Have you ever heard of plarn? It is a made-up word that combines “plastic” and “yarn”.
plastic + yarn = PLARN
It is often made from plastic shopping bags. It is a great way to recycle/upcycle something that so often ends up in either our environment (oceans, lakes, streets, etc.) or landfills.
The uses for plarn are innumerable. Just check out some of these creative things people have come up with and listed for sale on Etsy.com:
Key chains, tote bags, placemats/chargers, bedrolls, decorative baskets for storage, toilet paper and plant covers, beach bags, produce bags and more…Even toys for ferrets!
Side Note: Bedrolls made from plarn are highly appreciated donations to homeless shelters. If you are looking for a community service project this could be a great idea. In one project you are recycling, provided a creative outlet (crocheting, knitting, weaving), and helping less fortunate members of your community.
How to Make Plarn:
Making plarn is really easy. All you really need, other than extra plastic bags, is a pair of scissors and a ruler. Though a self-healing mat and rolling fabric cutter do make it go a little faster.
Simple start by straightening out your first bag.
Then, fold it in half “hotdog style” again and again until it is just wide enough for your scissors to cut through it in one or two snips.
Next, cut off the handles. For this project they are useless, however they can have other uses (as stuffing for stuffed animals or pet toys – like Benchley’s Sharkey – it adds a crinkle sound to those kinds of projects).
Next cut the bag into one-inch strips. When you get to the very bottom that part can be added to the discarded or saved for later handles.
Now you should have a 13 rings of plastic bag (give or take a few). To put them all together with minimal knots, simply put the end of one ring through the middle of another ring. Take the end you put through through its own loop on the other end and pull it tight. Repeat the process until you have the desired length of plarn you want…this will probably entail cutting more bags into rings.
I just reread the tying process I just typed and it sounds a bit confusing. And I don’t know how to fix it. It is one of those things in life that are easier to do than to tell someone how to do it. Fear not, if you are confused I have made a short video to better explain the process of making loop knots.
I find it easier to use a self-healing mat that is market with measurements and a rolling fabric cutter to speed this manufacturing process along.
Here is a full video of the process from start to finish:
After you have made your plarn you can simply use it like normal yarn! It is easier to crochet with it if you use larger hook sized (6mm+).
You can make your plarn all in the same color or you can make multi-colored plarn, it’s all up to you.
Looking for an easy side hustle? You can make and sell balls of plarn on websites like Etsy.com for a little extra money while reducing waste at the same time.