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Plarn Laundry Basket

Posted on May 1, 2012

I’m happy to present my crocheted laundry basket. This laundry basket project is made from recycled plastic bags or plarn. In case you are new to the idea of crafting with plastic bags, here is my picture tutorial showing how to make the plastic yarn from the plastic retail bags.

This laundry basket project has been a huge undertaking. It is the largest recycled plastic bag project that I have ever crocheted. It has well over 150 bags in the finished product. When I set out to crochet a laundry basket, I wanted a large enough bag that I could use for a clothes hamper as well as a carrying bag for transporting the laundry to and from a laundromat.

The basket has a round base and while it looks funneled-shaped at the top, its really round in it’s overall shape. The photo above has 6 large beach towels in the bag and as you can see it still has room for more. You can also roll down the top and handles when using it for a hamper so it stands up if the basket isn’t full.

Plarn Laundry Basket Pattern

Materials needed:
Approx. 150+ white plastic grocery bags for main bag and
20 grey plastic bags for stripe and trim

Hook: N (9 mm) U.S. size metal hook
Description: Plarn Laundry Basket Bag
Bag measured flat: 22″ wide and 28″ long with 14″ strap and
22″ tall standing with 17″ wide bottom

Rnd 1
Using a magic circle, Sc 6 times into circle with white plarn. Don’t join but work in rounds unless advised otherwise. Use a stitch marker to mark rounds.
Rnd 2
Work 2 Sc in ea st. (12)
Rnd 3
Work *1 Sc in next st, 2 Sc in next st*. Repeat between * around.
Rnd 4
Work *1 Sc in next 2 sts, 2 Sc in next st*. Repeat between * around.
Rnd 5
Work *1 Sc in next 3 sts, 2 Sc in next st*. Repeat between * around.
Rnd 6
Work *1 Sc in next 4 sts, 2 Sc in next st*. Repeat between * around.
Rnd 7
Work *1 Sc in next 5 sts, 2 Sc in next st*. Repeat between * around.
Rnd 8
Work *1 Sc in next 6 sts, 2 Sc in next st*. Repeat between * around.
Rnd 9
Work *1 Sc in next 7 sts, 2 Sc in next st*. Repeat between * around.
Rnd 10
Work *1 Sc in next 8 sts, 2 Sc in next st*. Repeat between * around.
Rnd 11
Work *1 Sc in next 9 sts, 2 Sc in next st*. Repeat between * around.
Rnd 12
Work *1 Sc in next 10 sts, 2 Sc in next st*. Repeat between * around.
Rnd 13
Work *1 Sc in next 11 sts, 2 Sc in next st*. Repeat between * around.
Rnd 14
Work *1 Sc in next 12 sts, 2 Sc in next st*. Repeat between * around.
Rnd 15
Work *1 Sc in next 13 sts, 2 Sc in next st*. Repeat between * around.
Rnd 16
Work *1 Sc in next 14 sts, 2 Sc in next st*. Repeat between * around.
Rnd 17
Work 6 increases (inc’s) over the round evenly between Sc’s to make it look round. (My base was starting to get points so I added inc’s to even it out and the bottom more round.)
Rnd 18 – 20
Work Sc in ea st and only work an inc as need to keep the base round and flat. (I worked 3 inc’s on rnd here and there as needed)

Rnd 21 – 27
Sc in ea st around. (At the end of round 27 my base was about 17 inches wide.)
Rnd 28 – 50
Ch 1, Hdc in same st, Hdc in ea st around. Again don’t join but just continue working in rounds to create a seamless basket but use a stitch marker to mark the beginning of each round.
End with Sl St into last st with the white plarn to begin grey stripe at the side edge of basket.
Rnd 51 – 54
Join grey plarn and Ch 1 at side of basket where you just ended with white plarn. Hdc in ea st around. Join each round with a Sl St into beginning Ch-1. FO with grey plarn.
Rnd 55 – 60
Join white plarn and Ch 1. Hdc in ea st around. Continue working with rounds now without joining.
Rnd 61 (Handle)
Starting at side of bag Hdc in next 18 sts, Ch 28, skip 22 sts at center. Hdc in each remaining sts on front.
Tip: Adjust your stitch count should you have more or less stitches on each side of bag. I had 58 sts on front side so 18 sts on each side of front between handle opening with 22 stitches skipped at front center.
Repeat for the other side’s handle. Check your handles to make sure the openings match and the st counts are even on both sides of the basket for your handles.
Rnd 62
Hdc in ea st around and Sc evenly around the handle chain (approx. 30 Sc’s) then Hdc in ea st around to the other side’s handle chain and Sc around the handle chain. Hdc in ea remaining sts of round.
Rnd 63 – 65
Hdc in ea st to handle. Sc in ea st of handle and then Hdc in ea st of basket until you come to the other side’s handle. Sc in ea st of handle and Hdc in ea remaining sts of the side. On the last 2 sts of rnd 65, Sl St in last few sts to end white plarn evenly at side of bag. FO with white.
Rnd 66
Join grey plarn at side and Ch 1. Sc in ea st around and in ea st of handle. Continue around and end with a Sl St into beginning Ch-1.

