The Ultimate Guide to Plarn

What is Plarn?

You may have heard the term ‘plarn’ in your crafting circles, but had no idea what it meant. Don’t worry, the first time I heard it I was completely baffled. I was so confused as to what this term meant that I didn’t stop to actually think about it. Plarn means plastic yarn. It’s just a cute little smooshy of the two words put together.

It’s made by laying plastic bags lengthwise and cutting them into long strips which are then tied together into a long single strand. You can find videos on YouTube and tutorials all over the Internet on just how to cut it and string it all together.

What is Plarn good for?

Plarn can be used to replace regular, costly yarn and is very environmentally friendly. It is great for making sturdy items, such as:

  • Doormats
  • Reusable tote bags
  • Purses
  • Baskets

It can also be used for regular crocheting or knitting projects. You can make cute little Plarn amigurumi buddies and decorative items.

My favorite idea for plarn is bedrolls or sleeping mats for the homeless. A lot of us want to help the poor, but we ourselves can barely get by and don’t have much to give. However, a lot of us go grocery shopping, and you know what you get when you do that?

Plastic bags.

Instead of throwing them away, why not take a little time out of your day and make something for another human being that will improve certain aspects of their lives?

We all know how sleep affects our day to day life. If you get little sleep or are cold throughout the night, chances are you won’t be feeling the greatest the next morning. It impacts so many parts of life. Now, can you imagine what it’s like to sleep on the cold, hard ground night after night for months or years?

This project would be so immensely impactful for many people who can’t afford a bed or a roof over their heads. In my book, that’s something worth doing.

Why should I use Plarn instead of regular yarn?

Normal yarn is soft and comes in multiple different colors, which makes it more appealing. But did you realize that plastic bags can also come in plenty of beautiful colors? Our brains are so programmed to equate plastic bags with trash because, well, that’s what they’re used for a lot of the time. We use garbage bags that are made from plastic. Some of us even save our plastic grocery bags to use for garbage later on. Or they just go straight into the trash can once you get home. Why would we think to look at the colors of a potential garbage bag and think they look pretty?

Plarn can actually be very beautiful in a simplistic way. Many bags are white with a store’s logo on them, which are quite colorful. Once you cut it up and string it together. Boom. You have a new, 100% recycled ball of multicolored plastic yarn.

Recycling turns things into other things. Which is like magic.


Instead of equating the grocery bags, or plastic bags, with trash, we can start to see a new use for them. We can use plarn to make new items! Think about it. Instead of buying reusable bags from the store, you can use the plastic bags you have at home to make a reusable tote or market bag for little to no cost.

Why shouldn’t I just throw away my plastic bags instead?

Okay, I know this isn’t directly related to plarn, but it is about plastic bags and what happens to many of them if we don’t reuse or recycle them.

Did you know that the average American family takes home 1,500 plastic bags a year? That’s a lot of plastic. And only 1% is recycled. Most of them end up in the garbage, which is usually taken to a landfill.

Research says that 80% of the waste in the ocean enters from land it kills up to 100,000 marine animals in one year. Just take a minute to think about all the cute little turtles and fish and seahorses that die because of our doing…

A Summary of Plarn

By using our plastic bags to make plarn, we have the potential to save so many creatures in our world. It’s not just marine life that’s affected, but all life. It makes a huge difference to reuse and recycle our plastic bags. We can get stuck in the cycle of getting plastic bags, using them once, throwing them away, and then starting all over again. Why not use them to make a tote bag so you don’t need anymore, or using them to make sleeping mats for homeless people?

All in all, plarn projects can be so satisfying to make, it positively affects our environment, and it can improve many people’s lives.

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