Crocheting is about creating fabric by interlocking the yarn or thread loops.  This is a fantastic handicraft that can turn the yarn or thread loops into hats, scarves, and ponchos. This handicraft can also turn plastic grocery bags into sleeping mats that can give a little comfort to the homeless. In reality, almost everyone has a drawer-closet-basket full of plastic bags that need to be recycled. On combining talents, creativity, and labor, these plastic bags could be transformed into a beautiful project. Making sleeping mats using plastic bags is a useful way of helping the homeless.

How to Make ‘Plarn’

Plarn refers to the ‘yarn’ and is also called plastic yarn that is used to crochet or knit the plastic mat. Plarn is made using plastic bags and is handled the same way as one would use yarn in crocheting or knitting.  The sorting and gathering of the bags and making the plarn are projects that you can involve children.


Steps to Make A “Plarn”

  • Collect plastic bags of all shapes and sizes.
  • Lay it flat; smooth the wrinkles, cut the top and bottom of the bag.
  • Fold bag from the side, choose the desired width and cut into sections.
  • Keep the sections even.
  • Each section when unfolded is a plastic loop.
  • Lay both loops on a table such that both ends face each other.
  • Lift the right loop and place it on the left loop.
  • Now lift the left loop, pick the right loop taking it under the left loop.
  • Keep pulling the right loop towards the right holding the left loop.
  • Do it gently, and you will see knots forming between two loops.
  • Ensure the knot is tight by pulling it.
  • One piece of plarn is ready, and now you can continue with others to attach to the plarn end.

Materials Required

  • Plastic bags (500 to 700 grocery bags)
  • Crochet needles (O or P) or knitting needles ( Size 10 or higher)
  • Scissors

Tips for Knitting the Plastic Yarn

Tip 1: Make a swatch and test the gauge to assess the stitches. The thickness of the bag may alter the gauge slightly. In fact, thinner plastic bags like the ordinary grocery store bags are considered the easiest to knot.

Tip 2: Plarn tends to stick to the needle as it is plastic. In fact, using bamboo knitting needles are easy to work with plarn. However, if you are using the bamboo knitting needles, consider the large gauge bamboo needles. Even rubbing the needles with wax paper is helpful as the plarn glides over the needles smoothly.  The bamboo needles are inexpensive and come in different sizes and packs.

Tip 3: There is an advantage with plarn; after the first few rows, the stitches start beginning to fly faster as you get acclimated to the plarn. Besides, plarn is said to be really forgiving and flexible. This is because if a piece breaks in between, it can be tied back together with a knot and you can pursue your work from where you left.