Knitting with Plastic Grocery Bags

Kate Miller-Wilson
plastic bags

If you're looking for the ultimate "green" craft, why not try knitting with plastic grocery bags? Everyone has a stash of plastic grocery bags around the house, making them the ultimate affordable craft supply. You can use these bags to make everything from scarves to purses, and you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you're reusing an item that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Turning Plastic Bags into Yarn

Before you begin knitting with your old plastic bags, you'll need to turn them into yarn.

  1. Gather up all your plastic bags. Choose bags that are the color you want, and request that friends and family save bags in certain colors. You can use bags with and without handles.
  2. Make sure the bags are clean and dry. In necessary, wash them with mild soap and water to remove any food residue.
  3. Lay the first bag on a flat surface in front of you. Smooth out any creases.
  4. Use a pair of sharp scissors to cut the bag into strips that are about one inch wide.
  5. Carefully tie the strips together to create one long piece.
  6. Roll the plastic strip around itself to create a ball of yarn. If desired, twist the plastic gently as you roll it. You can use this yarn ball to create a knitted item.

Plastic Bag Knitting Projects

You can make almost anything with plastic grocery bag yarn. As with any new knitting technique, it's a good idea to start with something simple. Try some of the following resources for great plastic bag knitting patterns:

  • Cool Knits has a pattern for a red and white tote bag.
  • DIY Network offers instructions for making a recycled plastic carryall.
  • Craftster has directions for making sandals out of plastic bags.
  • AllFreeCrafts has instructions for making a reusable shopping bag out of old grocery bags.
  • My Recycled Bags offers tips for working with plastic bags and suggestions for fun projects.

Tips for Knitting with Plastic Grocery Bags

Although you can use standard knitting patterns to make projects with plastic bags, it's important to keep a few things in mind when working with this material:

  • Many plastic bag patterns call for knitting needles in a size 10 ½. If you're using a regular knitting pattern, experiment with different needle sizes to find the one that works best.
  • Keep plastic bag knitting projects away from pets. If an animal eats the strips of plastic, it can cause serious health issues.
  • Be gentle with the plastic strips and yarn. Once you've knitted them together, they'll be strong enough for regular use. However, the strips themselves are quite fragile.
  • Try incorporating other materials into your plastic bag projects. Consider adding ribbon or yarn for a fun, textured look.

Free "Green" Craft Materials

When you knit a project out of plastic grocery bags, you have the satisfaction of knowing you've created something special out of free craft materials. You'll also know that you're keeping dozens of plastic bags out of landfills. Whatever the color of your finished project, you'll know that you can call it "green."

Knitting with Plastic Grocery Bags