Tutorial: how to make curtains from plastic bags

Below is the entrance to our house here on Paros. We’ve given it the name La Sussurrata – in Agatha Christie books, houses always seem to have a name so I decided our house needed a name, too. “Sussurrare” means, in Italian, “whisper” or “murmur” thus La Sussurrata indicates the house that’s murmured about. And it’s murmured about because of how much recycling is a part of the decor. You can see more fotos of La Sussurrata HERE and HERE.

plastic bag rugcrocheted plastic bag rug made using plarn

The idea of turning plastic bags into “plarn” to use for crochet has been around for sometime now. Most all of the bag is used save for the handles and the bottom seam. But there’s a way to recycle those, as well. This tutorial focuses on using the plastic bag handles to make curtains that are so easy to make that even children can make them!

plastic bag

plasticsSeam handles

First of all, you have to cut up your bags as indicated above–the same way you do when making plarn. So after cutting up your bags, it’s best to first make the plarn putting aside the seams and handles.

plarnPlarn balls

Once finished making plarn, take the handles and start tying them together leaving the seams aside for a future project.

plastic tiesHandles tied together

Keep tying the handles together until you get a strand the desired length. Here on Paros, I used these curtains for the doors leading to the balcony and to the terrace as a means of keeping the doors opened but the flies out. So, obviously, my strands are the length of the door way.  And the number of strands needed depends upon how “dense” you want your curtain to be.

plastic curtainsPlastic tie curtain

plastic curtainsBalcony

plastic curtainsTerrace

For the balcony, I tied one extreme of the strands to plastic rings (from the openings of water bottles) as well as to  milk bottle necks. Then I strung the strands on a piece of plastic rope. For the terrace, I used plarn to crochet a piece of “rope” the length of the doorway then tied the strands onto them.

plastic curtain
Doorway curtain

plastic curtain
Bathroom window

plastic packaging
Plastic packaging

And here on the island, there’s the problem of plastic water bottles and their  packaging.  This  plastic packaging can be cut into strips that are then tied together to make curtains, too.

Make sure that the plastic bags you use for plarn and curtain making are not biodegradable otherwise they will eventually crumble away. Luckily, Italians have become more aware of environmental problems and, since 2011 in Italy, non-biodegradable plastic bags have been outlawed meaning objects made from them could become collector’s items! Plastic bags are not always labelled as to what kind of plastic they’re made from but often you can tell by touching them—the biodegradable have a kind of oily feeling to them.

Coming soon: how to recycled the plastic bag seams.

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6 Responses to Tutorial: how to make curtains from plastic bags

  1. Other countries seem to have much more colorful bags. Here in the US we usually only have white and tan. Love the idea! Thanks!

    • Well Sherry, it’s mainly here in Greece that they are so colorful. They are mainly blue but this year alot of orange ones are being used. But to add color, other plastic can be used, too like that of soda can packaging. I don’t buy coke but often rip off the packaging at the grocery store–the red is beautiful!

  2. eclastic says:

    it s true, here in Kenya plastic bags are pathetic, only white with a bit of red or green 😦

    • Well,it would be best not to have plastic bags at all. However, all kinds of plastic can be used–such as that used for packaging. I made a shower curtain from the plastic bags that the potting soil comes in! Very colorful!

      • eclastic says:

        I am starting a project with Maasai Women here in kenya. From July I will teach them how to recycle plastic bottles to create jewelry and other items and sell them to tourist. I am still looking to find a project to do with plastic bags. In the Maasai Mara and in all kenya you can find this little transparent stupid plastic bags everywhere….any idea? consider that they have no electricity. thanks! Michela

  3. Michela, how wonderful that you will be working with the Maasai Women! What a cosmic experience–it would be wonderful if you would write about your experience for my blog–please give it a thought. As for ideas as to how to recycle plastic bags, I don’t even know where to begin as there are so many possibilities…take a look at this link for starters: https://artforhousewives.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/shoebox-loom-purse/
    Where are you from?
    Keep in touch as I am interesnted in your Kenyan project. Thanks!

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