How to crochet with reused plastic bags

Today I had the pleasure of meeting a friend of mine’s mothers. One of them pulled out a bag she was crocheting, and told us with pride that she had made it from reused plastic bags… in this case, newspaper bags (at the top) and grocery bags (forming the bottom). The thing is quite sturdy and remarkably ingenious. She of course demurred and has pointed out that she’s not the first to do this. But we were super excited and she graciously let us photograph the process of making plastic yarn.

First, she takes a plastic bag (a clean one, she points out) and cuts off the top and bottom, throwing these bits into the recycling.

Then she rolls the bag length-wise, making it easier to cut.

She cuts the rolled up bag, which leaves her with loops of plastic.

Then she loops the bags through each other, like you link rubber bands onto each other. This leaves her with a long line of plastic that she rolls into a ball like yarn.

16 thoughts on “How to crochet with reused plastic bags”

  1. I taught students to make these bags through the seventies and eighties. My mother still uses a bag she made then. try it with old sheets and shirts and old favourite clothing pieces. You might be able to tell the stories of your fabric pieces to your grandchildren.

  2. Absolutely brilliant! I knew people were crocheting and knitting with plastic but I haven’t had time to figure out how to make the yarn. This is excellent how you have shown step-by-step how to make the yarn. It’s great to see the example of the bag she’s working on. These would be great for making reusable shopping carry bags.

    Thank you, and your friend’s mom, so much!

  3. Last night my son got on the commputer and found out how to crochet. Today he already has a hat over 1/2 done! Can’t wait to share this with him…. awesome!!!!!!!!! I’m so glad I “stumbled” upon you!!!! Thanks so much!

  4. Just a word to the wise. Having done seveal of these, I suggest using a Large plaatic crochet hook. It you use a metal hook (as shown) you will find the plastic “yarn” slides around uncomfortably.


  5. Man, this looks so fun, awesome idea. I wish I hadn’t used the last of my plastic bags weaving that rug. But in case I get hold of some more, how exactly do you link rubber bands to one another, I’ve never seen anyone do it?

  6. I used to think this was a good idea until the data on plastic came in. Pthalates are used to soften plastic for bags and they break down when heat is applied. The hands holding a heavy shopping bag all the way home is a perfect way to introduce these false estrogens in our systems, where they stockpile in our fatty cells and mimic an overabundance of estrogen, leaving us with all manner of maladies… not good… google Pthalates for more info… and cover the handles in cloth if you want to upcycle plastic AND protect yourself at the same time…

  7. Oh paleeeease. Please do Google it and go to somewhere like John Hopkins were you’l find some real science.

    Oh and the bag is cool and free and I have no doubt perfectly safe to carry.

  8. I would totally do this in a heartbeat, but we reuse those bags at our shop. We go thru them fast enough that I know my partner would have a caniption if I wanted to use only a hundred to make one really coole one. Men never understand!

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