Hey Plarny Mama

Intrigued by the idea of plarn, but secretly thinking to yourself, “That is just wayway too much work. There’s no way I have time for that, even if I did want to do it”?

Good news! BEHOLD! – the next thing I’ve discovered: INSTANT PLARN.

Instant plarn? How, you may ask? Very simple: sacrifice those old VHS and cassette tapes that you’ve already replaced with DVD’s and CD’s. Voila! Instant plarn, conveniently already evenly sliced and on a spool.


I’m looking forward to designing many projects around this new material! So far I’ve experimented with a cassette tape (Bye bye, Steppenwolfe) and a size H and I crochet hook. Stay tuned for projects and patterns!

UPDATE – I have been informed by my lovely friends on Pinterest that cassette tapes do have chemicals on them (like chromium) that are toxic in large quantities. So! Let’s use some common sense. Wash your hands, use it in conjunctions with some other building materials, and enjoy responsibly. 🙂

Quick Project – Plarned Reusable Shopping Tote

Now that we’ve learned about Plarn and know how to make our own Balls of Plarn, how about a project?

The finished plarn bag! Quick and easy and wonderfully multicolored due to the miscellaneous plastic bags and yarn scraps woven in.

I made this bag in about 2 days, including making all the plarn that goes in it.  I wanted a large (seriously this bag is massive!) reusable shopping tote that I could schlep to my local farmer’s market and not worry about putting fresh-out-of-the-ground produce in it.

Completed, this bag is strong (I tossed 30 lbs worth of dumbbells in it and it stretched and held them just fine — see why I mentioned that using thick pieces of plarn is a bonus?) and washable (I’ve honestly washed mine down with the garden hose!) and a fun project, especially for those who are beginning to crochet. 

The entire bag is completed with single crochet stitches, and the trim is done with slip stitches.  For the bag that is pictured, I also used scraps of colored yarn I had lying around just to add some funk and interest.

Materials needed:
Size S crochet hook
Lots and lots and lots of plarn – (Make far more plarn than you think you will need.  Each loop makes about 3 SC’s.)
Scrap yarn if you wish to add color accents.
Optional: Fishing Line to reinforce Handles.

Constructing the bottom:

Row 1 – Working with both strands together (yarn and plarn), Chain however many stitches you want for the length of your finished bag. (I did 25).  Ch 1 and turn.
Rows 2 – 10ish –  Work in even SC to the width that you desire for your bag, using a Ch 1 and turn at the end of each row.  (I did 10 rows.  You can do more or less based on what you want for the size Because the plarn is so thick, I worked my SC’s in the back loops only, but that can be personal preference.)

This is the bottom of the bag, about halfway through. This is about 5 rows of the 10 that I ended up using.

Making the Sides of the Bag – Work in Rounds

Round 1 – 1 SC in each stitch around the outside of the bag. Join at first SC with a SL ST. CH 1 to begin next round and continue WITHOUT TURNING.
Rounds 2 –  SC in each stitch around the bag.  Eventually the sides of the bag will form up as you do this. 

This photo shows how the sides of the bag eventually form as you continue to work SC's in each stitch around the bag.

Repeat Round 2 as many times as you want the heigh of your bag.

Adding Handles:

After finishing the round that marks the height of your bag, use 4 scrap pieces of yarn to mark where you want the handles to go.  (I didn’t use a scientific method for this.  I just held open the bag and eyeballed where I wanted my handles to go.)

The open bag from the top to show approximate handle placement.

Handle Row:
1 – SC in each stitch around to the marked stitch that begins your handle.  ***Double chain 25 stitches for the length of your handle (Ch 1, *YO in prior stitch and pull up 1 loop, YO and pull through both loops*  Repeat between the stars counts as 1 double chain) SC back to the bag at the next marked stitch. ***  SC in each stitch around until you get to the next marked stitch. Repeat Handle (areas between ***’s).  SC in each stitch around until you get to the beginning of the round. Tie off your yarn/Plarn.

2 – Handle Reinforcement: Attach yarn and fishing line (in contrasting or same color, your choice) to the connecting point of 1 handle. SL ST (using yarn / fishing line as 1) in each stitch of handle. Continue SL ST from handle to top of bag under handle and around the top of the bag to the next handle.  SL ST around second handle the same as the first.  Fasten off.


That’s it!  This is the first pattern I’ve attempted to write down as I’ve made it (normally I’m just a “make it up as you go along” type of person, so feel free to add, embellish, alter, or offer suggestions on what I’ve posted here.)  Thanks for viewing and enjoy your plarning!

The Making of Plarn

Sit back and fasten your seatbelts, folks.  Today, we learn about making plarn!  (not sure what plarn is? Read my definition here.)

To make plarn, you’ll need plastic grocery bags.  You know, the kind typical of all those Super-Marts we know and love.  Depending on the project you want to make – a rug, a placemat, or my personal favorite, a reusable shopping tote – you’re going to need a LOT of plastic bags.  If you don’t happen to have a stash that is 4 years old (like the kind I stumbled upon at my brother’s house), then you may want to contact neighbors, friends, family — most people are happy to get rid of their stash of recyclable plastic grocery bags

The gallery below explains the preparation process to make the plarn.  After you master this basic step, Lather, Rinse, and Repeat.  A LOT. 🙂