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Topic: Recycle plastic bags = plarn / crocheted shoe + bag  (Read 4322 times)
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« on: May 06, 2012 05:11:20 AM »

This is my second post so please be patient with me. I'm not sure where this should go and I accidentally put it under another topic first.

I have been working with plarn (plastic bags + yarn) for a few weeks now. I would crochet with it when I was a kid and could not afford regular yarn. I recently picked this back up because our town was having a "green festival" and I wanted to make something for it. I was not able to have anything ready for it because I had only learned of the festival a week before and had to work.

When I started making the plarn I got a huge amount of interest in it. People in my small town had never seen anything like it or even thought of it as a possibility. Over the last few weeks several of my friends have been gathering up there old plastic bags they had been storing up and giving them to me to see what I could make.

 I would prefer it if we could all use the reusable totes but sometimes we forget or we get more groceries than we have bags or we just don't think about it. It really opens up your eyes to the amount of bags out there... How much trash and waste we have. This is my chance to share with you a creative alternative. I have done quite a bit of research on the Internet about plastic bags, how much energy is used to recycle them (if they are recycled at all) and how many end up in landfills.

This is a pair of shoes I have made from Kroger plastic bags and crochet.

This is a pair of sandals and a matching bag from wal-mart plarn

Thank you all for your interest Smiley
They are surprisingly comfortable and durable. I wore my very first pair to work (12 hour shift) with tons of walking around. I took a pair of regular shoes with me incase they did break or get uncomfy but i did not use them. As a matter of fact the thought that I might need to change into them never occurred.

I have been wearing both pair everyday since I made them a couple weeks ago. (change color according to clothes I'm wearing) I have gotten many compliments on them before people were even aware they were plastic bags! When I told them I made them out of bags of course they all want to touch them or the purse. Every single time they are surprised at how strong they are. A few people have compared the feeling to straw hats or baskets but are impressed with how soft they turn out.
I wear them outside through grass, over rocks, and even in the rain. The temps got up to 97 the other day and they held up through the heat over blacktop as well.

I am however working on some ideas to add to the bottom of the soles so that they will last longer. After lots of wearing and walking the bottoms of my white sandals (single layer) have gotten kind of fuzzy like. A few of my ideas were to cut soles out of table place mats (I actually already sewed on some last night), use rubber from old mountain bike tires, old car mats, rubber shelf lining, or soles from old flip flops that had broken. I don't think this is really necessary but I would like to prolong the life of my creations. With adding a sole it should have them last as long as any regular shoe would.

I watched YouTube videos to see what method I wanted to stick with while making plarn. I chose to use the loop method. (there are 3 methods that i am aware of) I cut smaller than one inch strips but I also use a smaller needle. It can be hard on the hands to crochet with it. Once I got use to it though it's not hard because you kind of learn to just keep loose tension and that's way easier on your joints. I actually enjoy the whole process. It's kind of relaxing to watch tv and cut or loop your bags. I have a boyfriend and room mate that watch tv as well and it does not disturb them at all. I've actually gotten a lot of friends involved and they not only supply old bags they also help me make the plarn Smiley and enjoy it too!

« Last Edit: May 09, 2012 12:29:23 PM by photojenn - Reason: fixed images » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2012 07:15:33 AM »

They look great, and it is a very good idea. But I wonder: is the sole thick enough?

« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2012 02:07:12 PM »

Thanks Smiley the sole by itself is thick enough and works great. I added an edit with more info explaining about soles though
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2012 07:15:09 AM »

Thank you for the explanation on the soles. I would never have thought they were so strong. I must try that.

« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2012 10:12:52 AM »

You are welcome, if you have any questions during your project I would be happy to help.
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2012 01:21:19 AM »

what a beautiful thing!... i saw the bag before but the shoes are such a great idea!!
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2012 10:48:38 AM »

Thank you! I'm still wearing them every day Smiley
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