It’s Monday again, everyone! Last week, I had talked about plarn and the people who have been using it to make mats for the homeless. After writing the post, I realized that there was something I wasn’t sure of. How many bags does it take to make a sleeping mat for a homeless person? I have been cutting up plastic bags and have lost count of how many I’ve cut up, but I knew it wasn’t enough. Instead of Googling the answer, I went back to trusty ol’ Facebook to ask if anyone had made some. Two people responded to my inquiry. One woman said that the last ball she had made had 200 bags worth of plarn, cut up into thin strands, which made 2 1/2 mats! Another woman said that in one mat she makes, it takes about 400 bags. So in total honesty, it depends on how thinly you cut the bags. Now, as promised, I’ll show you how to start making your own plarn!
First things first, gather up your plastic bags! If you are like me, you probably have a stash somewhere, with a large amount of crumpled plastic bags. I like to lay out my plastic bags in a pile and try to place a heavy book or something on them to get them flat, because that makes things easier for me. While doing this, I also check for bags with holes, because we can’t have holes in the bags, or else this plarning method won’t work. For the tutorial’s sake, I’m only doing one bag. (But to be honest, there’s a whole pile being flattened in my room right now!)
Our second step is to take the bag, and fold it. Make sure you fold multiple times, this helps so that you do not have as much cutting per strip to do. Notice in the bag below how the handles are together and the part at the bottom of the bag (where the bag is kind of sealed together) are folded in on themselves. This is important for the next step!
Now, we are going to cut off the handles of the bag, and the bottom of the bag that is sealed closed. Try not to cut too much of the rest of the bag off with these areas, so that you are not wasting the part of the bag that can be used for the plarn. Also, keep in mind that you can recycle these parts of the bag! If you were to open the main part of this bag right now (you could, but I don’t because cutting is easier if it is still folded up), you get a loop of plastic bag.
Now that you have your plastic bag loop, cut it into one- to two- inch strips. This creates smaller plastic bag loops. Other ways you could do this would be to skip the folding from step two and use a cutting mat with a rotary cutter (or even a pizza cutter, according to one of the responders to my plarn inquiry on Facebook) to cut the ends and these strips as well.
Finally, we are going to tie the bags together. The best way I have seen for this is to lay the loops overlapping (as seen in Step Four: Photo A) and pull one loop through itself (as seen in Step Four: Photo B) to create a knot. Just make sure you do not pull too hard once the knot is made, because that may stretch the plastic and make the plarn thinner.
Continue step four until you have enough plarn to start, and add more loops as you go along.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, happy plarning!!