How to Make Plarn (Plastic Yarn)

By Rachel Choi – 58 Comments
Why use yarn when you can have plarn?
Inspired by eco-friendly crafts, I decided to make my first ball of “plarn”. Plarn is plastic yarn. The image to the right is my first proud ball of plarn. The ball contains about 10 plastic grocery bags. You can use plarn to crochet just about anything. To make plarn, all you need is a bunch of old plastic bags and a pair of scissors. Here is how I made it.

Step 1: Lay bag flat


Step 2: Fold bag in half

Step 3: Fold bag in half again

Step 4: Cut off handles and bottom of bag. Discard them into a recycling bin.

Step 5: Cut bag into 1 inch strips. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You can also make thicker or thinner strips if desired. Just remember that thinner strips are more likely to tear.

Step 6: Open two strips and lay one on top of the other

Step 7: Take the loop that is on the bottom and pull it through itself

Step 8: Continue to add more loops to the end as desired

Once you have a nice ball of plarn, you are set to start making your first plarn crochet project!

If you need help making plarn, just leave a comment!

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  1. […] 20 plastic grocery bags, cut into a ball of plarn (How to Make Plarn) Crochet Hook Size G ( 4 mm) Yarn […]

  2. Joyce says:

    Good morning Rachel!

    Using plarn is a great way to use those plastic bags we have under our sinks.
    They also make fun rugs to use under the bbq pit when cooking on your apt
    deck; anywhere u need extra coverage. Easy to make, use and clean…run
    it under water, turn down to dry and its ready to use again.

    Thanks for The Crochet Spot!

  3. […] crochet project to start you off in exploring the world of plarn (plastic yarn). You can use the “How to Make Plarn Tutorial” if you don’t know how to yet! It is fun and a great way to recycle your old plastic grocery […]

  4. Renee says:

    OOOK, Im going to give it a try, Ill E-mail you the results lol

  5. Andrea says:

    I am having problems with my plarn tote bag. I have tried it three different times now, but the bottom piece, which I am crocheting in the round, keeps rolling up on me. It seems like there are too many stitches and it folds over on itself and refuses to lie flat. I don’t want to take it apart for the third time if I might be doing it correctly. Do I just have to block it or something? I’m afraid to keep going and waste too much time if it is never going to lie flat and look like a tote bag! Oh and thanks for this page, it was super easy to learn from your pictures!

    • Rachel says:

      Hey Andrea!

      I’ve never blocked plarn before, but I would definitely try blocking it before taking it out and doing something else. Also if there is a gauge on the pattern you’re using, try to match it. If you are able to contact the designer on the pattern you can ask them if there are any corrections on it, because you never know if there’s an error in it 🙂

      Good luck and let me know how it goes!

    • Diana says:

      When crocheting in a circular design, you will need to add a stich or two randomly in each round to increase the size, or the project will automatically start folding upwards.

  6. Alba says:

    Hello! Fantastic idea. I want to try this project, but I have a doubt. I am a very begginer in the crochet thing. At the ilustration of the Plarn, I observe that the pieces of the plastic bag form a series of loop. My question is how I reduce the plastic so far I can take it with the gauge. Thank you. I am very please with your web site.

    • Rachel says:

      Hey Alba!
      For my patterns I try to cut 1 inch wide strips to make the plarn consistent. Also to help match gauges you may have to try different hook sizes. That’s the thing with plarn though it can be tricky to get the right size so experimenting is key!

  7. Betty says:

    I’ve made several plarn bags. Instead of buying the fabric bags sold in the grocery stores, I made a plarn bag the same size. Now I have 3 of them I take to the grocery store with me. Everyone wants to know where I bought them and are surprised when I say I made them. My sister wants a big bag to take all her stuff to the beach, so she’s getting a very large one for her birthday next month. Here we can get yellow, white and brown plastic bags, so the combinations are all attractive and unique. Plarn is very easy to crochet with, but don’t try bread bags or the black garbage bags, they are very hard to crochet.

