April 6, 2015

how-to // transform plastic bags into yarn

Hello, lovelies! I hope you all had a fantastic Easter weekend. Now onto the real celebration: half-priced Easter candy. Cadbury Eggs, I'm comin' for ya!

In the spirit of using up materials around the house, I wanted to share this fun trick for turning old shopping bags into yarn. If you're like me, you have a plethora of plastic shopping bags from a variety of grocery stores (okay, mine are mostly from Target - don't judge). Sure you can use your bags to line tiny trash cans or pick up dog poos, but if you're looking to purge your plastic bag stash in a serious way, plastic yarn is the way to go! It's perfect for crocheting or knitting heavy-duty projects.

The best part about working with plastic bags is it's basically free. I turned a whole stash of plastic bags into this bright new bag, which is totally sturdy & awesome. Plus I can call myself an official "bag lady" because my bag is literally made from hundred of bags. It pairs well in those times when I find myself talking to myself. Also, because it's made from plastic it's really easy to clean. This is my designated "beach bag" for sure, since the sand falls right through & I can rinse it out if it gets dirty. I also try & take it on trips to the grocery store as a grave reminder of the amount of bags I managed to collect in the first place. 

All you'll need to make your "yarn" is a bunch of shopping bags & a pair of scissors. The amount of bags you'll need depends on the size of your project. Like I said, mine was made from a few hundred old shopping bags.

Start by laying one of your shopping bags flat. 

Cut off the handles & the bottom of the bag.

Cut the bag into strips about 2" wide. Each strip should be a continuous loop. 

Now you're going to connect your loops.

1. // Start with two loops, the left (blue) overlapping the right (red).
2. // Fold the left end of the red loop over the right end of the blue.
3. // Pull the inner loops away from each other.
4. // Pull tight enough to form a knot (but not too tight to break).
5. // To build your chain, repeat steps 1-4, with your original chain serving as the initial blue loop, adding a new loop. Continue to build your chain.

I recommend using a large hook when crocheting, & large needles when knitting with this material. I used a size "K" hook to crochet this bag. You don't have to loop all of your plastic bags at once, you can add to your chain as you go. The plastic yarn is durable & sturdy, so it works well for projects that take a lot of wear & tear, like handbags or even a doormat.

If you are eco-friendly & don't have an embarrassing hoard of plastic bags (but still want to join in on the fun!), recruit your friends & family to lend you some. There's plenty of plastic that needs to be reused.


Related // Turn old shopping bags into a cute coin purse.


  1. This is great! I can't believe it, though... I just threw away an insane amount of plastic bags just a few days ago. Doh!! Do you have a pattern for the bag itself? I love how it looks with the color blocking! And I'll bet that it's perfect for the beach! Love it! :) Lisa

    1. Oh no! I'm sure more bags will make their way into your life - it's inevitable.

      The bag started as a single crochet chain of 5, then I chained one into the first stitch to form a circle. I did a single crochet around the circle a few times, doubling the stitches each time. When the circle was big enough for the bottom of the bag, I single crocheted for the remainder of it. It's super easy to switch colors too. I just switched from using yellow bags to white bags! Truthfully I ran out of yellow bags, but I like the way it turned out.

    2. Fantastic, thanks! Really, it's just single crochet? With the big spaces, I assumed that there were at least double crochet or something else more complicated. And if more bags don't make their way into my life, I'm sure I can raid my in-laws' bag collection! Ha! ;)