Dont get me wrong – plastic recycling is good, but these guys are my kind of peopl; they dont throw plastic rubbish away as the bad people do – but they dont recycle it either. Instead they out out the middle man and  reuse plastic rubbish  to make other wonderful and useful things

The Fusers – they fuse together sevral flimsy plastic bags together to create one strong sheet that can then be sewn into all manner of things

The knitters knit their old plastic bags up into all sorts of fantastic things


Basically you cut your old plastic carrier bags into  bags into strips. There are two methods – one includes knotting and results in a double thread the other does not and results in a single yarn. I don’t  know which is best but the second one looks much easier.

The plarn can now be knitted or crocheted into  bags following this  pattern

0r sandals

Or a  50s style outfit “The plastic grocery bag came about in the 1950’s along with futuristic optimisim about America, so I made a “typical” 1950’s ensemble Says maker Cathy Kasdan of Cleveland, Ohio”

or lots of other  things. Check out this Pinterest site for inspiration.



See other plastic crafts here




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36 thoughts on “Knitting with plastic bags

  1. I need detailed directions on how to make the sleeping mats by knitting. I don’t know how to crochet. KNIT

  2. what link do I click on to make a strip for sleeping pads or lap pads that cancer patients could use
    I would like a pattern please

  3. Angela just noticed part of the article in the Alliston Hearald where you taught the school and made the beautiful quilt would you be willing to come to the Utopia Community Hall and teach a group sometime in the future! We have heard of the milk bags being put to good use so we put the word out to start collecting

  4. Hi if you click on the link above the underlined purple comment, it will direct you to a pattern to knit the bag in the picture. Good luck x

  5. I have been collecting the plastic bags thet the daily newspaper comes in and I have tied them together to make plarn ? I would love to knit a large market tote with them…any ideas or patterns would be greatly appreciated!!

  6. Hi Rachel,

    I was just wondering if you knew when another shipment of mats will be sent to Haiti.

    Thanks, Angela

  7. Hi. I work with teens and with summer comming I’m looking for good projects for them. The idea of doing for others is appealing. I live in London ont. not good at hand work but can learn with instruction. Any information to getting in touch with someone in this area who is making mats or bears or bags would be so helpful. reply if you can help Thank you so very much Brenda Tveit.

  8. Hi Rachel,
    I would like to meet you and give you my mats. I have 7 and a friend of mine has a couple. Are you available on Tuesday, maybe we could meet somewhere along the 400.

    Let me know, thanks, Angela

  9. Hi Angela,
    I live in Barrie 40 min. from Vaughan … Keilburg is in the same area I believe. Maybe we can make an arrangement to meet and I can pick up your mats.
    There is a medical group leaving for Haiti Thurs Apr. 22 and I will be giving them appx. 40 mats to bring with them.
    E-mail me at so we can connect.
    Thanks, Rachel

  10. Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for the teddy bear pattern. I will try and get a few made. I have mats to donate, but so far I can’t find anyone who will take them and ship them out. I live in Kleinburg, On, and am looking for someone who lives relatively close to deliver them to. Any contacts you might have would be appreciated.
    thanks, Angela

  11. How are you doing with the teddy bear pattern Angela??

    Since 2005 we have been sending plastic milk bag sleeping mats to Haiti along with other supplies 3/4 times a year.

    Where do you send your mats???

    Ontario Canada

  12. Angela, e-mail me

    TEDDY BEAR made with plastic milk bags

    The Teddy Bears along with ‘Plastic Milk Bags Sleeping Mats’ are sent to
    Third World Countries.

    Material needed:
    •10 to 12 plastic milk bags cut into ½” or 1” strips
    •Number 4.5 or 5 needles
    •Polyester fibrefill to stuff bears
    •Knit throughout every row
    Size : approximately 10”/12”
    Leg #1 :
    Cast on 8 stitches
    Knit 16 rows; leave tail and cut plarn
    Place on holder (safety pin)
    Leg #2 :
    Same as #1
    Body :
    Knit across both legs (16 stitches)
    Knit for 16 rows
    Arms :
    Cast on 8 stitches at beginning of each side (32 stitches)
    Knit for 8 rows
    Cast off 8 stitches at the start of the next 2 rows (16 stitches)
    Head :
    Knit for 26 rows
    Repeat Arms as above
    Repeat Body as above
    Legs :
    Knit 8 stitches as leg instructions above and bind off (put 8 stitches on holder)
    Pick up stitches from holder and work as above.
    Finishing :
    Fold bear in half and sew seam starting at the bottom of one foot, go up and around leave opening between legs for stuffing.
    Turn bear right side out, stuff starting at head, arms, then body and legs.
    Neatly stitch leg opening closed.
    Draw up neck with plarn [long enough to go around a few times] tie a triple knot –
    End with a bow.

    How to cut and loop plastic milk bags
    1. Lay bag flat
    2. Fold in half then fold in half again
    3. Cut off top handles and end
    4. Cut bags into strips 1 “ wide

    • Tying strips together
    1&2. Take two strips and loop together
    3. Gently pull on ends to knot two strips together
    4. Connect next strip to last strip in the same manner
    5. Continue connecting strips then roll into ball

    Tip: pull ends evenly to create a smooth and flat strip

  13. Would anywone have the pattern for making the teddy bear out of milk bags? If you do I would appreciate a copy. I am presently making mats, but the teddy looks interesting too.


  14. To make the bag

    Assorted plastic shopping bags, cut into 1/2″-wide strips (see below)
    Multipurpose polypropylene string (available from hardware stores)
    3-1/2 yards leather thong, cut into two equal lengths of 1-3/4 yards
    1 pair size 10-1/2 (6.5 or 7mm) knitting needles
    Large sewing needle

    Click on the link for stitches and details on how to make up . Good luck

  15. Our church group is interested but we need instructions and needle size. We have been collecting the bags and do know how to cut them. Your reply will be much appreciated. Thanks Gail

  16. Pauli,
    To knit a sleeping mat simply garter stitch (knit) throughout. An adult size is:> 36 x 65; child:> 30 x 45. You may want to finish with a border by knitting around 3/4 rows.
    Good Luck and thank you for helping children sleep better at night in Haiti.
    Bags for Beds

  17. I would like to knit plastic bags into mats for family in Haiti. I don’t crochet so would like to know if anyone has a pattern to knit one. Thanks.

  18. I have the forms on Word reply by e-mail and I will send you the information. I’m from Ontario Canada and we crochet the mats and send them to Third World Countries as a sleeping mat. It has been said that sleeping on plastic is reduces parasite infection in children by 60%.
    Thanks for the interest.

  19. Check Kijiji Barrie ads

    I will gladly send you information for patterns on plastic milk bag mat and teddy bear.

  20. have u heard about the mats and Teddy Bears that people are crochetin gusing milk bags?They are being sent to 3 rd world countries and used as mats for sleeping on.

  21. HI,
    I’ve been weaving tote/book bags out of plastic bags for about five years.
    It takes 60-80 plastic bags to make one tote bag.
    They are very sturdy, colorful, and people are always surprised that they are made of plastic.
    Just another way to reuse that junk for a while longer…
    Thanks for all your great links and resources.

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