  8. […] knew why people used can cozies, but now I know. Here is one that I made for my soda can with plarn (plastic yarn). I’m so proud of how nice and tight the cozy fits on a can. This cozy can also be made with […]

  9. Wanda says:

    Am I seeing this right? The strips are double? You do not sew them together?

    • Rachel says:

      Hey Wanda!
      No sewing needed at all 🙂
      The bags are cut into “loops” that are weaved/knotted together. Let me know if you need help with it.

  10. […] (plastic yarn) – Here is the tutorial: How to Make Plarn (Plastic Yarn). You will need lots of bags (too big of a number to even guess), so keep collecting them as you […]

  11. Roxane says:

    I remember years ago when my grandmother showed me a kitchen rug she made from plarn strips made from bread wrappers (tougher than grocery bags). She braided three strips and then sewed them together in an elongated spiral shape, you know, a traditional braided rug. I think she sewed it together with a yarn needle and thick fishing line. This would require LOTS of plarn strips, but a neat idea.

  12. Tj Low says:

    Hi i think this is a great idea. I am going to use those bags, which are in my way, and make a bathroom rug……………..won’t hurt to try

  13. Cathy says:

    I’ve tried making plarn before but your instruction make way more sense, Thanks !!

    • Gale Harris says:

      I have experimented with crocheting plastic bags for years,as had another reader, and never come up with plarn as easy and uniform as yours looks to be. I want to make a number of items, but the idea of a bag made with bags really appeals, and beach-bags or bathmats would seem perfect for this material. I love the idea of being able to actively recycle all my grocery bags–thank you!

  14. Darla says:

    Is there a pattern for a plarn tote bag?

  15. Tj Low says:

    I cannot remember where i saw a tote bag, but if u enter plastic bag use it should show u the pattern. It is no different than making a long chain and going around it adding stitches as u go around the corners. Or make a rectangle and sew sides together. Good Luck!!!!!

  16. Chris says:

    Thanks so much, Rachel! You give excellent instructions!

  17. Teena says:

    Thankyou Rachel, for showing me how to make plarn! I’ve posted some fotos on my blog of a couple of things things I’ve made with plarn using this method. /thanks

  18. Lissa says:

    I am planning on making my first roll of plarn sometime this week. However, most of our grocery bags are a thicker plastic than the traditional plastic grocery bag. Will that still work? They are red so I think they would look really cool. But I don’t want to waste too much time with them if they are going to be too thick. TIA

  19. […] to make them. In fact, bags tend to be stronger when made with non traditional materials such as plarn (plastic yarn). Try recycling plastic or other materials to crochet your bags. I have lots of free patterns that […]

  20. Sherry Keever says:

    This is too cool. I have so many plastic bags that I’ve gotten from the grocery store and just didn’t know what to do with them. I am looking forward to making my first ball of plarn and trying a couple of projects.

  21. Lanette says:

    Hi Rachel,
    I’m new to
    I think that making
    (almost) anything with Pl(y)arn
    is eco. friendly – now…..
    (after you’ve made a ball of
    Pl(y)arn),how do you utilize a flat piece
    of pl(y)arn like to crochet a project . . . it’s flat
    and not at all round like “yarn”
    How does one twist it and prevent it from UN-twisting!?

    Please advise,

  22. Rachel says:

    Hi Lanette,

    Don’t worry about twisting the plarn or keeping it flat. Use the instructins in this tutorial to make your ball of yarn. Then just crochet with it. The plastic is flexible and will become a nice string.

  23. Tilly says:

    Rachel you are just brilliant!! I joined a few days ago and so impressed by your creativeness. Just luv it!! Gonna try this now!! thanks again 🙂

  24. Linda says:

    Hi , I think your web site is the bomb! the tutorials are great. I learn alot better if I could see how it is done first, I have made your roses to emblish a bed spread I made, and a scarf and hat and, I love your pictures of crocet in strange places. I tried doing it on a small tree but lost my patience with the mosquito’s and various other creepy crawlies so my hats off to the people that croceted that tree.

