I recently heard about this stuff and thought I’d give making it a go.
What is plarn, well it is plastic yarn made from plastic shopping bags. Considering our world has an issue with the amount of plastic bags that are floating around clogging up waterways and sitting in landfills. So this is a great way of using them up and making them into something completely useable.
There are many different methods of making plarn but I chose the spun way.
Here is what I did and the end result:
Take a plastic shopping bag and chop off the handles and bottom of the bag so you have a tube shape that is shown below.
Fold and cut leaving a join at one end:
Once you have essentially tassels cut along the seam side diagonally between the existing cuts to form an endless strand of plastic.
Once you have this single strand it is up to you what you do next, you can use it as it is and weave it or you can spin it either by hand, on a drop spindle or on a wheel.
I started off on a wheel, I’m still having issues getting things to feed onto the spindle (if you have any suggestions let me know). I soon gave up and just hand twisted it all onto the spindle. It took awhile but was quite relaxing, Little Man was watching me and seemed to be entranced by what I was doing so it was a lovely quiet time together.
I ended up with this from one plastic bag:
It doesn’t seem like much but it only really took me about half an hour to twist the whole lot by hand. I then attempted to crochet it, I decided half way through my first attempt that it was too thick and so to thin it out i simple unravelled the lot and pulled on it quite hard whilst turning it back onto the spindle. This stretched it out a fair bit, but be careful you don’t pull to hard as it will break.
My second attempt at crocheting worked a lot better and the plarn is actually really pliable, the thinner it is the softer it becomes and if you are worrying about strength you can ply it. You can even ply it with wool for a slightly softer texture.
The result of my crocheting? Well I made a lovely little square which is quite rigid but also quite flexible. Definitely very strong and would make a good material to make swimming bags out of or any sort of bag, you could make a doormat or sculpt it into something incredible or even something wearable. I have to say it definitely does not look like a plastic bag any more and has inspired in me a creativity that I had lost a fair while ago.
To show it’s flexibility I curved it into a cylinder:
So there you go Plarn! Give it a go, make something and you can feel good doing so. One less plastic bag in the water ways.