It’s in the Bag: How to Make Plarn

You may be wondering, what is plarn? Plarn is plastic yarn. It’s true! Plarn is made using plastic shopping bags, and I don’t know about you, but I have a ton of those around the house. I’m always looking for a way to reuse these bags that are literally overflowing from my plastic bag bin. And here it is: Plarn can be used to make a variety of items, such as rugs, reusable grocery totes, and even hats or shoes! But before you can get to work crocheting or knitting something with plarn, first you must make it.

Plarn Grocery Bag - CraftsyUpcycled Plarn Grocery Tote via Craftsy member Petals to Picot

Here’s how to make plarn:

Materials needed:

  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Cutting mat or towel to protect your tabletop
  • Sharp scissors


Plastic Bag Laying on Cutting Mat

Step 1:

Lay the plastic bag out on your cutting mat, folding in the sides, making sure to get it as flat as possible. Don’t worry too much if there are a lot of wrinkles in the plastic. That won’t be noticeable once it is plarned.

Plastic Bag without Top - How to Make Plarn

Step 2:

Remove the bag handles by cutting as closely and as evenly along the top as possible.

Cut Bottom off Bag - How to Make Plarn

Step 3:

Cut the bottom half inch of the bag off.

Plarn Process - Cutting Bag into Strips

Step 4:

Cut the bag into approximately 1″ strips.

Plarn in Process- Strip of Plastic Bag

Step 5:

Open one strip of the bag. (It should be a plastic ring now.)

Strips of Plastic Bag - Making Plarn

Step 6:

Open up a second strip of the bag and lay it on top of the first.

Weaving Pieces Together for Plarn

Step 7:

From the top, pull the left loop to the right, and from the bottom, pull the right loop to the left. Pull the ends snug but not so tight that you are stretching or distorting the plastic. This will create a knot and your first length of plarn.

Attaching Strips of Bag - Creating Plarn

Repeat Steps 6 and 7, looping and knotting a new piece of plastic bag until you have a length of plarn that you need for your project.

Pieces of Plarn

I found that I made about 8 to 10 yards of plarn per plastic bag, depending on how thick I was cutting the strips, so keep that in mind you’re making the plarn for your project. However, the great thing about plarn and the way it is made is that if you find you’re running short, all you need to do it cut up another plastic bag and add it to the end of your ball of plarn.

And as always, before starting any new project, be sure to do a gauge swatch. You’ll want to get a good sense of what kind of plastic fabric will be made with the needles you use as well as checking your gauge if you are using a pattern.

Let’s take a look at how some creative Craftsy members used plarn for their knitting and crochet projects!

Shoes Crocheted with Plarn Plarn Crocheted Slippers by barbertondaisy


Hat Out of Plarn Plarn Summer Hat by nellypumpkin

Mat Made with Plarn - Craftsy Member ProjectPlarn Mat by 6or8or12

Plarn Coin Purse with Flower  Plarn Coin Purse by nellypumpkin

See, there are many creative uses for plarn! Feeling inspired to try your own plarn project? Try it out with the plarn-friendly Grocery Bag pattern by designer KPLee15. Or beat the winter blues by crocheting the Ruffle Brim Sun Hat pattern by Rcorneglio. This casual summer hat uses about 200 yards of plarn (roughly about 20 plastic bags).

Tomorrow on the Craftsy blog, we’ll share 5 easy sweater patterns you’ll actually have time to knit!

Have you made plarn before? What did you make?


Neva Moss

On making plarn… I hope you have good luck with one inch strips, but i found them tooo narrow to hold up well…. I make mine a minimum of two, inches wife…holes up far bettet for rugs…

Franni V

Bear in mind when choosing your bags that some supermarkets here in UK have bags designed to biodegrade, and you might want to avoid these!

mary young

Forty plus years ago a Navy wife that I knew was crocheting Wonder Bread wrappers
into circular rugs! Who knew! I always thought that was brilliant. I hope she is still
cutting up her bags as she must have been the Grandma Moses of plastic. It was really
colorful with all the dots. I have also found out that all plastic bags are not created
equal. Some are sturdier than others. So beware. It would be a shame to do all that
work and have a weak part in the project that just falls apart.


I have heard that some bags are now biodegradable, but I don’t know how to tell which are which. Might be a major issue if made into market bags –


The ladies in my retirement community make plarn from grocery bags , each strip is about 2-3 inches wide. We use this to crochet 4×6 foot sleeping mats for the homeless in Baton Rouge. Because the mats are waterproof, people are not lying directly on the ground.


I crocheted my first plarn bag over the summer. It was so fun and a great way to reuse the, what seems like, millions of plastic bags I have. I used three different colors. I found that making the plarn in itself was pretty cathartic. I’m not usually a crocheter, but I found it easier than knitting a bag.


great project. I usually take my bags to the thrift store, but will get out the old knitting needles and give il a try.


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