Making Plarn

Check out these instructions for making plarn (plastic yarn) from plastic grocery bags.

Thea Nortness Nov 30, 2020 - 2 min read

Making Plarn Primary Image

Thea Nortness’s Bags on a Budget in Handwoven January/February 2021 are woven with plarn weft. Photo by Matt Graves

Thea Nortness uses plarn weft in her Bags On a Budget featured in Handwoven, January/February 2021. This clever technique of creating a long strip of plastic from a tube could also be applied to other items, such as T-shirts, thereby making tarn. What other tubes might there be that you could make into long strips to weave with?Susan

Step 1. Lay the bag on a flat surface. Cut off the handles and bottom seam leaving a tube.


Step 2. With the tube flat, roll one of the folded edges toward the other folded edge but do not complete the roll; let the second folded edge extend beyond the roll by a couple of inches.


Step 3. With scissors, cut across the roll but not all the way to the second fold. Cut the strips about 1" wide.


Step 4. Unfurl the roll letting the strips dangle. Place your nondominant arm through the tube with the uncut fold at the top.


Step 5. Starting at the edge closest to your hand, cut at a diagonal from the edge across the top fold to the first cut. That first strip will drop, then cut across the fold at a diagonal to the second cut.


Step 6. Continue to cut until you have a long strip of plarn.


Illustrations by Ann Swanson

Thea Nortness is a retired operating-room nurse who lives and weaves in Port Orford, Oregon. She enjoys thinking outside the box and making constructive use of materials at hand.