Upcycled Plarn Grocery Tote Pattern

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Some of you may remember my tutorial last week on how to make plarn and were left wondering what on earth to do with it next.  So I thought I would put together a quick and easy grocery tote pattern to get you started on your plarny journey.

Plarn Grocery Tote Pattern

Here’s what you need:

  • Plarn made from approx. 40-45 plastic bags (see here for a tutorial on making plarn)
  • N hook
  • tapestry needle

Click here to reference the Crochet Abbreviations Chart.

Finished bag measures approx. 15 in. × 12 in.


Ch 12, turn.

Foundation Round: 2 hdc in 3rd chain from hook (counts as 3 st) and 1 hdc in next 8 ch, work 5 hdc in last ch, working along opposite side of the chain, work 1 hdc in the next 8 ch, 2 hdc in last ch, join with a Sl st in top of beginning ch-2 — 26 sts.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1st hdc), 2 hdc in same st as join, 2 hdc in next st, 1hdc in each of the next 10 sts, 2 hdc in next, 3 hdc in next, 2 hdc in next, 1 hdc in each of the next 10 sts, 2 hdc in last st, join with a Sl st in top of beginning ch-2 — 34 sts.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1st hdc), 1 hdc in same st as join, 3 hdc in next st, 2 hdc in next, 1hdc in each of the next 14 sts, 2 hdc in next, 3 hdc in next, 2 hdc in next, 1 hdc in each of the next 14 sts, join with a Sl st in top of beginning ch-2 — 42 sts.

Round 3: Ch 2 (counts as 1st hdc), 1 hdc in each st around, do not join (work in a spiral from here on; use a stitch marker to keep track of rounds) — 42 sts.

Round 4: 1 hdc in top of ch-2 from previous round and in each st around, do not join — 42 sts.

Round 5: 1 hdc in top of first hdc from previous round and in each st around, do not join — 42 sts.

Rounds 6 through 22: Repeat Round 5.

Round 23: 1 hdc in first 13 sts, ch 23, skip next 8 sts, 1 hdc in each of the next 13 sts, ch 23, skip next 8 sts — 72 sts.

Round 24: 1 hdc in top of first st from previous round and in each of the next 12 sts, work 38 sc over ch-23 to cover, 1 hdc in each of the next 13 sts, 38 sc over ch-23 — 102 sts.

Round 25: 1 sc in each of the next 2 sts from the previous round, Sl st in next st to join.

Fasten off, weave in ends, and enjoy!

The great thing about this bag, aside from the positive effects on the environment from reusing your plastic bags, is how surprisingly durable it is and that it can be washed in warm soapy water, air-dried, and be used again and again.

Plarny Yarn Creations

And just in case you are left thinking that plarn items need to be boring, I just had to show you these items made by Lynn from Plarny Yarn Creations.  They are so much fun!

I told you they were fun!  Lynn has been crocheting since she was 11 years old.  Many more of her creations can be found on her Facebook page. And she has some exciting things happening … keep an eye out for some all new designs both on Facebook and her blog!

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59 Responses to Upcycled Plarn Grocery Tote Pattern

  1. Cranberry Morning January 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    Great idea! I’ve got to send this on to my daughter who crochets. 🙂 Thanks for the pattern.

    • Kara at Petals to Picots January 12, 2012 at 3:24 am #

      Thank you Judy! I hope she enjoys it! You’ll have to let me know what she thinks 🙂

  2. Sass - aka - Kathy January 11, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    What a great project! Won’t you consider sharing it with my readers at sassafrassalvation.blogspot.com/2012/01/architectural-salvage-jewelry.html. Thanks! Happy New Year!

  3. Michelle Johnnie January 12, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Oh this is so cool! I am totally sharing this with my readers! I am featuring this today at somedaycrafts.blogspot.com. Grab my “featured’ button.

  4. Emerald Hills January 12, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    Just curious… how strong are they? other wise i think this is really an amazing idea.

    • Kara at Petals to Picots January 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

      They are actually surprisingly strong. One website ) did a strength test using a bowling ball! While I don’t think I would recommend it for toting around a bowling ball (LOL ;), it can definitely handle your groceries 🙂

  5. Trish - Mom On Timeout January 13, 2012 at 3:49 am #

    I pinned this! So cute and seriously sometimes I feel like I am overrun with plastic bags. Surprising considering I have TONS of fabric totes that I bring to the store. Thanks so much for sharing at Taking A Timeout Thursday!

