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What is Plarn? + How to Make Plarn

Making yarn from plastic bags offers a unique crochet material called plarn. Learn all about it and how to make it!

Updated March 12, 2019

If you craft, especially if you work with yarn, you have probably heard the term "plarn" before. What is Plarn? It is plastic yarn. Plarn can be used in all sorts of ways, including crochet! Making plarn is also a fun activity for both kids and adults. Since it's made from plastic bags, it's budget-friendly, too. 

That's why after we explain plarn, we have a tutorial on How to Make Plarn. There's even a video tutorial for you visual learners. After reading this quick guide, you will be a master of plastic yarn and ready to craft with it. Not only is it unique but it is an awesome eco-craft! Green crafts are super popular because they use recyclables and what you already have in your home for DIYing.

We all have that bin or bag full of plastic bags in our pantry, so now is the time to use them! Once you learn this technique, you will be on the hunt for all different colored plastic bags so that you can design as you want. This is certainly an addictive hobby.

If you are curious about the things to make with plarn, we will fill you in. It's not just crochet as you will see. Plarn is a versatile and creative medium for crafting as you will see in the sections below.

Table of Contents

​​​What is Plarn?

How to Make Plarn

How to Make Plarn PDF

​​​​​​​Things to Make with Plarn

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
​​​​​​

What is Plarn?

As mentioned above, plarn is plastic bag yarn. Turning plastic bags into yarn may seem like an odd thought but people have been doing it for years. There are many benefits of making yarn from plastic bags, too.

Plastic bags are so easy to come by and the only other tool you need is scissors, which means that this a craft that nearly everyone already has the materials to make. It also means it's inexpensive, especially if you take into account the price of real yarn.

Since it's plastic, it's waterproof, which makes it sturdy and difficult to ruin. One of the negative aspects is that the thin plastic can melt. Don't use plarn to make trivets or potholders for hot items!

It's great for kids! Either having the kids make the plarn or use it for crafting, it's a creative material that they will enjoy working with. It's also incredibly unique. Whether the kids are designing a placemat or you are crocheting a purse, pumpkin, or this Giant Plarn Mandala shown below, plarn has the look that will intrigue and draw attention.

Giant Plarn Mandala

How to Make Plarn

Plarn Tutorial:

  1. Gather a plastic grocery bag and scissors.
     
  2. Cut off the handles and the bottom of the bag so that you have a rectangle with two sides.
     
  3. Fold the bag in half, with uncut sides together.
     
  4. Fold it in half again the same way.
     
  5. Optional: Fold it in half upwards one more time.
     
  6. Turn the folded edge toward your body. Trim the ends so that they are straight if not.
     
  7. Cut strips across the folded bag, at least 1-inch thick.
     
  8. Unfold the "strips" (they should be oval ring shapes).
     
  9. Take two of the strips, one in each hand, and insert one end of one ring into the other ring.
     
  10. Take the end of one ring and draw it through the other end until tight. There should be a knot in the center with loops on either side. Continue this process with the connected pieces until you have enough for your project.

Our friends at FaveCrafts have an awesome video and more information, too. Check out their page on how to make plarn. Their video is also below. Click play and see how it's done.
 

How to Make Plarn PDF

Download a quick guide to help you make plarn fast. Click on the infographic below or the button to download. The best part is that it prints perfectly on standard 8.5 x 11 paper. Download, print, and keep this PDF handy for you or the kids.

Get the How to Make Plarn PDF

 

How to Make Plarn PDF

Things to Make with Plarn

Plarn can be used to make so many items. It can be crocheted, knitted, or connected together in your own ingenious way. The most common plarn crafts include bracelets, bags, placemats, purses, bags, mats, and baskets. It's not that soft but some designers do make "stuffed animals" out of plarn. If you search the internet for images, you will be surprised at the variety of craft items you will find.

Since this is AllFreeCrochet, we have a few plarn crafts to crochet below. Take a look and give it a try!

Crochet with Plarn:

  1. Plarn Crochet Scrubbies Pattern - This functional project from FaveCrafts will save you money on traditional pot scrubbers. Better looking, too!
     
  2. Lazy 'P' Pop Tab Plarn Bracelet - This stylish bracelet is ideal for teenagers. They will love making tons for their friends.
     
  3. Box-Bottom Tote - Big and sturdy, this bag is one you'll want to take everywhere!
     
  4. Plarn Placemats and Coasters - What a creative way to decorate your table any time of year.
     
  5. Plarn Pumpkin - Shown below! This is a great piece of decor to make for autumn.

Plarn Pumpkin

  1. The Ultimate Recycled Market Bag - Go green while shopping with this awesome handmade plarn bag. With the large holes, it's ideal for produce.
     
  2. Easter Baskets - Easter baskets can get pricey but that's not the case when you make them with recycled plastic bags!
     
  3. Plarn Pouch - Use your old bags to make this lovely pouch. Use slanted double crochet for the edging.
     
  4. The Cutest Plarn Grocery/Beach Bag - Shown below! You're going to get so many compliments on this awesome bag no matter where you take it.
     
  5. Plarn Heart Applique - Use pop tabs and your plastic yarn to create a waterproof design that can be attached to nearly anything.

The Cutest Plarn Grocery/Beach Bag

Have you ever used plarn? Would you?
Let us know below!

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