Crocheting handmade throw rugs from plastic grocery bags.

Crocheting handmade throw rugs from plastic grocery bags.
Knitting and crocheting have always been a popular way of creating clothes, throws, socks, slippers, and even rugs can be handmade by crocheting them together. One popular rug that it often crocheted is the rag rug. To make a rag rug, cloth is cut into strips and then sewn together to make a long ball of material which can then be crocheted into a round or oval rug.
A similar thing which has become popular lately, is to use the plastic bags from grocery stores for either knitting or crocheting projects. This is done in a similar way as to what is done for rag rugs, in that the plastic shopping bag is folded and cut into strips (which are actually loops) and then put together in a chain and rolled into a ball of plastic yarn , called "plarn". Some people use the plarn all by itself, and a popular thing is to make it into hand bags and even sleeping mats for homeless people. There are sometimes groups of seniors who have time to make the sleeping mats who have regular sessions where they make the plarn and crochet it into the mats , which are then donated to homeless shelters.
What I like to do with plastic bags is to make little throw rugs, which last forever, can be washed and dried, and are practically indestructible. I use a skein of regular yarn along with the plarn, and this adds a lot more color to the crocheted throw rug. When I have spare time (usually in the cold winter months) I will spend an evening cutting and rolling my lasting bags into balls of plarn, and then I use scraps of regular yarn that were leftover from some project, and crochet this into a colorful throw rug. If you can crochet at all, this is a simple way to make throw rugs, and also to use up some of those plastic grocery bags that are sitting around the house.


I have a wall hanging here of a rug my grandmother made by crocheting bread wrappers. Currently, bread wrappers are just clear plastic, but in times gone by they used to be made of colored materials. This is a colorful rug and one I really like because my grandmother made it. It is one of my favorite things actually. I love it, and she did a great job on it!
Posted by kgord on 08-12-2017
Your grandmother must have been of the first people to try and crochet with plastic wrap, and I bet that it was a pretty rug, and very durable as well. Now that you mention it, I remember that bread wrappers were colorful back when I was a kid ! Wonderbread was white with all of those red, blue, and yellow polka dots all over it. Then , there was Roman Meal, and it was decorated with a colorful Roman Soldier . What other ones do you recognize from your grandmother's rug, Kgord ? I have tried using bread wrappers; but like you mentioned, most bread wrappers are just plain, clear wrappers, with thee name of the bread and nothing much else. I always seem to have enough of the plastic grocery bags that I do not bother with the smaller ones. I have made slippers knitted with a strand of yarn and a strand of plastic yarn, and they are really soft and cozy, too. The little dog beds that I made for the dogs are a great favorite of the dogs, and my Chipper likes to lay on top of the rug as I have it in my lap to crochet it.
Posted by Happyflowerlady on 08-12-2017
I like the idea that you can completely turn one waste into a whole new product, the best part is you will not recognise from where the product came from up until some one gave time to explain it to you. This is what you can call re-purposed at it's best. I like to recycle stuff that is why this grabbed my attention. Who ever's idea is this, keep the innovative ideas flowing and go forth and multiply.
Posted by Neiltarquin on 08-12-2017
I have seen many of these ideas on Pinterest. There are so many projects you can make using this method with the plastic bags. My sister crochets items and sells them, but I don't think she has ever tried this. I like your idea of using scrap yarn with the plarn to make it more colorful. I wish I was more into crocheting so I could make one of these rugs, but I just don't have the patience to sit down and finish a project.
Posted by morgoodie on 08-12-2017
That is very interesting. I never knew rugs can be made with plastic. That is a great way of recycling the plastic to use! I have never tried knitting or crocheting looks too complex for me but one day! It'd be easier if I knew someone physically who could help me.
Posted by simplym on 08-12-2017
I wish to learn crocheting back then but as a guy, it would give the impression to everyone else that I am feminine and that would give them ideas. I just want to be able to make knit dolls out of my favorite game characters or caps that would be designed based on video games. I really think that being able to crochet using plastic bags is another step for recycling improvement and it is just great especially for countries that encourage recycling.
Posted by giovanniiiii on 08-13-2017
Wow, that is seriously creative. I love things like this... They are so out of the box and actually good for our environment. There are so many grocery bags that we throw away every day or that we have sitting all around our house.

Now we can finally put them to some use and turn them into a new product.

