Crochet a Rug Out of Plastic Bags

All you need is a crochet hook and several plastic bags to create a colorful rug.

| September/October 1972

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    Recycle plastic bread bags into a unique rug.
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    Simple crochet stitches are easy to learn.

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Click on the Image Library to see the illustrated figures referred to in the article. 

Making something pretty and useful with your own hands brings out a feeling of pride and accomplishment . . . especially when that new item is constructed of "trash" that would otherwise have been thrown away. Additionally, in this day of inflated prices, it's a real discovery to find a worthwhile craft material that doesn't cost a cent. And finally, it's always satisfying to find a way—however small—to solve the mounting problems of waste disposal.

I find that I can blend an interesting home craft with a small attack on both inflation and today's pollution problem by recycling throwaway bread wrappers into soft, cushiony, crocheted rugs. The finished floor coverings are ideal for protecting the bathroom floor by the tub or under the sink and are just as good for other uses, both in and outside the house. My husband, for instance, made off with one of my four-foot circular throws before I ever had a chance to spread it in front of the kitchen sink (I'd made the rug just for that spot, too). The mat, he says, is perfect for lying on when he works under the car and it has now become a permanent part of his equipment.

There's nothing complicated about preparing the bread wrappers for crocheting. Start at the open end of each empty bag and cut a continuous spiral—about an inch wide—around and around the sack until you reach the part that's glued together on the other end (this small remaining piece is all the waste you'll have to throw away). The beginning and end of each strip should taper to a point (Fig. 1).

One tool—a single metal crochet hook of the size used for rug yarn—is the only equipment you'll need to turn even the biggest stack of wrapper spirals into durable and colorful floor coverings. Do make sure that hook is metal, though, because plastic ones have a tendency to stick to the wrappers.

Start with a Bread Bag

Your first step in making a bread wrapper rug of any size will be to fold one of the inch-wide strips right down the middle so that it's only one half inch wide (the finished floor covering will be more colorful if you turn the printed side of the plastic out). Next lay the crochet hook down and pass the end of the ribbon under and around the widest part of the hook's handle or shaft and securely tie the strip with a double knot. (NOTE: the ribbon is not actually tied to the shaft . . . instead, the handle is used as a "spacer" around which the beginning loop of your rug's chain stitch is formed and knotted.)

Janice Sanchez-Arteaga
8/4/2012 11:16:57 PM

I would love to see the finished project. I have a potential unlimited supply of PLARN and would love to keep it out of the landfill. My crochet ability is mediocre, but I am willing to try.

Janice Sanchez-Arteaga
8/4/2012 11:16:25 PM

I would love to see the finished project. I have a potential unlimited supply of PLARN and would love to keep it out of the landfill. My crochet ability is mediocre, but I am willing to try. I am a kniiting kind of girl and I can't see knitting a rug

gm morgan
7/25/2012 1:38:29 PM

I have been making potscrubbers out of plastic bags for awhile now. I crochet cotton yarn the same way, attach them to each other and keep 2 plastic grocery bags out of the landfill. You can see them at PLARN (plastic bag yarn) is a great material to work with and is much tougher than you'd think. And there are HIDDEN benefits - my SO actually ENJOYS washing dishes now! teehee!



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