We’ve all seen plarn, right?  The plastic bags cut into strips (plastic yarn) and crocheted into rugs and totebags.  There are some good crocheters out there cutting away on their huge stash of plastic shopping bags to save the world and make something for nothing.  Good idea.

But, this gal has a GREAT IDEA and the artistry to back it up!

Not only are her plarn backpacks attractive, she’s making it her business to teach the world how to use their plastic bags to create these virtually indestructible backpacks and totes from materials that are, sadly, abundant even in the third world.

Right now, she’s touring India, teaching people how to create and crochet with plarn.  Check out her blog for all the details.  And, when you check out the pictures of her projects, be sure to scroll ALL the way down to see the cool plastic skirt someone made!  Visit Cristen here


  1. says

    I’m trying to do a similar thing with my abundance of plarn!

    I’ve found that striping my white and red Target bags with my brown and black Cub Foods bags makes a great pattern. That, and I’ll gather similar colors and put them together. I have a grocery bag in progress that’s all greens, browns, clears and some white.

    I’m excited to see plarn bags getting some more press. Now if there were only a quicker way to cut them all!

  2. Patricia Hall says

    I had all of my friends saving their black bags for me. Mine is black with a tan stripe. Very cool!

  3. Lisa says

    I love this! Have you also tried mixing in old cassette tape or VHS tape? It is a little harder to work with, but the end results are unique and fun!

  4. Becky Olsen says

    Here’s fast way to cut plarn strips. Use a rotary cutter. Just lay the folded bags on a cutting mat, preferably a measured mat, hold your straight edge on the width of your choice and make a cut with the rotary cutter. It makes the cutting alot quicker!

  5. Clare Selina says

    I’ve been using plarn to make Dorset Buttons and needed quite thin yarn so I cut 1 cm wide lengths of the flimsier type of carrier bag and used a home made drop spindle to spin the plarn. You need to allow it to relax afterwards or it just twists back on itself but you end up with a very thin raffia type effect yarn which is useful for weaving with and it’s surprisingly strong. I love experimenting with the plastic bags.

  6. says

    What you describe is amazing to me. I don’t spin, but ai understand the process. It never occurred to me that anyone would be able to spin with plarn. You are quite creative, clearly. Thanks so much for sharing your idea.

  7. JacqBrisbane says

    Jd,you say these backpacks are virtually indestructible. I wonder how long they actually last. Have you or any reader here have any personal experience of usage and durability?
    In Australia most plastic bags are now made of biodegrable materials, some are even made of corn husks on so on and other compostable materials. I fear it is not worth the sore wrists in our case!
    Personally I have been “saying no to plastic bags” since August 1981, when I moved to Alice Springs in Central Australia.
    I am a “mad recycler” and have used plarn, vhs, cassettes tapes etc, so please don’t take my reflections above as a criticism. Kudos to Bagsbegone.
    Yours in crochet And recycling :)

  8. says

    You raise a good point. More and more of the plastic bags that are widely used here are of the biodegradable type. The older bags – and many that are still available – are very durable. I’ve got a welcome mat at the entrance to my garage door that is many years old, crocheted of plastic bags. It’s quite durable, looks almost like it did the day it was first put into use, and can just be hosed off when it gets dirty.

    In many parts of India where Cristen of Bagsbegone does her teaching, plastic bags blow down the streets en masse. The clog up drains, get trapped in tree tops, and are unsightly. These are not the biodegradable type, unfortunately. I think Cristen would be happy to see the need for her classes to vanish with the demise of plastic bags. I suspect there will always be everyday items we can upcycle with crochet – like the cassette and vhs tapes – altho, those devices are now dinosaurs. I was informed today that even the recently minted CD’s and DVD’s are being discontinued in favor of all digital media. Rats! Another car radio deck becomes outdated.



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