Do you think that a beginner would be able to do this? I really want to attempt this and find some video tutorial. I am just afraid that I will fail miserably, haha. Thank you again for such a good idea.
Posted by Mehano on 08-13-2017
I do think that even a beginner could make these little rugs. You would first need to learn how to crochet; but there are a lot of tutorial websites and youtube videos that can help you learn. Also, some of the arts and crafts stores, such as Hobby Lobby, have craft classes, where you can make a beginner project and have an actual teacher to help you learn the skill of crocheting. If you know someone who crochets, that might be the best way to learn. The throw rugs that I make are made with a basic crochet stitch , so once a person learned how to do that, youcould advance to making simple projects like this rug. To make mats for homeless people is even easier because you just crochet back and forth and not around in a circle/oval like the throw rugs.
Posted by Happyflowerlady on 08-13-2017
The final product is an amazing display of creativity. These rugs are a useful transformation of a complete waste product. I would suggest that you should make a DIY video of the process and upload it to the channels like YouTube and Dailymotion. A well-made video can act as a good source of income.

Crocheting is always fun to do. I learned this from my mother. Though I'm not as creative and talented like her still, I do a fairly good job.
Posted by amitkokiladitya on 08-13-2017
I prefer crochet rugs which are colorful and you can handmade them by using old fabrics or yarn. There are videos at Youtube that you can follow. My mother in law makes her own rugs by sewing up patches of fabrics that formed a beautiful rug. The point is you need to think of the pattern first before crochet or sewing. Furthermore fabric type prevent slip and fall especially of marble floor.
Posted by peachpurple on 08-13-2017
Jonathan Solomon
Nice article! To begin, I immediately love this for it's recycling purposes of old plastic grocery bags and wrappers. Second, the designs you can pattern are really creative, in my opinion. My mother does crocheting in her spare time. I never really grew up with my grandmother, but I do know my mom learned it from her. I've tried my hand at crocheting and I'm not too bad, but it can be tedious and I need to take my time more. Nevertheless, I love the effort you and other seniors put into making each and every piece!
Posted by Jonathan Solomon on 08-13-2017
They seem to be good to use immediately. Also the amount of efforts to be used or taken for the grocery are good. I am not sure if the plastic used in such case is usable or not. But based on what I have found out it seems to be good enough on many ways. I guess we just have to see how that works out in many ways. There seems to be some good bags on etsy too. So for that I say it's good.
Posted by overcast on 08-13-2017
Personally, I'm not a big fan of recycling art. But I can't deny that this is indeed a good idea and it sends a nice message to the world. It sets a good example. If it can be done with plastic bags then it certainly can be done with other items as well like tires, paper, used electronics and so on. If everybody took part the environment would thank us all for sure.
Posted by Marvadaum on 08-13-2017
This is really cool, and until this forum, I have never heard of this before. What a creative, yet practical, way to recycle. Also, you are not only recycling, but you are creating art, and an heirloom or artifact. Furthermore, doing this, you take what would have just been an object of garbage and transform it into an experience for yourself where you can meditatively express your crafting abilities.
Posted by JoeMilford on 08-13-2017
This is amazing, creative and eco- friendly as it involves recycling of old plastic bags into beautiful handy craft work. It seems like there are quite a few "plarn rings" out there actually, lol. Lots of people and companies seem to be engaged in the crochet/knitting as there is obviously a demand for the craft. There are also companies like Ravelry and Crochetville that pay anything from 30$ to 150$ to people even from home to provide this service. Well one man's old plastic bags are really another man's plarn in this case! You can really find the strangest things in the strangest places. Perhaps the story of Rapunzel was not entirely a fairy tale but there may have been some adjustments to suit the fairy tale fervor. Perhaps the princess was locked in a tower where there were lots of old plastic bags or whatever could have been used at the time to knit a rope. Maybe the prince used a code word or phrase "Let down your hair" to represent the crochet/ knitted rope that the princess used to escape from the tower! Rumpelstiltskin may have been one of the first professional knitter who's handy work was so good that folks may have ideologized that his handy work was like turning straw into gold! Wow, the world can be a clever little knit shop by which to avail countless ideas that spark the imagination and we really need to get knit with it sometimes!
Posted by Joteque on 08-13-2017
I love crocheting! I first learned to crochet when I was eight years old, my great-grandmother taught me. My first project was a small apron made from light pink yarn. It was a little wonky looking, but I was only eight and just learning. Over the years I crocheted many things... purses, scarves, blankets, summer tops and even a couple dresses. All of this without actually knowing how to read crochet patterns! When my GG taught me to crochet, she did so without books or patterns, so I just learned through memory and how to make up putting together the stitches I knew. However, I wanted to learn how to follow patterns, so finally a few years ago I taught myself one winter how to read the patterns and follow them. Crocheting is one of my favorite ways to make presents for friends and family because in my social circle, very few other people know how to crochet, so when they receive crocheted presents it's a little magical and nostalgic to them. I'm always looking for new projects to try. Though I've heard of crocheting with plastic bags, I haven't tried it yet. I do love the idea though because I am really big into reusing things rather than just throwing them away. However, I mostly use handmade fabric bags for shopping, so we really don't have very many plastic bags for me to give this a try with.