  25. Brenda says:

    Rachel, you are saying that the loops of the plastic are hold together and the the plarn? It that right or wrong?


  26. Brenda says:

    Can you also make a tutorial when you start making something with plarn? Please that would help me alot!

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Brenda, starting a project with plan is the same as starting any other crochet project. Just hold your plarn as if it’s regular yarn.

  27. […] grocery store, beach, or any where you need a large bag. This pattern is intended to be made with plarn (plastic yarn) but can also be crocheted with medium weight yarn. Instructions for creating the proper gauge and […]

  28. ladytigger54 says:

    That is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cool. Who’d have thunk it. LOL

  29. Nancy says:

    An 85-year young woman on my bowling league has a water bottle cozy made with plarn that is falling apart after many years of use. I thought I would try to make her a new one. This is my first attempt at using plarn. Do you end the projects by tying off the plarn & weaving in the ends like you would with yarn?

  30. Sara says:

    This is a pretty awesome idea. I just wanted to clarify that you should recycle your left-over plastic bag bits in a recycling bin specifically for plastic bags. You CAN NOT recycle plastic bags with your other recyclables. They get stuck in machinery and disrupt the recycling process at the plant.

  31. Laura W says:

    Check your local grocery store to see if they will accept plastic bags for recycling. If so, you should be able to bag up the unused parts in a larger bag for the recycling bin.

  32. Sunshine says:

    Thanks for the clear tutorial Rachel! This is the perfect solution to my christmas yarn shortage!

  33. Linda says:


    ‘m gonna try it it sounds fun

  34. Carol Corbi says:

    Do you think that if people could go to a craft store and buy balls of plarn that more people would make products using plarn?

  35. Brenda U says:

    SO COOL!

  36. Lorena says:

    What are the measurements of a plarn? I am making them for the homeless

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Lorena, what measurements are you interested in? Length? Weight? Plarn can be any length you want it to be and any weight/thickness depending on how wide you cut your strips. If you were refering to a different measurement, please let me know so I can help you better.

  37. Bernadette says:

    When I won’t to crochet a circle, it always give me a sort of “bumb” I don’t know how to explain but it is never flat. What can I do about it? I would like to make some plate holders for in the caravan.

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Bernadette, if the bump is created by the first round of the circle, try and make sure that you have the correct number of stitches in the first round. If you have too little the center of the circle may look like a nipple. If this isn’t your problem try and explain the problem further with as much detail as you can, so I can try and help you better.

  38. Meg says:

    I am using a size N hook (9mm) and it seems to working quite well for the sleeping mat. Much easier than smaller hooks when working with the plarn. I found some really neat blue shopping bags along with tan, brown and white. I really love how it looks and I hope to make alot more. I work in Boston, where homelessness is a HUGE issue. Some of them sleep under the Charlestown bridge, near where I work, so I walk past them on my way to the train station. Hopefully soon when I walk past I can give them the mats 🙂

  39. Linda Ridenour says:

    I am a retired person from AT&T. Very much involved in our volunteer organization the Telephone Pioneers. I have seen this done. Would you share how to do this with me, so our group can make some mats for the homeless. I am located in Columbia SC. Look forward to hearing from you.

    Linda Ridenour

  40. Pat says:

    I am clueless on what to do after step 8.
    Are there pictures for steps 9-? Depending on what you chose to make?
    Otherwise, I have no ideas, sorry. I never did anything like this, and I tried crocheting once.

  41. Varsha suraiya says:

    What is the hook size for crocheting plarn?

    • Rachel Choi says:

      It would depend on how thick you make your plarn and how tight you want your stitches to be. There isn’t one specific hook that you have to use. Try out different hooks to see what you like!!

  42. Chria says:

    They make great outside doormats also. You can scrape your shoes to get all the dirt off and the next rain will wash the doormat for you. I also made a clothespin hanger bag out of plarn.

  43. Cyndi says:

    I’ve made a number of plarn water bottle holders but I haven’t been very successful at ending my plarn crocheting. Do you thread the end through the piece as you would regular crocheted projects, or is there a special way to tie off plarn?

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