Introduction: Plastic Bag Yarn ("shortcut")

Picture of Plastic Bag Yarn ("shortcut")

Crocheting with plarn (plastic yarn) is fun to do, and, the rustling sound the plastic makes while crocheting, brings a kind of peace, as if you hear the weaves on the sea  :-)
But of course, you first have to have plarn, don't you.
Find yourself a thin, rustling plastic bag (in fact, the worst quality of plastic bag, gives you the best quality of plarn, really),
and scissors, and follow the instructions  ;-)

(NL) met plastiwol (plastiek wol) haken is leuk om te doen, en, het ritselende geluid dat de plastiek tijdens het haken maakt, geeft je een soort rust, alsof je de golven van de zee hoort  :-)
Maar uiteraard heb je eerst plastiwol nodig, nietwaar.
Vind eerst een dunne ritselende plastieken zak (in feite geven de zakken van de slechtste kwaliteit, de beste kwaliteit van plastiwol, echt waar),
en een schaar, en volg de instrukties  ;-)

Step 1: Bottom Off

Picture of Bottom Off

flatten the bag, and cut off the bottom.
(NL) leg de zak plat en knip de bodem er af.

Step 2: Flatten

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Unfold whole the bag and flatten him.
(NL) vouw de hele zak open en maak hem plat.

Step 3: First Fold

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fold almost double: leave about 4cm "single" at the top (in fact, there are 2 layers from the bag)
(NL) vouw bijna dubbel: laat bovenaan zo'n 4cm "enkel" (in feite zijn er 2 lagen van de zak)

Step 4: Keep Folding

Picture of Keep Folding

keep folding the bottom part, until it is abaout as big as the "single" top part.
(NL) blijf het onderste deel vouwen, tot het ongeveer even groot is als het bovenste "enkele" deel.

Step 5: Cut Fringes

Picture of Cut Fringes

cut fringes from about 15mm width: cut at the folded bottom part, and a little bit of the "single" top.
(NL) knip franjes van ongeveer 15mm breedte: knip op het gevouwen onderste deel, en een klein stukje op het bovenste "enkele" deel.

Step 6: Cut Off Ear

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at the end, cut off the ear
(NL) op het einde knip je het oor er af

Step 7: Open It

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shake it open. You can keep bottom and ear to stuff things later.
(NL) schud het open. Je kan de bodem en het oor bijhouden om later dingen op te vullen.

Step 8: Pay Attention

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now, wriggle your left hand through the uncut area, and hold it in front of you. Then look very carefully at the photo: I drawed lines wher you should cut. As you can see, do NOT cut straight lines, you will get circles instead of 1 long thread. Your first cut starts under at the right side of the first fringe, and ends above at the left side of the same fringe.
(NL) wriemel nu je hand door het ongeknipte stuk, en hou het voor je. Kijk dan heel aandachtig naar de foto: ik tekende lijnen waar je zou moeten knippen. Zoals je ziet, mag je GEEN rechte lijnen knippen, dan krijg je cirkels in plaatls van 1 lange draad. De eerste keer begin je onderaan rechts van de eerste franje te knippen, en eindig je linksboven van diezelfde franje

Step 9: Make First Cut

Picture of Make First Cut

so, make your first cut, which starts under at the right side of the first fringe, and ends above at the left side of the same fringe. You already have a piece of the long thread, it should still be attached to the bag.
(NL) dus, knip je eerste stuk, begin onderaan rechts van de eerste franje te knippen, en eindig linksboven van diezelfde franje. Je hebt nu al een stukje van de lange draad, het zou nog vast aan de rest moeten zitten.

Step 10: Following Cuts

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keep cutting from the incision right under, to the incision right above
(NL) knip zo verder van de snede rechtsonder, naar de snede rechtsboven

Step 11: Last Cut

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cut from the last incision, to the upper left side of the last fringe
(NL) knip van de laatste snede, naar het linkse bovendeel van de franje

Step 12: Wind Up Your Yarn

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now, all you have to do, is to wind your yarn, and make something with it!
(You can join the threads just as you would do with regular yarn: I pay attention so the end is at the wrong side of my work, and the beginning of the new thread too, I make a few more stitches and then I make a double knot with the ends, but because of it being long threads, you don't have to do this often :-) )
(NL) het enige wat je nog moet doen, is je draad tot een bolletje opwinden, en er iets mee maken!
(je kan een nieuwe draad beginnen zoals bij gewone wol: ik let er op dat het eindje aan de achterkant van mijn werkje is, en het begin van de nieuwe draad ook, ik maak nog een paar steken, en dan maak ik een dubbele knoop met de eindjes, maar omdat het lange draden zijn, moet je dit niet dikwijls doen :-) )

Step 13: What to Do With the Yarn

Picture of What to Do With the Yarn

In fact, you can do about anything with plastic yarn, that you can do with "regular" yarn: crochet, knit, weave, loom ...
I am working on a blog with crafty-links at and
For a start, you may begin by learning how to crochet, at you can find some usefull links to get you on the go, and if you want to learn other things, click on the "1 crochet howto", the "1 knit howto" label at the right. If you want to see more projects with plastic yarn, choose the "3 plarn" label (that's how they call the plastic yarn too).
The following butterfly is made from THE yarn I made by making THIS instructable, and is explained in .