Posted by this_free_spirit on 08-13-2017
I definitely think that this is an interesting idea. I love the fact that it's all about taking something that would normally be thrown out and left to litter our environment, and turning it into something useful and beautiful. That being said, I'm not sure if I would want to make throw rugs out of it. I don't know how one of these rugs would feel on your feet but I somehow think that it wouldn't be all that great. That being said, I'm definitely open to recycling and am glad people are getting creative with it.
Posted by Denis_P on 08-14-2017
Educative post but I don't crochet because it's female that does it in my town.My Junior sister is very good at it, she is so creative and makes every thing so beautiful. Last year she sent me a pair of socks she crochets as a gift, it's so beautiful with different designs. Crocheting is very good because you are transforming things that people have already thought it's useless into a useful product.
Posted by Gettingmile on 08-14-2017
This is a great idea to recycle all of those plastic bags we all end up with. I think it would make a great rug for outside in front of your door or maybe even near a pool. I don't know how to crochet so I can't make one for myself!
Posted by BigDreamer on 08-14-2017
Well done. I absolutely love upcycling, and you are clearly very good at it. This is cute and colorful, and very useful. So much better than filling up landfills. So creative too. I am working on a reuseable plastic shopping bag from plastic shopping bag scraps, lol. The ultimate in recycling/reusing/upcycling. Keep up the good work.
Posted by Zyni on 08-14-2017
Thank you , Zyni, (made sure spellcheck didn't spoil your name this time when I wasn't looking ! ) and I think that recycling anything that we can is very important. I really love how soft these little rugs turn out, and each time you wash and dry them, they just get softer. You would think that the plastic would make them "crunchy" but it doesn't do that, it just makes the rugs indestructible. We have some that we have had from when I first learned how to make them, about 4-5 years ago, and they are still just the same as they were at first. The fringe on the edges does wear out, and when that happens, I just pull off the fringe and make new fringe around the edge, and then it looks like a brand new rug again. When I have more bags than I can use, I recycle them to the thrift shop or another place that can use the bags. Even Walmart takes them and then sends them back to be made into new bags; so when a person does something to recycle them, the bags do not end up in the landfills.
Posted by Happyflowerlady on 08-14-2017
Crocheting rugs with plastic grocery bags. I'm not against it. I think it's a great way to recycle. But I certainly don't have the patience to undertake such a project. :)
Posted by cmoneyspinner on 08-14-2017
rose thornes
This a good idea to recycle and reduced plastic. I remember making this in school projects but now I totally forgot how. Its time consuming but when you see the finish product its very rewarding.
Posted by rose thornes on 08-14-2017
I have never seen a crocheted rag made from plastic grocery bags. The way I imagine it, it is beautiful. Though correct me if I am wrong, it cannot serve its purpose well since it cannot absorb water, so it's not nice as a rag. But as an accessory at home, it will be nice. Although, I have seen bags made of plastic grocery bags and they look nice.
Posted by SimplyD on 08-15-2017
Great post, @Happyflowerlady. Those are some other good ways to recycle the bags as well. I also like to make scrubbers out of them. They are tough enough to scub a pan but soft enough to avoid scratching it. Maybe smaller projects like this will work better for those who don't have the time or patience to do a rug. I'm definitely making a rug once I finish up some other projects.
Posted by Zyni on 08-15-2017
I like Crocheting with my hands I remember when my grand mother tought me to crochet she was Like hey Clara would you like me to teach you something about my hobby, Then I got attracted by multiple colours, Crocheting is good creativity especialy when it involves multiple colours theg make the item more appealing though They are time consuming but when you do that to sell them it's worthy the time.
Posted by Clara1993 on 08-17-2017
In our culture, men are never taught knit and crochet. Knitting and crocheting are always thought to be women's work. However, these days women also do not take interest in Knitting and crocheting. My mother is good with Knitting and crocheting, however, my sisters never learned to knit and corchet. My wife also does not how to knit and crochet. Upcyclying plastic grocery gabs by Knitting and crocheting is a great idea, I have seen people do this, however, I have no desire to learn this.
Posted by vinaya on 08-30-2017
Wow, this is very interesting and very economical from you. It's really a thing to posses such talent and skills. They say nothing good comes easy and knitting is one them.

To actually seat in one confined place for a long period of time knitting until you get such rug is very wonderful. And to really makes it from a total waste products is another interesting angle of it. I wish I could posses such valuable skill as it's wonderful and cool.

I am pretty sure that it would fetch someone a reasonable amount of money if you really dedicate your time and energy into it.
Posted by Heatman on 09-07-2017
I admire people who are very creative when it comes to waste items that can be reused. We have a lady senator who organized a handicraft business for the unemployed women here. One of their products is the bag that is made from dried water lily. Just like that old plastic grocery bags used to make rugs, the water lily bags were sold for a good price. With durability, it was proven already because water lily when dried makes for a strong fiber that can last for years.
Posted by Corzhens on 02-23-2018