The Ultimate Plastic Bag

This swish looking number will complement any day-time wear with its shiny white veneer and practical trim size. Made from strips cut from plastic bags, this bag is not just functional. It helps the environment as well!

I have always had a crafty project on the go. Two unfinished tapestries have spanned decades but I will get back to them. I really will!

My latest craze involves the plastic bags that make their way into my home. I read an article in Grass Roots (Issue 185 Feb/Mar 2008) that described making garden hats by knitting strips from plastic bags. When I noticed a small stash of plastic bags accumulating in my cupboard I decided to test out the theory. 

For my first plastic project I made crocheted squares reminiscent of the granny rugs that I have made in the past along with cushions in the same design. Some plastic bags with an elongated shallow shape turned out to be a perfect fit. From each bag I ended up with a long strip of plarn (plastic yarn) that was enough to make up a 7 row square with some left over to help finish off the bag. 

It turns out there is an art to cutting a plastic bag into strips. I cut diagonally into the top edge of the bag and proceeded to cut one long strip circling around the bag until I reached the base of the bag. Then I used that long strip to make the 12cm crocheted square that was perfect for the bag I wanted to create. 

In addition to this technique there are web pages suggesting folding the bag lengthwise and cutting into strips. These strips can be looped together and then crocheted as normal. This didn't suit me as it felt too bulky for the small metal crochet hook that I use.

Another technique is to fold the bag lengthwise after trimming off the handles and base and then cut strips almost all the way across while leaving a narrow margin at the top. Cutting diagonally across the narrow margins results in a long strip like the one that I achieved. This is the technique that I will use for plastic bags such as those available from the supermarket.

I look at these plastic bags now with new eyes and am really happy when I receive new ones. Each piece that I receive leaves me wondering how I can make use of it. My family is so impressed that I have already received two requests for Christmas or birthday presents. 

I have read on the internet that this past-time can become addictive. If this is true then I suspect plastic bags are about to undergo a revival. However I won't be rushing to buy more plastic bags as the benefit with this little project is using up those second-hand plastic bags that we all have in our cupboards. So for me if it is not used plastic, then it is not for me!

Postscript: I have now completed two more plastic creations that I have blogged about here with a subsequent bag here, and instructions are here.


Snake said...

Wow! I've heard of ironing plastic bags together to make them thicker and sewing them into a larger, more durable bag to use for markets etc (though I am yet to try it) - but this is really genius! What a great beach bag!

Tarah said...


I've heard about sewing plastic bags together as well but haven't tried it yet. This is easier for me when I'm sitting in front of the TV. This bag is quite small, around 20-22 cms wide, but I could make a bigger one that can hold a towel.