  6. Hani@Craftionary January 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    I can not believe its plastic.. Kara it’s so neat and a spectacular idea.. I especially love the fact that it’s Green..
    Thanks so much for linking at Craftionary..
    P.S: I just pinned it.. 🙂

  7. Karla Medina January 13, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    Love this!! Thanks for the tutorial. I’m going to have to try this sometime. 🙂

  8. JoAn January 14, 2012 at 2:15 am #

    I made a wood carrier out of plarn and it works great. I can carry a lot of wood in at once instead of one or two at a time.

    • Kara at Petals to Picots January 16, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

      What a great idea! I would love to see it. Do you have a pic you could show?

    • Dee August 2, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

      What a great idea, do you have a pattern to share or just wind it?

  9. Cameron Meerdink January 17, 2012 at 3:58 am #

    This is so awesome – I pinned it AND the tutorial on how to make Plarn – putting this on my to-do list!

  10. Bethany January 18, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    What size crochet hook did you use? Maybe I overlooked it in the directions but I can’t seem to find it. And will it work like yarn in the sense that if I want a bigger bag I can just use a bigger hook instead of a whole new pattern. I am very anxious to make plarn and make this bag!

    • Kara at Petals to Picots January 18, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

      Hi Bethany, I used an N hook for this bag. If you use a bigger hook, you will get a bigger bag, but if you go too much bigger, there will be more space in the stitches, which is fine if that is the look you want. You can also start off with a longer beginning chain to make the bag wider. Let me know how you make out with your bag 🙂

  11. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. January 18, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    I was so looking forward to this post! After you added a new word to my vocabulary last week, I was anxious to see what came next! These bags are just so much fun! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Jessica @ My World - Made By Hand January 18, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    We bought a bag similar to this at a boutique a while back. She made with it plastic table cloths. My little DIVA loves it…it’s great for taking the pool because it just dries and doesn’t get moldy! I’m so glad to see a tutorial on it. Thanks for linking to Totally Tutorial Tuesdays 🙂

  13. The Lovely Mrs. P January 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    Hi Kara,
    I wanted to let you know I posted a follow up on your Plarn on this weeks linky party! I would love it if you would stop by and link up again!

  14. sazamom January 19, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    This is a really amazing project.I have to try this! Wow this is so neat! New follower!

  15. Tracy-CraftJunkieToo January 20, 2012 at 12:48 am #

    Hi and thanks for sharing your fabulous project on last week’s T.G.I.F. Linky Party at Craft Junkie Too. CONGRATS it was 2nd most viewed linky. 🙂 Woot! Woot! Stop by and grab the Top 3 button for your blog. 🙂
    Stop by again when you can…


  16. Rebecca Heron January 22, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    This is awesome! The result looks so professional! Thansk for sharing! Happy weekend!

  17. Serendipity and Spice January 23, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

    What a great idea for recycling all those grocery bags. I always get so upset when I forget my reusable bags because it wastes all those plastic ones. I hope you stop by my party and link up…

  18. Q @ JAQS January 25, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    Thank you so much for joining JAQS Studio’s Linky Part. I featured your project today :).


  19. Anonymous March 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    If you had to pull apart your project and start over (due to a mistake) would you cut off the “used” plarn and start with fresh plarn? Once the plarn has been crocheted, it is like half the size of the other unused strands. If used plarn was reused, would this affect the end result of the project? Thanks – Ellie

    • Kara at Petals to Picots March 5, 2012 at 2:50 am #

      Hmmm … I think I would try to reuse the portion I pulled out unless it seemed really shoddy. I think the condition of the used plarn would determine the quality of the final project. It really would vary from project to project. I would just use your best judgement. If in doubt, just use new plarn; it would stink to invest time into a project where you wouldn’t be happy with the final result. Hope that helps 🙂 Let me know how it works out.

      • Ferryboat George August 16, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

        I’ve never had a problem using already crocheted plarn, but I use a pretty tight stitch. It might make more of a difference with a large loose stitch. It actually makes it easier to crochet with some of the heavier plastics if it’s been crocheted once 🙂

  20. duska April 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    good thing…

  21. Kini June 29, 2012 at 5:38 am #

    I like the idea of using this for a door mat. I would think a door mat would be thicker than the totebag so would you recommend making the strips wider to make the thicker door mat? This is such a wonderfull idea. Thank you very much for posting it. I can’t wait to get started.