Fasten off and weave ends under on inside of the bag.

If you have any questions or find discrepancies in this pattern, please email me using contact tab above.

Ch – Chain
Ea – Each
FO – Finish Off
Hdc – Half Double Crochet
Inc – Increase
Plarn – Plastic Bag Yarn
Rnd – Round
Sc – Single Crochet
Sk – Skip
Sl St – Slip Stitch
St – Stitch

This pattern is copyrighted by Cindy of My Recycled Bags {dot com} and may only be used for private individual use. No commercial sales or use is permitted. Links to this pattern are acceptable. ©2012

****Please do not copy my patterns on your blog site or post my patterns on Internet sites. I do not allow my patterns to be republished without expressed written permission. Posting of my patterns, without written permission is in violation of my copyrights and is content theft.

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30 Responses to “Plarn Laundry Basket”

  1. Snowcatcher
    May 01, 2012

    Bravo! This is a magnificent use of plastic bags! Attractive, too!

  2. Cara Louise
    May 02, 2012

    Wow- really nice Cindy! that’s a lot of bags!
    I tried one of your smaller plarn projects last weekend and couldn’t get the hang of working with it, not sure what I was doing wrong, I think I’m so used to working with skinny crochet thread and tiny steel hooks that this just felt like working with an elephant to me! I’ll try again another day.

  3. Millie Smith
    May 02, 2012

    Love all your patterns , have made several of them and gave them as gifts, I also made a pattern of my own, of cancer ribbons out of plarn and they were great also., as my husband is fighting cancer. As well as several others in our family. thanks for sharing all your great patterns. It was hard to work with at first, but now love them. also made my daughter a mat for her porch, she uses it all the time.

  4. Very nice and useful bag, good job!

  5. Laura Conklin
    May 24, 2012

    Your idea for the plarn laundry basket is fantastic! I’m quite impressed. I have made some smaller totes with plarn, but now I would like to attempt this project. Great idea!

  6. melissa haims
    Jul 12, 2012

    amazing reuse!
    fabulous design.

  7. carol
    Jul 19, 2012

    this one is a keeper! i don’t know if i have the patience to roll that many balls of plarn tho! did you use regular supermarket quality or a heavier caliber of bag? actually looks easy to carry…

  8. Cindy
    Jul 19, 2012

    @Carol – Thanks for all the comments and I did use just regular retail plastic bags for this laundry bag. It did take a lot of bags but it was a wonderful way to recycle a bunch of white bags.

  9. Michelle
    Jul 23, 2012

    I love it! I am always looking for ideas for new plarn projects!!

  10. lynne sullivan
    Aug 22, 2012

    i love the looks of this but i am just finishing a t-shirt quilt for one daughter and a sunflower afghan
    for my other and developed severe tendonitis. i really want to try this but with a new
    granddaughter coming in november ALL other projects like this will be put in my library of
    patterns to try as soon as my hands are once again free.

  11. Mickie
    Sep 13, 2012

    Very impressive.
    What is a “magic circle”?

  12. Darlene Blackmon
    Sep 15, 2012

    I have never heard of a “Magic Circle”. What is a magic circle? I have been crocheting for many,many years and never heard of that. Could you explain it to me? I am really interested in your plastic bag crochet items. I think they are great and a really good way of recycling. Love it!!!

  13. Cindy
    Sep 15, 2012

    Darlene and Mickie –A magic circle is just a way to make a ring that slips closed so you can tighten it later for a smaller hole. Here is a you-tube for making a magic circle.

    Here is a link to another tutorial also.

    Best wishes and thank you both for your interest in my recycled bags.

  14. Paula Streit
    Apr 11, 2013

    i have been making these plarn bags for a while now, and my friends love them. Now a laundry basket, just hope that you don’t a college bound child, it would have to be a lot bigger, lol

  15. Linda Erickson
    Apr 12, 2013

    I am very interested in this project, but I have never heard of using plastic bags in this method. How do you prepare the bags? Do you cut them into rings or stips? How wide should the strips be and how do you connect them together. Is there any yarn used in the project. I have been crocheting for years but only recently learned how to connect different yarns together without a knot. If you do this repeatedly with short pieces of plastic bag, will that weaken the integrity of the finished project?

  16. Paulette Tremblay
    Apr 12, 2013

    Hi I made two of my own bags and have photos on my FB. I made up my patterns too. I didn’t keep track of how many bags. I just looped them together and made my own yarn Yukon’s Air North flight attendants and Vanc security were very impressed how I made them. Was making mine in the airport while waiting. Funny watching people watch what you are making out of bags recycled. I even use old thin sheets. Mind you, these are heavier but make rugs instead. Great toy box too!

