina plastkassar. Här fÃ¥r du lära dig hur du gör garn av dina gamla plastkassar. Vad man ska göra med garnet? Fortsätt läsa här sÃ¥ lär du finna […]

  24. […] of what to do with all my white plastic bags. I knew I wanted to transform them into “plarn” and do a crochet project. The problem: white plastic bags are ugly. I don’t care what […]

  25. […] in making your own bags? Check out this guide  on making your own bag  that Valerie passed along for a tutorial on getting […]

  26. […] 11. Balene II size P – This is sort of half way between Boye and Bates shapes. I don’t love it but it’s perfect for plarn. […]

  27. […] Here you will find instructions on how to create the plastic yarn. […]

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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!

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