Knitting Patterns Using Recycled Materials
There is something satisfying about knitting a re-usable shopping bag from old plastic bags. Or creating a pretty waste basket from waste materials.
Here are knitting patterns using recycled or upcycled materials such as yarn made from plastic bags – plarn, t-shirts, fabric and more
Be patient with these new materials. Plastic bag yarn is less stretchy than fibre yarn. Some knitters also have said it is easier to knit with thinner plastic bags.
To get the knitting patterns, scroll down the page to the individual pattern you want and click on the link to that pattern.
All links on this site are for informational purposes, but please note that some links are to affiliate sellers that pay me a small commission on purchases.
Free Knitting Patterns
Julie Weisenberger’s totes are knit from plastic bags and come in two sizes – large and small.
Plastic Bag I-cord Sandals
Kimberly Golynskiy designed these sandals as part of a thesis project to upcycle plastic bags. Size shown is for 12-18 months but is easily customizable.
Plastic Bag Shopping Bag
This shopping bag won 1st place in a 2015 Earth Day Recycled Art Show for its creator jamiemyselfandi. Molly Aplet created the original design for this shopping bag knit from old shopping bags. However, this pictured project and others added several modifications so I recommend you check out the project gallery.
Recycled Plastic Business Card Case
Caroline Steinford’s small pouch could be made using strips of any plastic (the more flexible, the better), scrap cloth, or less than a skein of leftover worsted-weight yarn.
Alison Hogg designed this small bowl that is about 4cms (1¾ in) high and 8cms (3¼ ins) in diameter.
Eyepod Eyeglass Case
Laurie Balbo designed these cute striped cases made of plastic bag yarn.
Recycled Plastic Bottle Cable Knit Bracelet
Zylo Lugosi’s bracelet uses leftover plastic bottles to create the base of this bracelet. The instructions outline the cable knit cover and assembly instructions for the bracelet.
Clothesline Floor Mat
This floor rug by CraftPassion is 40″ x 29″ and made of durable clothesline rope.
Openwork Sweater in T-Shirt Yarn
Love this pullover by Donatella Mestriner! The strips are cut at 3/4” width so won’t be too bulky, and there will be enough to knit the whole garment.
Upcycled Oven Mitts in T-Shirt Yarn
Melissa Somerville’s oven mitts come in three sizes and take approximately two men’s large t-shirts.
Rag Doily Rug
Julie Weisenberger’s design uses old sheets for yarn to create a pretty and absorbent rug for bathrooms and entryways.
T-Shirt Yarn Necklace
Easy necklace design from Fancy Tiger Crafs.
Mom & Me Cloche Hats
Denae Merrill’s t-shirt yarn hat is available in 3 sizes from mom (20-22in), older child/teen (18-20in) as well as younger child (16-18in). The hat is knit in reclaimed t-shirt yarn.
Arm Knit T-shirt Yarn Cowl
Heidi Arjes’s cowl is stretchy and comfy and made from two t-shirts.
Janine Le Cras recycled old denim jeans to make this clever tote bag that even recycles the seams for the straps.
Denae Merrill offers a universe of options with this pattern for a vest or cardigan with various sleeve lengths. She also gives instructions for five different types of recycled yarns. Sizes XS-XL
Patterns for Purchase
Save time by buying your plastic bag yarn! You’re still making eco-friendly designs without the hassle of cutting and winding the plastic bags. Many colors available!
Save time by buying your t-shirt yarn! You’re still making eco-friendly designs without the hassle of cutting and winding. Many colors available!
Ombre Garden Pods / Planters Using Plarn
Knitted plant pods from plastic bags make great planters! The woven plastic retains water, keeping the soil moist and the plant well-watered while also allowing airflow and drainage, keeping the plant healthy and thriving! This pattern offers detailed instructions on how to make the plarn needed for the pattern as well as instruction for making three sizes (small-4″ diameter x 2″ high, medium-6″ diameter x 3″ high, large-8″ diameter x 4″ high) of ombre style plant pods.
Waste Basket from Plastic Yarn
Emily Blades designed this very meta pattern that turns waste bags into waste basket! One of the 20 designs for plastic bag yarn in her book Eco-Friendly Knits
Daffodil Brooch from Plastic Yarn
Hard to believe you can knit this beautiful flower by Emily Blades out of plastic bags! One of the 20 designs for plastic bag yarn in her book Eco-Friendly Knits
T-shirt Yarn Clutch
Knit a small purse with recycled t-shirt yarn. The size of the clutch is 33 x16 cm.
DIY Tutorial XXL Pouf
This footstool is knit with t-shirt yarn. Diameter 55 cm (22“) Height 40 cm (16“)
Easy pattern for knitting a garter stitch basket from cotton rope.