Today's post is courtesy of Megan Shonka, who responded to our open call for guest bloggers. Her passion: plastic bags!
There are a number of solutions to avoid sending plastic bags to the landfill. One of the solutions that I stumbled upon 2 years ago was plastic crochet. I was searching the internet for some ideas of how I could reuse my plastic bags in a crafty way and came across a video of a woman named Cristen using it as yarn and crocheting some pretty amazing stuff. She had made hats, drink cozies, tote bags…and so many other things! I was instantly obsessed and HAD to learn how to do this. Finding her contact information on a blog, I emailed her with my interest. She was happy to teach me in person, if I could ever make it down to Texas. So, on a planned road trip down to Texas to visit my family, I stopped by to meet her. She sat with me for a couple hours one evening and showed me the steps. On the 18 hour drive back home, I couldn’t put my crochet hook down! I had fallen in love with a new hobby, and I’ve been creating things and teaching others the craft ever since.
My goal is to teach as many people as possible about the need to reduce our dependence on plastic, and keep the plastic that we DO have out of landfills. If you would like to tackle the challenge of crocheting some of your own amazing creations, below is an instructional of how to make the yarn from plastic bags. In the plastic crochet world, this is called plarn. Happy upcycling, everyone!
To create your plarn you will the need the following tools: Plastic bags, scissors, and a spool of some kind to wrap the plarn around so that it doesn’t get tangled. (Toilet paper tubes work really well for this!)
Step one: Lay one plastic bag out on your workspace. Smooth it with the sides folded in (instead of puffed out) and smooth out the handles.
Step two: Fold the bag in half length wise three times. After folding, you will have a long skinny strip to work with.
Step three: Use your scissors to cut off the handles and the bottom of the bag. These scrap pieces can be set aside to use for other projects.
Step four: Then, cut your folded bag into 1 inch strips. You should be able to get about 12 strips from each bag.
Step five: Take one of the strips you cut and unfold it. It should now be a loop of plastic.
Step six: Unfold a second strip and loop it together with the first one. Be sure to pull gently and evenly so that you don’t get uneven yarn or break the chain that you’re creating. This step is easier to see in the video that I’ve linked at the bottom of the blog. So, check that out if you’re confused with the pictures.
Step seven: Continue to unfold strips and add them to the end of the yarn strand by looping them together. This will create your yarn. You can make it as long or as short as you want. Keep in mind that it takes LOTS of plarn to make something. One bag that I made (a medium sized purse) took 58 plastic bags, just to give you an idea.
Step eight: Take the yarn you’ve created and wrap it around your spool. If you’re making a lot of yarn, it may be easier to do this as you go so that you don’t get your plarn tangled. I used a toilet paper tube and circles cut from cereal boxes to make mine. You can get creative and use whatever you have on hand to do this, if you want a spool.
Step nine: Use your plarn to crochet something amazing! If you already know how to crochet, then you’re all set. If you’ve never crocheted before and you’d like to learn, check out my video tutorial of plastic crochet:
THAT’S IT! You have now been equipped with a new hobby that can keep your plastic bags out of the landfill.
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Megan is a green geek whose passion for the earth is reflected in her everyday life. She spends her free time working on new and innovative upcycling projects, learning about the benefits of eating natural food, and teaching others how to go green in their own way! You can check out her personal upcycling Facebook page here.