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How to Make Yarn from Plastic

AKA: Plarn!

By Taylor InmanPublished 2 years ago 3 min read

Plastic yarn, or Plarn, is a material used by crafty DIYers and recyclers for some time. It’s easily available (since it's made from plastic bags) and made quickly with just a few steps in a couple of different methods and can be used to make all sorts of useful things or cool decorations. People online have created bags, laundry baskets, purses, placemats or wall tapestries, and more!

In this article, in just a few short steps, I’ll show you a couple of ways to make it, and talk about some more of the cool projects you can make from it when you’re done!

Method 1 – the Slit Skirt Method

First, you will want to flatten out your plastic bags so that they look like this, and where you can easily slice off the top handles. You’ll need to tuck the sides of the bag inward and flatten it out to do so – it helps to tape down the handles with a bit of scotch tape.

Next, cut parallel lines from the bottom to the top, stopping about an inch or so from the edge of the bag. The thicker your ribbons, the thicker and stronger the yarn – it's recommended an inch or two for regular plarn and three or four for plarn intended for heavier crafts like baskets.

From here, unfold the plastic bag and make diagonal cuts from the end of one ribbon to the start of the next ribbon, in order to create a seamless single ribbon.

After this, you’re done! You can then wrap the ribbon around a cardboard tube or strip for storage, and then go ahead and use it for whatever projects you’ve got planned!

For connecting multiple strands together, check out the construction method below for a simple and easy knot to tie that will help you connect multiple strands of your plarn together.

Method 2 – Creating and Tying Together Individual Strips of Plarn

Following this diagram, you can create a series of complete loops and then thread them all together using a basic knot in order to create a single continuous strand of plarn.

So, starting with the bag folded and the insides tucked like the first picture of the first method, fold it in half length-wise twice, and then cut perpendicular to your folds using the thickness you’d like your plarn to be. From here, overlap two ribbon ends such that you can loop them back through one another, forming a knot in the center. Pull this tight but not tight enough to stretch or tear the plastic, and then repeat until you’ve reached the desired strand length you want!

And voila! You have plarn! Now go and crochet or knit or make some things out of recycled plastic, you DIY maestro!

I learned about this unique way of re-using those pesky plastic bags stuffed inside another plastic bag under the cupboard while doing research into recycling and upcycling projects.

From things like rugs, purses, pillows, water bottle holders, to hats or whole outfits. If you can knit or crochet it, you can make it out of plarn; If you can’t knit or crochet (like myself), you can braid it into ropes and then weave the ropes together to create a basket, or more simple designs and patterns.

Websites like Pinterest and Etsy offer or sell templates or patterns for creating these crafty projects, and more can be found fairly easily with a search online. I would recommend also searching for regular crochet or knitting patterns, or looking into basket weaving techniques that you can use with the braided or thicker strands of plarn that you’ve made.

I hope this taught you something new, and helped you find a use for something that would just be lying around or going to waste otherwise! Until next time, make on!


About the Creator

Taylor Inman

I'm a Computer Engineering major who enjoys reading, writing, fitness, and Crafts, and who occasionally writes stuff that can be published. Most is opinion, some is fact, a good majority is fiction - unless otherwise specified. Enjoy!

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