Recycle Plastic Shopping Bags Into 'Yarn'




Recycling plastic grocery bags and plastic shopping bags is nothing really new, but I like to do my recycling without smelling up my environment. If you merely return your bags to your local grocer for recycling, they will melt them down to make new bags. This emits more pollution into the air. I have also discovered that fusing plastic bags with an iron releases noxious fumes into your home and I don't think that's any better. So, in come the scissors.

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Step 1: Lay Out a Plastic Bag.

The best bags for this are the really thin ones you get from the chain grocers and places like Walmart. The thicker ones are more difficult to work with.

Lay out a plastic bag, tucking in the side seams and smoothing the bag flat. It doesn't have to be perfect.

Step 2: Cut Off Very Bottom of Bag With Scissors.

Cut off the bottom edge of the plastic bag with scissors. Make sure your scissors are sharp as dull scissors will not work very well to cut plastic bags.

Step 3: Fold Bag.

Fold bag lengthwise, as pictured.

Step 4: Cut Folded Bag Into Strips.

Now, cut the folded bag into strips that are about 1 and 1/2 inches wide. You don't have to be perfect on this either. It's just a guideline, so there's no need to haul out that nasty, little ruler.

Keep it simple.

Step 5: Unfold One of the Cut Strips and Begin Joining.

Unfold one of the cut strips. You need to be careful here because they will sometimes tear on the fused seam.

Grab a second cut strip and unfold it. Loop it around your thumb and index finger and hold the rest of it in your fist.

Step 6: Continued Bag Joining.

Bring the loop in your right hand over the loop strip in your left hand.(The 1st pic in this step.)

While maintaining the loop in your right hand, grasp the strip from your left hand and pull it partially through the loop in your right hand. (The 2nd & 3rd pics in this step.)

Step 7: Finish the Bag Joining & Snug the Knot.

Put your left hand through the left most part of the strip you just passed through the loop in your right hand and let it rest on your left wrist. (1st pic in this step)

Grasp the other end of the strip that was passed through the loop in your right hand with your left thumb and index finger. (2nd & 3rd pics in this step)

Draw the part you've pinched in your left hand through the loop on your left wrist. Continue pulling the knot tight. (4th, 5th, & 6th pics in this step)

Here is a short video of how it works:

Step 8: Finish Joining Bag Loops & Begin Crocheting.

Continue joining bag loops until you've used up all your bags.

The resulting yarn is best crocheted with a size K crochet hook (or larger). See the pics in this step to see how I started crocheting a door mat and then continued adding strips to the end of the 'yarn' to continue crocheting.

Step 9: Finished Crocheted Shopping Bag.

These are pics of a shopping bag made from 124 recycled grocery bags, all from the same store.

The pattern for this bag can be found at: <>

I have been informed that the afore mentioned link is no longer valid. Please try this one:

I crocheted my round until it had 64 stitches around. I then kept crocheting those 64 stitches in the round until I wanted to do my handles.

When you get to the point where you want the handles: Place marker and single crochet 7 sts, chain 18, count 18sts from where you did the 7th single crochet and slip stitch to here. Single crochet 14 stitches. Chain 18. Count 18sts from where you stopped the 14th single crochet and slip stitch to here. Single crochet 7sts. Join with a slip stitch to Beginning Single crochet (by marker). Chain 1 and turn. Do at three more rounds like this for strong bag handles.

Remember you're carrying groceries in this.

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    118 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I also do a couple of rounds inside the handle "loops" for additional handle strength.


    3 years ago

    I made a bag of shopping bags some years ago... i really would have shared the pictures if i still had it...


    11 years ago on Step 9

    Nice work, But you you must have too much time on your hands :)

    3 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Step 9

    Quite frankly, I tell everyone that time is the only thing we have more than enough of. You have to decide what you want to do with it. Knitting & crocheting are things that can be done while walking, watching tele, riding the bus, waiting for an appointment. So, it's not a matter of too much time, but a matter of how to allocate the free time God has given you while you're waiting for the rest of your life to get moving. ;)


    Reply 6 years ago on Step 9

    What a Perfect Response. We all have these pockets of time that are .. stagnant, for lack of a better word, some read, some think, some listen to talk radio, some just veg out... We get to pick what to fill these unavoidable times with. I, too, crochet while stuck anywhere or riding in car while Husband drives. I wish I had Too Much Time but I don't. I fill what extra time I have with what I love to do and from it emerges fun and usable objects/items.

    Thank you for this tute. I have not seen it and I love reusable bags so this one will be on my to-make list. I just got a huge hook--maybe an S or so and I think that's the one for this job. See you with a pic of the finish someday soon. Thanks again.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This brings back memories. My grandmother 40 years ago did this. she would crochet the bags and make oval rugs out of them. they were strudy and thick, she used them as entry mats at the doors of her home. being water proof they lasted a long time.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Your comment reminded me of my grandmother. She made rugs from dry cleaner bags, which you'd think would be flimsy, but actually made very durable rugs. :)


    4 years ago on Introduction

    its true, u heat to melt these and fumes are given off ... if u do it in a garage or with an adequate fan/filter to pull the fumes out of the area ... at least u dont contaminate the house ..


    5 years ago on Introduction

    i am on my 5 th bag these r great it takes me about 2 months to 2 weeks depending on the size i have made a diaper bag for my neice actually these r great for the victims of purse snatcher's so shame on u that steal peoples's purses! i make them nice and thick great for going to the beach! i am a professional crocher's so there!


    6 years ago on Step 9

    I came up with a a way to weave it to make a yarn for use later.
    Fold it in half and braid it. tie the bottom part from step two to tie the weak areas. Tape the tops and bottoms if needed.


    8 years ago on Step 7

    Boy, I was just saying to myself as I read the previous step that this is one of the few times I really wished I could see a video - and there it is! Thanks

    Saturn V

    9 years ago on Step 9

    That's pretty cool! I'll have to do this!