Just finished my new plastic shopping bag made from old plastic shopping bags! I recently posted a project on my website (Home-Dzine.co.za) using my DIY super-large crochet hook and the whole idea behind designing the hook was to be able to make a shopping bag with plastic bags. Well, it's done and it only took me 3 days of occasional crochet in front of the TV to finish it.
Step 1: Cut Your Bag
Gather together all your plastic bags as you will need about 70 to make a shopping bag. Fold each bag over and cut off the top and tail and then cut into 3cm-wide strips.
Step 2: Join Strips
Join all your bags together to create one long strip. Don't stress about how long at this stage as you can easily add on more strips as you work. Just add enough strips for a comfortable length to work with. Loop the end of one bag over the other bag and then pull the two ends to join.
Step 3: Starting the Bag
Make a loop at one end of your long piece of strips and insert the large crochet hook. If you don't have a large crochet hook I have included instructions on how to make at the end of this tutorial. To make it easier to see what I am doing I have included a yellow bag in the strip!
Step 4: First Stitch
Insert your super-large crochet hook into the loop that you have just made to commence the first stitch.
Step 5: Make the First Row
Loop the hook around the strip so that it fits in the hook and then pull through the look. Ta-da. You have now started your chain stitch. Continue to make another 28 stitches in the same way, so that you have a total of 30 stitches hanging down from the hook.
Step 6: Make the Second Row
Now that you have 30 chain stitches you are going to repeat what you have just done by threading the hook through the last chain you made and hooking the strip onto the hook, before pulling back through to the front and through the TWO loops on the hook. That will leave you once again with one loop.
Repeat the process of moving from one end of the row to another until you have about 36 to 40 rows in total. This will be the front section of your bag.
Step 7: Make the Sides
Because I am sure that many of you don't really want to start sewing, I am making this bag in one piece without any sewing involved. To make the sides you need to hook and loop through the sides - create a chain that is 10 stitches long - hoop and loop back to the side. That will give you a section of hoops down each side of the bag.
Step 8: Make the Bottom
Working on the back of the front, I did a reverse chain stitch to make the stitches bend inwards. To do this put the bag face down as opposed to having it face you. I wasn't sure if this would work, but it did. Once you reach the width for the base, which is about 10cm, you can revert to normal chain stitches to complete the back.
Step 9: Make the Last Side
Without stopping from making the base you can now revert back to normal chain stitch the make the side in exactly the same way that you made the front panel.
As you build up rows, hook into the side loops to make that a strong part of the bag. Simply put the hook through the loop and hook the strip and pull back through the loop on your hook.
Step 10: Add Handles or Straps
You can make small handles or shoulder straps, whichever you prefer. Simply hook through the top of the bag and loop the strip around before pulling bag and pulling through the loop on the hook. Sounds quite confusing but once you get into the process of hooking and looping you will be a crochet expert!
Step 11: Make a Super-large Crochet Hook
I used a 25mm pine dowel to make my super-large crochet hook. I started by using a pencil to outline the basic shape on the dowel.
Step 12: Finished Crochet Hook
Using a Dremel Multitool with cutting disk I cut out the shape and then sanded it smooth with 120- and then 240-grit sandpaper. I have plenty more recycling projects on the Home-Dzine.co.za, so pop in and visit some time.