What is Plarn?

Very simply, plarn is a yarn like material made from plastic bags. Using plastic bags to make yarn is an excellent way to recycle bags we might otherwise throw away.

An Educational Opportunity

You might be wondering why I have information about this on a homeschool website. I love the idea that as a homeschooler I can take everyday experiences and make them into fun or unique learning experiences. Of course, transforming plastic bags into yarn, for most people, is not considered an everyday experience but it is an example of taking an interest and expanding into an educational experience.

Education Ideas

So how can you make recycling plastic into yarn a school project? Here are a few ideas.

a. Art Project

b. Home Economics Unit Study

c. Unit Study on Recycling

d. History Lesson on Plastics

e. Creativity Challenge

f. Plastics Lapbook

g. Chemistry or Physics Experiment

h. Chemistry Unit Study on Composition/Uses of Plastics

Necessary Supplies

· Plastic Bags· Scissors· Sense of Adventure (Optional)

Where Can You Get Plastic Bags?

I have been slowly building my supply using plastic bags recycled from trips to Walmart and the grocery store.However, on a recent vacation, I was faced with sitting for hours in our van, without yarn or bags to plarninate.(Yes, I made that up.) Fortunately, we had to stop at a Walmart. I seized the opportunity. While there, I bravely asked a Walmart greeter if I could have some of the bags that were in their recycle box. She blankly looked at me. She glanced at my family. She tilted her head slightly as she returned her gaze to me.She clearly was trying to determine my sanity before replying, but finally she tentatively replied, “Um…Ok.” That was all I needed to hear. I raided their bin. Someone had discarded a stack of at least 20 unused bags. I was thrilled. As we continued on our vacation, I listened to an audio book and happily plarned away.

If you don’t wish to raid Walmart or grocery store recycle bins you might try these options instead:

· Ask friends to save bags for you

· Ask co-workers to save bags for you

· Collect bags at fairs or local, county and state events

· Save your own bags

· Start a bag-recycling center

· Talk to store managers and request donations of new or recycled bags

Plarn Pictorial

Step 1. Smooth bag

Step 2. Fold in half and smooth

Step 3. Fold in half again and smooth

Step 4. Fold in half again.

Step 5. Cut off bottom edge.

Step 5. Cut off top edge.

Measure and mark strip gauge.

a. Cut strips.

b. Open up strips.

c. Open strips.

Pull left strip end hoop through right hoop

e. Pull to tighten

Repeat with all strips

g. Wind into a ball

Click to download a short video demonstration on connecting the loops.

Just for fun, here is a blooper clip. Enjoy! I will be creating a new plarn movie soon and removing all of the previous clips and videos. What Else Can I Make?

The Challenge

Recycling Discussions

Recycling Lapbook

Recycling in your State

Recycling Project Challenge-Milk Jugs

Go from Plarn to Resources 4 Homeschoolers Home Page