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How to Make Plarn

Updated on September 12, 2014

PLARN = P(lastic) YARN

Plarn is the newest craze in eco-friendly crocheting! You can make your own plarn quickly and easily after reading this tutorial. Use up all those plastic grocery bags you have piling up (you know you've got enough extras stashed!), and turn them into cute projects, such as these adorable plarn amigrumi birds!

Different kinds of bags will form different colored plarn, (i.e.: yellow from Dollar General, blue from water softener bags, etc.) You can even use the plastic mesh bags that vegetables come in.

Making plarn is easy and fun! Grab some bags and let's get started...

Photo credit: mapleb4

Getting Your Bag in Shape!

Lay your bag flat

Smooth all the wrinkles out, and put the bag as close as you can to the shape it was in when it was new.

Fold bag

Fold the bag in half, (so that you'll have a shorter section to cut across).

Smooth and line up

This part is easiest if you have a cutting mat with 1-inch marks to guide you.

Remove bag top

Cut an even edge, taking the top of the bag off. (You won't be using the handles.)


You can throw the top away, or save it for stuffing if you're making amigrumi.

Cut off the bottom, too.

Try to cut so that you have an even number of inches of bag left. It's easier if the length is not a fraction.

Did you end up with a rectangle?

Here's what it should look like by now. After the ends were gone, I ended up with 14 inches of useable bag.

Time to Make the Slices!

Take off a 1-inch strip

Using your cutting mat as a guide, cut a 1-inch strip. (If you don't have a rotary cutter, you can mark with a pen and cut with scissors.)

Keep cutting off strips

One inch at a time...

Do the whole rectangle

I started with 14 inches, so I got 14 strips.

Plarn Storage Tip!

Store your plarn at *this* stage...

It's easy to stack right now, while it's flat. If you let the pieces get unfolded, it'll be much bulkier!

Assembling Your Plarn Strips!

Start with two strips...

Unfold them all the way...

Overlap one of them over the other...

Start pulling one through the other...

Then pull a little tighter...

And a little tighter...

Until all the slack is gone!

(The knot isn't big enough to impede your work later on.)

Roll your plarn into a ball - Store it *INSIDE* a box or other container! Don't leave it out where pets or children can get to it before you use it.

Crochet With Your Plarn!

Use an "N" crochet hook, and crochet as you normally would.

Here's a base chain I made

It's 19 chains long.

Then I added a row of 16 double crochet stitches

(That's "dc in 3rd ch from hook, then dc in each ch; total 16", if you're following along.)

Then a row of single crochets

That's "ch 1, then sc in each dc; total 16".

Then another row of singles, before I ran out of plarn

Again, "ch 1, then sc in each sc; total 16".

All this was from the 14 strips you saw me make.

What Can You Make With Plarn??

Here are some ideas to get you started using plarn. 20 project ideas!

Interesting Plarn Stuff from Amazon...

Plarn is great for crafts of all sorts; hats, amiguri, tote bags, pot scrubbies, weather-proof decor, etc.

What do you think?

Will you try (or have you tried) plarn?

This lens is part of the Jenga Tower 3 Challenge!

I am the 28th block!

Squidoo Angel Blessed on November 27, 2011.

Squidoo Angel Blessed on November 27, 2011.
Squidoo Angel Blessed on November 27, 2011.

Tell me about your experience with plarn. Have you tried it?

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    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

      This is so cool! Pinned to my upcycled crafts board.

    • malena10 profile image

      malena10 5 years ago

      I have not yet, but here are simple intoduction and tips to do it!

    • casquid profile image

      casquid 5 years ago

      Not yet, but you have given me something to get going on. Thanks!

    • Barbara2659 profile image

      Barbara2659 5 years ago

      Yes, there are several uses for plarn, I keep all my plastic bags from different stores,all different colors and use them to make all kinds of items.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      My mom had us weave placemats out of plarn (bread bags) as a kid. Fun stuff!

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      It does look like a neat way to make another use of those plastic grocery bags. Crocheted together they look like they would be very strong and thats a good thing. :)

    • profile image

      mumsgather 5 years ago

      My goodness. This is amazing. I've never heard of plarn before this. This definitely deserves an angel blessing.

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      Wow, How have I never heard of plarn? Great recycling project! One question: Can the plarn be dyed? Or did they just use colored bags in the pictures where the projects are colorful? Great tutorial! SquidAngel Blessed!

    • profile image

      moonlitta 5 years ago

      We've got tonsof them. Just need someone to do all the cutting for me:)

    • profile image

      motorpurrr 5 years ago

      I once saw a lady on TV making the plastic bags into big grocery bags. I love this idea, but soon in this state there may not be any for long. They already banned them in Seattle. It is sad business for the plastic bag makers, but a boom for the ones that make the bigger reusable bags. I have been stashing the plastic bags incase I learn to do this. LOL

    • profile image

      Terrie_Schultz 5 years ago

      I haven't tried it, but it's a really cool idea!

    • amkatee profile image

      amkatee 5 years ago

      Yes I tried it. It was ok. I wasn't that happy with it. I really think I need a big hook. I want to try my hand at a mat with it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My mother used to make hats and bags from plarn. Wayyyy better than filling landfills with them (although I recycle, not everyone does). I have an itch to make something

    • Showpup LM profile image

      Showpup LM 5 years ago

      I have never done this before but as an avid crocheter, I can't wait to try. Fabulous detailed photos and directions. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • NYtoSCimjustme profile image

      NYtoSCimjustme 6 years ago

      Thank You for visiting my pages, it gave me the opportunity to come and learn something new!

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 6 years ago from Kansas

      Forgot to mention my squid angel blessing for the detailed instruction!

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 6 years ago from Kansas

      Great eco-friendly way to use those shopping bags that collect in my utility room closet. Thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 6 years ago

      Never heard of this before. What ever will they think of next. Great instructive lens.

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      My sister married 35 years ago and I guess we were quite ahead of our time then in using recylced materials in crafts. We used grocery bags to make her wedding flower heart for the front of the car, and matching flowers to decorate all the wedding cars. They were red and white bags so the flowers came out really pretty.

    • profile image

      GrowWear 6 years ago

      Great way to recycle. Haven't tried it, but if I were to, this would certainly be my how-to guide for making plarn.

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      great lens - Angel blessed and featured on my summer reading lens.

    • emmaklarkins profile image

      emmaklarkins 6 years ago

      This is such a cool idea! Great way to reuse materials.

    • profile image

      blanckj 6 years ago

      I haven't tried it, but I used to do a lot of sewing and crafts when I was younger. It might be a great idea for my grandmother. Thanks for sharing and putting together such an instructive lens.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      ~blessed by a squid angel~

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      I have never even heard of it before!

    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 6 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      LOL I never would have guessed plarn was Plastic Yarn, I thought it might be something to eat. I know the use of plastic from the time I studied Textile Art and History, we used to weave with it and that was in the sixties of the last century. Really enjoyed your lens.