Plarn – I hope I didn’t disappoint

Plarn, or yarn made out of plastic bags, has been on my to-do list for a fair while now, ever since I read an article on it in Simply Knitting. The problem was that around that time the plastic bags that I got regularly all went bio-degradable, great for the planet but not so good for making things with.

Charity Bags

After several times of emptying out the bottom of my post box of handfuls of charity bags I suddenly realised that these would make great Plarn. After a thorough read to see if they mentioned bio-degradable (they didn’t) I started saving. Then, last week when I was looking for a project to take away with me on holiday I decided to investigate my stash. I had 21 bags (or maybe sacks would be a better term as they are bigger than your average ‘bag’.).

Making Plarn

So how do you make Plarn? I had no idea and so turned to Google and came up with this page which I found easy to follow. As I had no handles on my bags I simply had to cut the bottom off, cut the bags into strips and then join the ‘circles’ together. It is not at all hard and I quickly made a large ball which I thought would surely be enough. (There are plenty of YouTube videos to watch if that is your preferred method of learning.)

Plarn with a tea light holder for scale.

Project

I knew that I wanted to make a bag and again went to google for a pattern. I found an amazing website called  MyRecycledBags.com that had two bags that I liked the look of:

A reusable Plarn Produce Bag       Recycled Net Market Bag

Of the two I prefered the second of the two and so this is the one I started!

Here it is in its finished glory!

Over the last couple of days I have been using it and have got several comments on it. It seems that I am not the only one who has it on my to-do list. Some wanted to touch it and are, like me, surprised with the finish. I am not sure if you can see from this picture but I ran out of ‘red’ bags (bags with red writing on) and for the top and handles used ‘green’ ones. I like this effect and would definitely use this as a design feature in future projects.

Using Plarn

Plarn is the ideal material to work with on a beach as it doesn’t matter what happens to it. The plarn cannot get damaged. I found it quite hard on the hands and it is not a project to do in a quiet room as it rustles!! Having said that I am really impressed with the way it finishes. I really wasn’t sure if I would like it at all but it works into something I was really surprised about. It looses that rustle texture and becomes quite smooth. I actually quite like it. I also think that it will be fairly strong which I was also not expecting.

The future with Plarn?

I will be doing more work with plarn. I have been very impressed with it and will experiment with different hook sizes (I used 10mm) and maybe thinner strips. I have already mentioned the colour variation. I am thinking that a smaller bag for phone and keys with a long handle would be useful ….

Anyway I have already had bags handed to me so I doubt that it will be very long before I have enough for a new project! :) (I used about 16 in this project.)

I am now going to link up with Handmade Monday over on Handmade Harbour and catch up with what everyone else has been up to this week. Do join me.

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41 thoughts on “Plarn – I hope I didn’t disappoint

  1. raphaele42

    Great recycling project. It looks sturdy enough, same question as Claireabellemakes: would you use of as a shopping bag. I can’t wait to see other designs and patterns you will come up with.

    Reply
  2. Natalie

    ooooooh clever! i love this project and the results look fantastic! i expect you’ll have a few people putting in requests for them soon if you haven’t already :) x

    Reply
  3. ClairLou

    You’ve definitely inspired me, summer is just around the corner (Oz) and we’ll be spending a lot of time at the beach. A nice alternative to sandcastles.

    Reply
  4. Patty

    I looked at your photos and thought the bags were made of rag yarns… now, I’m a trash lover :-D The bag is simply awesome. I’m definitely going to make one. Thanks for the all the tips.

    Reply
  5. Susie

    Thank you for this! I have wanted to try this (I don’t knit, so it has stayed on the back burner). It just seems like such a good idea. I use my plastic bags for other things too, but over time get a build up of them so I look out for good crafts for them.

    Reply
  6. healthyfrenchie

    Nice bag! It’s a great recycling idea and makes the perfect shopping bag…
    I don’t have a lot of plastic bags in my house and most of them are green… But I’ll keep this in mind :)

    Reply
  7. Bits and Bobs Crafts

    Looks good1 Try cutting the bags into spirals and then making your own drop spindle and spinning it, makes really good strong string for crocheting sculptural things. Have been donated a load of roadworks tape plarn in red and white and itching to get going but have some serious work to do first :-)

    Reply
  8. byhook

    This is uber cool! I’m clock-watching now to get home and have a go at making my own plarn. Thanks for sharing :)
    PS. Thanks to your posts featuring Handmade Harbour, I am now addicted to Handmade Monday. Tuesday at Day Job will never be the same…

    Reply
  9. Becca

    They look so good! I tried plarn once and it was an epic failure on my part. These are so cute and make me believe that it is possible to create something functional out of plastic bags.

    Reply
  10. Divine Debris

    I love the bags! They’re fantastic. I can’t wait to try it out myself. Considering that it’s a pretty awesome idea, you really don’t see these out all the much, at least not where I live. Fabulous job, I love the pattern.

    Reply

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