I added some more ideas: a yellow butterfly as a curtain tie back, a rainbow butterfly in a flower pot, bride and groom bottle cosies, a pink flower on the brown card (yes, you can embroider with it too!), a christmas tree card (in hairpin crochet), a little soccer fellow with knitted clothes, bowling pins, slippers, a ball, and another butterfly, ...

and more should follow, as I love crafting with plastic yarn :-)


rosycheecks35 (author)2016-10-02

that is actually very cool!!!

QuickwrapC (author)2015-09-04
Best Wrapping Plastic in Industry

All of QuickWrap's shrinkwrap is 100% virgin resin material with extremely consistent mil thickness and opacity. It contains 5% UV inhibitors by weight for excellent performance during long-term storage and transportation.

For more details please visit:

ShirCraftalot (author)2015-03-07

? it says "NuPET™ 2411
Product Description
NuPET resins offer nucleation and control of crystallization in PET formulations. ..." ??? The plastic bags are another kind of plastic, I really am curious why you posted this, it looks like I'm missing something

ladybgood (author)2011-01-30

I'm in love with the crocheted slippers you've shown made from plarn. Is it possible to get the pattern?

ShirCraftalot (author)ladybgood2011-12-31

O my, is it that long ago! Shame on me! 2011 was a tough year, yes, but allmost a year for a tutorial, seriously ... please accept my appoligies!

Well, you can find it at
(for some reason I don't like the Instructable step by step way for a more complex crochet or knit pattern, though I love it for other crafting :-) )

ShirCraftalot (author)ladybgood2011-01-31

It is possible to get the pattern, but not very soon. I have it on a word document in Dutch, and I'm planning to make a new pair (after a year the sole was worn out, and I do miss them). Then I'll make an English instructable of it, with some more pictures,  preferably not blurry ;-) .

But I promissed somebody the pattern of my draft stopper kitty, and I'm about to start that one.(  )

But, the tutorial after that will be the slippery one, promissed  :-)

ladybgood (author)ShirCraftalot2011-01-31

that would be great, thank you very much. I can hardly wait.

ClareSelina (author)2011-11-12

Brilliant! This is even better than my method, thanks very much.

Thanks Selina, and you're welcom, I was so delighted when someone explained me, and later on, getting used to the internet and Instructables, I didn't found any tutorial on it, so I thought the crafting world should know this great way of making real balls of plarn too :-)

mslaynie (author)2011-02-22

This is a wonderful tutorial! I once wanted to make plarn but I quickly said to heck with it, because joining up all those loops was just too annoying for me. This completely skips that step, which means I could actually do something with this!

Also, don't worry about whether it was clear or not. I think this was incredibly well written, and your photographs perfectly show what needs to be done. You did a great job! :D

ShirCraftalot (author)mslaynie2011-02-23

*^^* blush ... thanks :-D
I don't like the loop method either, it gives annoying bumps, and the yarn becomes double as bulky. In the meantime I even dared to make fringes of 5mm, which is about 1/4", wich allowed me to crochet with a 1,5mm hook, and to make a cute flower fairy finger puppet :-)
This method still needs some cutting preparation, but it's really worth trying it, it gives bright shiny colors :-)

gserrano701 (author)2010-04-13

Great instructable.  I've tried twisting with a spindle I made with an old CD and works very nice.  Ive even stretched the plastic to remove some of the elasticity and, eventhoug it's not very easy, I´ve managed to make nice strong thin 2 ply, 3 ply and 4 ply ropes.  Maybe one day I´ll post pictures or even a video, too busy at work right now.

Keep up with such good ideas to reduce plastic waste, this is not a joke, your contribution is highly appreciated now and in the future, thanks. 

Thanks for the nice comment  :-D

And now I understand the fuzz about twisting it. I use it to crochet, knit or sew, and if I want it thicker, I just cut larger fringes or work with double threads, and there's no need for twisting. I haven't thougt about using it as a rope on itself. It might be very strong too: one thread you can easily break, but after crocheting for example, it's amazingly strong. Great idea !

A pity you don't have time to post pictures or even better an instructable. People should have time to do what they like, and, as you can see in the other comments, there are more people who want to twist it. Plus, of course, I'm very curious to see how you did it, and how it turned out  ;-)

I'm looking forward for you to have some spare time, but I'll bet you do too.

DrPeper (author)ShirCraftalot2010-11-11

Just in case you are interested, I've made plarn rope and wrote it up here.

WeaveKiller (author)2010-05-10

I crochet with plarn as well as other alternative fibers...  I Like:  VHS tape, cassette tape, curling ribbon for gift wrapping, fishing line, floss, hemp, marking tape, and even the heavy duty plastic twine twine you find outside of Home Depot to use for securing your purchases to the vehicle.  We use plastic table cloths from the party supply to make the plarn when the color is important for the piece,

This is a good instructable.  I use this method for my plarn as opposed to the loop linking method., 

Good Job.

