Plarn, what the heck is plarn? “Plarn” is just yarn made out of plastic, or plastic bags to be more specific! In just a few minutes you can make a whole spool of plarn- for free!
Upcycling plastic bags means free art supplies…
Whether you’re a teacher or mama- trying to provide your kids with a variety of creative experiences can get expensive. If you’re working with a group of kids those supply costs add up so quickly! Just because you’re working on a budget doesn’t mean you need to limit art experiences to pencil and paper!
With a little creativity you can turn waste items into materials your kids can turn into amazing things.
All you need for this project is a variety of plastic bags and a pair of sharp scissors. We used the super thin cheapie bags from Wal-Mart and the Dollar Store and such. I want to do a trial run of thicker, department store type bags as well, I have a feeling that type will work just as well and produce a nice sturdy plarn!
Let’s make some plarn…
Start by laying a single plastic bag out flat. Cut the the bottom seam off and cut a parallel line across the top of the bag, cutting off the handles.
Open bag up and lay down flat. Fold the bag almost in half, leaving the bottom edge stick out an extra inch or so.
Preparing your plastic bag…
So, if you set this up right you’ll be able to create one long continuous strand of plastic yarn from a single plastic bag. There’s no joining pieces together, just one long spiral cut. This is the exact same process we used to make t-shirt yarn out of old t-shirts! Same folds, same cuts- both yield interesting new materials made from something that would have headed to the landfill!
Start cutting on the fold and cut through just till you cut through the where the first layer stops. You’ll cut through the the spot where the first folded edge stops, but not through the final layer. The plastic will remain connected there.
Watch me cut a plastic bag into plarn…
I’ve tried to provide pictures that thoroughly illustrate the cuts needed to turn your plastic bag into one long continuous piece of plastic yarn. But….nothing compares to having someone show you. Watch the video above to see the specific steps to create your own plarn. It’s not that hard, I promise. Watch me and you’ll be ready to go!
The magic cut…
So this step is the key to creating that one long strand of plastic yarn. Open up the fold so you can clearly see the middle area where the plastic bag is still connected. The basic idea here is that you want to make a diagonal cut from row of cuts to another. This diagonal cut makes a spiral pattern that creates the single strand of “plarn.” Connect each cut the corner one row up and make a cut to connect them.
When you’re all done wind the plarn into a ball or wrap it around a bit of cardboard to keep it from getting tangled.
What do with your plastic yarn….
This plastic bag turned yarn is perfect for any crafting project in which you’d normally use regular yarn. Lesson one- make the plastic yarn. Lesson two- weave, crochet, etc.
Great places to try and use your new endless supply of plastic yarn might be…
Turn a paper plate into a woven bowl with a free printable template!
Go one hundred percent green by using plastic yarn and weaving it on a plastic water bottle base!
Use a free printable template to weave a square basket!
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Fabulous use of a ridiculous product. It has been banned here in Australia. Businesses who provide them now receive a substantial fine if they’re caught providing them. We all take our own re-usable bags to do grocery shopping now. It has reduced the amount of plastic in our environment immensely. Hopefully the USA will follow suit soon. Reducing waste is a global thing.
In the meantime I’m glad people like you are putting wasteful products to great use!! Great idea!!!
Wow, that’s great! It’s wild how behind the times the USA is in terms of lots of these things!
You can also crochet it to make a reuseable produce bag.
I used to know how to crochet but haven’t done it in years! I love that idea!
Just what is the point off yarn that never rots? That will get grubby and dirty and then end ether in land fill or shipped to the 3rd world.
Take the bag back to the supermarket and get them to recycle it
HI Jane- recycling the bags is certainly a great option. This is just one more way to use something that sometimes gets thrown away to make something new.
Plastic is washable. I put my upcycled bag projects in the washing machine when they get dirty and then hang to dry. Do not use the dryer as the plastic may melt. They can also be hand washed and hung to dry.
That’s amazing Belinda! Thanks for the tip!
THank you for the tutorial! This is an awesome alternative. And, once it gets grubby, old, worn out, it can then be returned to the original store for recycling! ????
Thank you Kris! ????