  17. Cindy
    Apr 12, 2013

    @Linda — I use this plastic-bag making method for making my strips. I cut them 1 inch wide and connect them using the looping method. There is no yarn in this bag. I have also emailed you to help you further. Please just reply if you need further help working this pattern.

  18. Judy
    Apr 12, 2013

    Making the large laundry basket; but all I have is a HUGE flat circle.
    When does it start to turn? I have made smaller ones and they came out great!


  19. Susan Siminski
    Apr 12, 2013

    I saw this picture on AllFreeCrochet and was fascinated that this is made by plastic bags! I never heard of that before. In your reply to Linda Erickson I was confused when you say you connect the strips by the looping method. What is that and how do I do it? I can’t wait to try this, seeing as I have WAY to many plastic bags around here. Good for recycling too. Will send a picture of finished product.

  20. Cindy
    Apr 13, 2013

    @Susan — The looping method is what I call the joining of the plastic bag strips as shown in this plarn making tutorial. You don’t tie knots with the strips and they are joined together by intertwining the loops and pulling them tight. Let me know if you need any help as you work the pattern.

  21. Beverly
    Apr 21, 2014

    I have a question, some of these bags are made to start to decompose right a way, and the heat speeds this up. will this compromise how long the bags will last. I know they won’t last forever but will they breakdown right a way?

  22. Cindy
    Apr 22, 2014

    @Beverly — My plastic retail bags don’t break down very fast. You need to make sure you are not using bio-degradable ones as they have in some areas. Those do break down quickly. I have been using my laundry bag here for nearly 2 years now and no break down at all. If its in the sun that may cause it to break down faster though.

    I did have this bag break down and I finally had to retire it. But it lasted 6 years. Good luck and write back if I can help further.

  23. Aly
    Jun 04, 2014

    Is there a trick to getting the bottom flatter? Mine has started to roll in (on round 18). I’m guessing/hoping it wont be that big of a deal (since its going to be a bag anyways, not that big of a deal if its rolling) but I wanted to know if there was something I could do to try and prevent that from happening.

  24. Aly
    Jun 15, 2014

    For rounds 28+, am I supposed to chain 1 for each round or just the first time?

  25. Cindy
    Jun 16, 2014

    Aly – You only need to chain 1 for round 28 and after that just work in the round without joining. You can use a stitch marker if that helps so you know where the round ends but otherwise just crochet around and around. Let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll be glad to help.

  26. Patti
    Jun 30, 2015

    This is so great! I haven’t started yet but I plan on making my first one for my daughter-in-law. She thinks it would be great for the kids beach toys!

  27. Cindy
    Jul 01, 2015

    Patti – Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. Best wishes on your laundry basket project!

  28. Tiffany
    Dec 20, 2015

    Just wanted to say “Thank-you” for this tutorial. I’m a stay at home mom on a limited budget and with Christmas on the way I have been trying to find an *affordable* way to keep my one-year old’s toys contained that would accommodate the influx of toys sure to come. I had heard of plain before, but had never tried it and wasn’t sure how sturdy it would be. I had to modify the plans a bit for an even *larger* basmet than you made. First, my only hook is an H hook. Second, I just continued the pattern (adding one more sc stitch between the two sc in a stitch (as in rnds 3-16) and it has stayed relatively flat (some rippling, oh well). For example, I am currently at sc in each stitch for 30 stitches, then 2 sc in the next, repeat. Next end will be sc in 31 stitches and 2 sc in the next. Once I’ve decided the bottom is large enough I’ll start working it upwards.using some extra thick plastic bags from menards that I saved specifically for.this part for added.strength at the seam. Once the base is tall enough (if I don’t run out of bags), the next step will be to place some pockets around the outside for smaller toys (wood puzzle pieces, play food, and eventually colors.. When she’s old enough to not color on the walls!) This has also inspired me to make a square-version that I can build off of (3 or 4 square baskets together, similar to a laundry sorter only shorter and make a lid for her room. (The basket is for the living room.) It’ll all depend on how sturdy the base walls are. I’ve heard people crocheting around the “scraps” to increase rigidity, but we’ll see how it goes! Thanks again!

  29. Cindy
    Dec 28, 2015

    Tiffany – Thanks for the feedback and info on your recycled bag. Using an H hook is hard with plarn so if you can get a bigger hook you will find it easier for sure.

    This pattern does have a large base and flattens out until you start the latter rounds. At row 27 my base was 17inches wide. When you start the Hdc’s it will start to shape up and this is a big bag which takes a lot of plastic sacks. Just ask friends and stores if you can take from their recycle bins to get more bags. Let me know how it comes out for you. I sent you an email too.

  30. Vimala
    Aug 20, 2017

    Thank u for d free pattern. I have already made a laundry bag. Now started making this basket

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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!