Knit Plastic Bag Handbag


Introduction: Knit Plastic Bag Handbag

This project explains how to spin yarn from ordinary plastic grocery bags. This yarn can then be knit into a handbag.

You will need
1. All the plastic bags under your sink.
2. Scissors
3. A spindle (ancient simple spinning tool)
4. Knitting needles

Step 1: Cut Plastic Bags Into Strips

Follow a spiral pattern around the bag to get one long strip from the entire bag. Don't use your best sewing scissors for this. Cutting plastic bags dulls scissors quickly.

Step 2: Attach End of Plastic Strip to Spindle Tip and Spin

Spindles are the simplest way to spin fiber, or plastic bags. The pictured spindle is a round piece of wood with a dowel glued through it. The end of the dowel has two narrow saw cuts at the end to attach the end of the string to .

Once attached, grab the spindle by the point of attachment and spin between your fingers. The weight on the bottom keeps the spindle spinning. Hold the plastic strip in your other hand and pay out the strip as it twists into yarn.

Step 3: Continue Spinning

As the spun yarn gets longer, wrap the yarn around the stick portion of the spindle and re-attach at the tip. Keep goiing.

Step 4: Spin Together Two Strips of Plastic

When you get to the end of one strip of plastic, you don't need to tie one strip to the next. Just overlap the two ends, fold them together and continue spinning. The twisting together will be enough to join the two strips.

Step 5: Knit Your Plastic Yarn

Sadly, I don't have action pictures of this step. The bag shown has a very simple pattern. The body of the bag is a long strip of nothing but knit stitch. The handles are another long strip of the same stitch. The two pieces were sewn together using more plastic yarn.

This bag was a first attempt. Some suggestions for improvement.

1. The fabric is surprisingly heavy duty. Keep to purse size, or make something you don't plan on lugging around. This large tote bag is a little bulky.
2. Have fun with color.



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    28 Discussions

    Just a don't actually need to spin the plarn. If you cut the bags through both thicknesses, and from side to side, making them into strips, you get pieces that are kind of shaped like rubber bands, except bigger and plastic! You can then "link" them together to form one long continuous strip. That makes them twice as thick...but it should be faster working them. :)

    could one use an electric hand drill?? set on very slow to make the 'placyarn'??

    great use of plastic bags, thanks for posting.

    Wow, these are some of the cutest and most interesting bags I have seen yet! Great work, I can always use a new handbag. I'll have to see if I can follow the instructions and make one of these.

    I crocheted one of these years ago when Walmart had the gray bags. I used it as a lunch bag for work. Still have it, now it is a utlility bag in my Jeep. Takes a lot of plastic bags though :)

    I crocheted 2 bags one out of grocery bags and a hand bag from bags telephone books were delivered in. I tried knitting but I like crocheting better.

    I made this using a knitting loom....hanging pot

    hanging plant.jpg

    This looks like a fun project. About what size were the strips you cut? And did you use a supported spindle? Or is it easy to spin with a drop spindle?



     What type and size of needles did you use to knit up the "plarn" (Plastic Yarn)?  I put my kids to work helping me make lots of plarn, but from joined loops of bags instead of long strips.  My problem arose when I tried knitting -- the plarn was so "grabby" and sticky on the needles (I tried nickel and wood both) that it was torture to complete even a few rounds.  Perhaps the smaller diameter of the spun "plarn" makes it easier to knit.

    1 reply

    I totally don't understand spinning or how it works. A video would help.

    These are all the rage over in England. On my trip over there in November I was given two from old friends. They are absolutely great. I am planning to make at least one!

    That is so awesome :D Hmm. I'm gonna see how much it costs to get the spindle and such. In my opinion, I find find knitting/crochet more relaxing than the sewing machine. I started sowing and I dunno how to get the bobbin thread underneath. It's such a headache and when you finally get the thing ready, it JAMS and clumps the thread. Ugh!

    i just joined this site today and was surprised to see this here. I was using plastic bags as a spinning practice tool with vague ideas of what to use the spun "yarn" for next. This is a good idea.

    Thank you for helping the earth. This reminds me of a pod I saw on making handbags out of candy wrappers. Very cool idea.

    1 reply

    Nice. (In the UK, don't try this with Tesco carrier bags - they biodegrade quite quickly, especially when exposed to sunlight).

    2 replies

    I forgot to say, though, that a video of the spinning (or even a whole Instructable on spinning) would be very useful.

    I agree...I never heard of spinning plastic bags and that would be very interesting...I have crocheted purses with bags and was going to try knitting...It is hard on the hands but fun... Maggie Jiggs

    I made one of these a while ago, but instead of spinning the strips, I just knitted them in. I wanted to make grocery bags, but, like you said, it's heavier than making a bag out of yarn.