Home #dogoodstuff How to make Dyed Plarn and Save the Planet

How to make Dyed Plarn and Save the Planet

by Brandy Burke
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I probably never would have tried Dyed Plarn but, Covid-19 made me do it. Since Covid-19 struck, we’ve been having to order our groceries through Shipt. I’m so thankful for the service that allows me to stay home and have my groceries delivered to my door – but the one caveat to that is that the groceries arrive in plastic bags. I can’t very well ask them to come to pick up my reusable bags before shopping 🙂

This has led to a big wad of plastic bags in the pantry and a big pit of guilt in my stomach. Several of our local stores “recycle” plastic bags, but I’m always a little hesitant to believe that everything I drop in my bins (or take back to the store) actually gets repurposed into the world. This comes from working for a trash corporation many, many years ago.

I’ve always wanted to try to make plain, but I shop at stores that have plain white bags with obnoxious logos on them – and honestly, who wants a rug or a scarf or a weird plarn bowl that says “save 24 hours a day” on it…

So I set out to add some color, doing a bit of research first and I double heart eyes how it turned out.

How To Make Dyed Plarn

What you need to make Dyed Plarn

How to Dye Plarn

I always set out jolly on a project and then realize about 10 minutes in that I’m ready to be done with it. Can you relate? With 20 white plastic bags and 50 markers staring at me, I thought it would take hours upon hours to color them – but it didn’t. I think I got them colored in about one hour.

Instead of fully coloring a bag (which I’m sure you can do for a much different result) I scribbled a tight wavey line horizontally across the bag making three to four different colors on a bag – be sure to flip it over and do the back as well as the sides of the bag (but hey, if you forget this step, no one will be able to tell, it will just cause a portion of your plarn to be white.

I set all of my bags to the side to dry and allowed them to dry an hour or so just to be sure I wouldn’t be a painted person once I was finished working with the pieces.

How To Cut Plarn

Once everything was colored and very dry, I set out to cut the plarn into strips so that I could join it into a big ball of plastic fun.

Start by folding your sides in, the way that the bag naturally folds. Don’t worry about everything being in perfect alignment, it’s not going to happen, and you’re not going to notice.

How to fold a dyed plarn bag to cut it
Hey, ignore my messy mat. I don’t believe in cleaning up after myself in the craft room.

Next fold the bag in half vertically, and then in half again and smooth the bag out (there’s a lot of air in them still).

How to cut dyed plarn

Trim the bottom seam and the handles off of the bag. This pained me because I didn’t have a use for them, but in the end, it was a fraction of the waste and I was reassured by that.

how to cut the handles off of a dyed plarn bag

Finally, I just sliced the bags in one-inch pieces all the way down the bag.

how to trim the dyed plarn into one inch strips

Joining Dyed Plarn

in the end, you’ll be left with hundreds of 1″ loops of colored plastic. Sounds fun, right? Some people cut these loops to make one long strip by plastic bags are thin and I wanted a bit more substance, so I kept them as loops to add more substance. Take the two loops and overlap them, then create a knot.

Now, while binging your favorite Netflix show, you just sit and knot all the yarn together, and roll it into a nice big, beautiful dyed plarn ball.

Great. Now, What Can I Use Plarn For?

Plarn can be used for nearly anything you’d use regular yarn for, but I can’t imagine wanting plarn socks or a plarn sweater. I’ve listed some of my favorite ideas below.

  • Plarn Rug
  • Plarn Bowl
  • Plarn Waste Basket
  • Plarn Place Mats
  • Plarn Table Runner
  • Plarn Storage Bin
  • Plarn Tote Bag
  • Plarn Plastic Bag Holder (I love this irony)

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