 Thanks for the nice comments  :-)

I saw your blog, and it's a nice one, though I was a little bit dissapointed not to find any plarn stuff (but I fully understand, I just added some plarn ideas in the last step, and realised allmost all should become an instructable, some time  :-S).  Your photo of "heavens door" is real art, the giant granny is so lovely special, and the bookworm is so cute !

I like alternative fibres too:
- VHS tape: I can't try it yet (my hubby still wants to see the movies)
- casette tape: I used it for the hair of the soccer fellow, doesn't flow that smooth over the crochet, but I love the effect;
-curling gift wrap ribbon: I really want to try it, some day, and test how it behaves in rain: I want to make outside plarn flowers, but can't find enough flower-leaf-green plastic, and gift wrap comes in many colors :-)
-fishing line: ideal for crocheting a bead necklace
-floss: never thought of crocheting it, what can you make of it?
-hemp: natural materials make lovely retro decoration with macrame, I once tried to crochet it, but I couldn't think of what to make with it
-marking tape: how on earth do you crochet with tape? doesn't it stick to the hook?

drknitwit (author)2010-04-17

Thank you Shirley for your instructions.  I am moving to Nome, Alaska and I know they have trouble with too many plastic bags in their landfill.  This is a great idea - I am looking for more ideas for those and plastic soda bottles.

ShirCraftalot (author)drknitwit2010-04-17

You're welcome :-)
You know, the possibillities with "plarn" (=plastic yarn) are allmost endless. The main difference with "normal" yarn is the softness. I shouldn't use it to make regular clothes, but it's ideal to make slippers, hats and belts and such.
I really have to work on my blog and instructables, there must be more under the "ReUse plastic" lable  ( )

Anyway, you can take a surf at "Google images": you can find a lot under "reuse plastic" and "plarn"
Have fun  ;-)

wendyleevaught (author)2009-07-09

What a great way to recycle all those plastic bags I have accumulated! I never thought to use them for yarn. Thanks for the awesome tip!

peaceplzcr (author)2009-04-23

Very easy to follow! Thanks... Now if I could only learn how to crochet haha

ShirCraftalot (author)peaceplzcr2009-04-24

Hey, thanks for the nice comment, when writing instructions you don't know if people understand you: there's no "Huh? What do you mean?" or so. But if I where you, I would give learning to crochet a try: I learned it as a kid, (so it can't be that difficult, haha), and there are nice tutorials: I added a step 13 with links to an explanation with photo's, and a video tutorial. They will show you only once, but you can rewind a thousand times ;-)

ShirCraftalot (author)2009-03-28

"I haven't tried yet, but you explained it very well. I have one question, how do you join the bags? just as you would with yarn? Or is there a certain process?" I've found this question in my regular mail. I hadn't payed attention at it, becouse I thougt it was just a notification there was something new at instructables, and I checked things here, so I thought it was OK, so sorry for the late reaction. First of all: thank you for the back up, I indeed forgot to mention it, I added it in step 12, now all people have the info :-)

weezie putman (author)2009-03-15

Very good instructions. Thank you!

You're welcome, and thank you for your reply. If I explain something, I always wonder if it is understandable, now I know it seems to be OK. Have a lot of fun with it! (To me, the rustling sound of the plastic while crocheting, gives me a kind of peace, and you can make great things with plastic!) (at the time, I'm working on an Instructable of a cute butterfly, had to learn how to crochet in English, dictionary's make very strange translations about the stitches!)

ShirCraftalot (author)2009-03-10

Hello everybody, first of all: thanks for the nice comments, I'm typing this with a great, proud smile. Some people were wondering how to twist the long cord, and how to make it even longer. I use it as a regular yarn to crochet or to knit. While you crochet, for example, the cord twists itself, no need for a spinning-wheel. When your ball of plastic is at his end, simply add a new one, as you would start a new ball of wool while crocheting with regular yarn. I even sewed a plastic backnumber at the T-shirt of my little soccer-guy, without twisting. But I first have to study the English terms for crochetting and knitting, before I can give some more explanation, and of course more instructables, of things made of plastic yarn, yeah.

Shut Up Now (author)2009-03-09

awsome instructable and english. i wonder what would happen if you took the long cord and twisted it up and then heated it with a hair drier. then maybe it will be just like twine.

ShirCraftalot (author)2009-03-08

(Hopefully my English is not to peculiar, but this site is so great, I simply have to share it with you people, and by adding the Dutch version, my friends can use it to, without waiting for me to mail them the word-document, and, they can discover this wonderfull sit too :-) )

I think you did a great job with it!

mbudde (author)2009-03-09

Awesome. So then can you make this long thread longer by melting the ends of different strands together? I'm gonna go do this now.

lemonie (author)2009-03-09

You need more "twist" on this - if only you had a spinning-wheel? (nice) L

artquilter (author)2009-03-09

AWESOME! I do this with technique with fabric when weaving rugs...great application for the plastic bags! Thanks!

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More by ShirCraftalot:How to Knot a Butterfly by Macrameknot 4 petsButterfly, How to Crochet it from a Plastic Bag
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