    • Kara at Petals to Picots June 30, 2012 at 12:16 am #

      A door mat does sound like a good idea! Yes, I think I would try wider strips and a larger hook. Let me know how it goes 🙂

    • Kini June 30, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

      Thank you Kara, I will try that. Thank you for responding so quickly. I am so new to this blogging stuff I was not sure I posted the question right. I will let you know how it works and if it looks good I will try to post a picture. Thank you again.

    • Kara at Petals to Picots July 1, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

      Great! I can’t wait to hear 🙂

    • Pam August 4, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

      I was at a laundromat many years ago. A lady there opened a package she had received in the mail. It was 2 doormats crocheted from bread bags. She just laughed and brought them over to show us. She couldn’t believe her Mom had made them from bread bags! I had forgotten all about it until I saw this pattern today. I should make both a bag and a mat! I sure have plenty of bags!

  22. Anonymous July 26, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    Hello. I am very new at crocheting and am attempting to make your Grocery Tote. At the end of each round the directions say …slip stitch in top of beginning ch-2 — 34 (or however many) stitches. What kind of stitches? I don’t think you mean chain stitches. Sorry for my lack of understanding. Thank you

    • Kara at Petals to Picots July 27, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

      No problem at all! I am glad to help 🙂 The numbers at the end of each round indicate how many stitches you should have in the round, in this pattern, they are half double crochet stitches. So for the example you used, there would be 34 half double crochets in that round. But don’t forget that the beginning chain counts as your first half double crochet of the round. Does this help clarify? If not, let me know and I will try again 🙂

    • Anonymous July 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

      Yes, that does help. I was thinking you were saying to make 34 stitches but I get it now. Another mistake I made is that I was using different types of plastic bags. Some were stiffer than the regular grocery bags. When I crocheted them with the others, it created an uneven, lumpy effect. Fortunately I was only on the foundation round when I figured it out. Thank you so much for your help. I am looking forward to finishing my new tote.

      • Ferryboat George August 16, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

        If you want to use stiffer bags because of color, cut the strips smaller to make them less lumpy. I’ve gotten better at judging how wide to make the strips based on the thickness of the bag, but I often cut off one strip and do a quick chain with it to check the thickness before I cut up the rest of the bag.

  23. Anonymous December 17, 2012 at 1:56 am #

    Just found your site – good pattern! I’ve made plarn bags in the past, but with a twist. I use a strandof plarn and a strand of leftover yarn together. Didm this as I was unsure of the strength of the plarn by itself. Any acrylic yarn will do – variegated works well, making an interesting tweedy pattern. I have a fairly large stash of bags which I guard jealously, as many communities in my area have outlawed single use plastic bags. Will definitely try your bag pattern next time I make a tote.

    San Jose, CA

  24. Kelly August 29, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    Love love love this!! I made a large grocery tote and everyone who sees it loves it! Now I have everyone collecting their bags – lol. I may try the doormat idea too – sounds great!

    • Kara September 1, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

      Glad you like it!! Let me know how the doormat comes out 🙂

  25. Linda December 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    This is ingenious. I’ve seen these types of items, but never even considered how easy it would be to make. Now I need to find a store that uses yellow or red ones all I get near me is grey, white, tan, or blue 🙂

    • Kara December 14, 2013 at 8:17 am #

      So glad you like the idea!

    • Ferryboat George August 16, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

      I get my yellow from Grocery outlet, but haven’t found a good source of red ones yet

  26. Christy Garrett Parenting Tips March 18, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    I can’t believe that you can crochet all of those bags together. I am a fan of recycling and love to crochet. I might have to try this sometime. I usually end up donating my plastic baggies to the daycare that my son used to go to.

    • Kara March 20, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

      Donating them to your sons school sounds like a great way to recycle them as well 🙂

  27. Kayla October 2, 2015 at 10:19 am #

    Love this! I have waaaaay too many bags that need a good purpose. I did have a couple of questions, though. First, does this bag stretch to a larger size to accomidate things like cereal boxes? If not, how can I make it bigger? Thanks!

    • Kara October 2, 2015 at 11:02 am #

      Hi Kayla 🙂 It does have a small amount of give to it but not as much as yarn would.

  28. salvagesista March 16, 2016 at 9:42 pm #

    Hi, I would love to use this amazing project in a round up on my site. Please let me know if that would be okay with you. salvagesista@gmail.com

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