For those of you following my blog posts, I had showcased back in early May, a blog about a recycled halter top that I created using plastic bags. The item was created for an eco-friendly fashion show: Catwalk for Water held on May 7, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. This environmentally friendly fashion show featured “creative and inspiring hair, makeup, and fashion created by area artists. This event was sponsored by Indira Aveda Salon Spa in Chicago. All proceeds benefit their Earth Month Partner – Alliance for the Great Lakes.”
I was contacted earlier this year by a friend who was the driving force behind this Chicago event. She asked me if I could create a piece using plastic bags, and together we collaborated on a vision. Using her guidelines, I created this fun piece that used 70 recycled plastic grocery bags that I cut into “plarn” and crocheted into this wild halter top.
I sent the piece to Chicago for it to be added to an ensemble created by my friend Tracey, owner of Indira Salon and Spa, and used in her vision for this outfit. All items used were recycled, re-used, re-purposed pieces that were put together to make amazing fashion statements.
Many incredible creations were part of the show and it was a lot of fun to be a small part of such a great event even from a distance. The photos from the event show a lot of amazing talent! What a great event for such a fabulous cause that inspires change for our planet and environment besides providing enormous inspiration for creating environmentally fashion.
The ensemble created for the event included my eco-friendly plarn halter top, vintage sunglasses from Fiore in Green Bay, WI, a handmade up-cycle necktie skirt, braided rags to riches Coachella inspired hair both done by Tracey herself. Her entire vision came together perfectly and was worn by a remarkable model who flawlessly showcased all of these items together! She SLAYED! This attire won Best Interpretation of the Theme: Coachella-Art and Music Festival! What an awesome win!
I want to say a special thanks to Tracey and Indira for asking me to take part in this project. It was a great experience to create a piece for this event and expand my talent in such an imaginative way. It was a lot of fun! I hope to do more events like this in the future!
Photos from event were provided with permission by Tracey (Indira Salon and Spa, Chicago Illinois)
“Plarn is short for “plastic yarn.” Plarn is made by cutting plastic grocery bags into strips, which are then strung together into a single long strand. You can use plarn instead of regular yarn to crochet sturdy, reusable tote bags, purses, doormats, and more.” ~Plastic Bag Crafts
We all collect bags from various shopping centers. If you don’t have an option for paper bags at your local stores or if you don’t carry-in your personal market bags, you end up stock-piling a collection of plastic bags that can one day end up in our landfills. BOOOO!! We don’t want that!!! So, what do we do with this accumulation? Well, I’ve got a solution! I did an experiment to make my own reusable market bag recycling about 35 plastic bags.
Once you determine what you plan to make, and you have accumulated a significant amount of plastic, the biggest “chore” of this entire project is cutting the strips to make the plarn. In this case, I use the term “chore” lightly. This literally takes little to no time, but I find it to be the one thing most people complain about.
I followed the instructions in this linkto make my plarn. This information is very helpful in helping you create the amount of plarn needed for your project!
Once my plarn was cut, I rolled each bag up into a ball of plarn! I used a variety of Target bags and some gray grocery bags. I used a J-6.00mm crochet hook and a single crochet method to make this bag.
These are very easy to make and end up being very durable! There are various tutorials online to show you how to make your own! Then, you’re all set to use your new bag the next time you go to the market! I gave this one to my sister-in-law and she uses it ever summer at the farmers market! Use this idea on a smaller scale to make your own lunch bag or for other creative ideas using plarn! Enjoy!!
Have you tried this technique before? Share what you’ve made with plarn in the comments section!!
My love of crafts doesn’t start and end with just crochet. I have creative ideas running through my mind 24/7. I think it comes from being part of a family of creative people. My mom is one of the most creative people that exist on the planet. She can see potential in anything and turn it into a masterpiece. My dad is a professional photographer and videographer, My brother, Nyle, is a culinary genius, and he is a professional chef and food artist. My other brother, Nabeel, is an incredibly talented musician and video artist. I am at the tail end of all this talent with a hook and yarn trying to stitch my way through the creative process with a few added detours to do a few other crafty things. Hopefully, my family apple hasn’t fallen too far from the proverbial tree.
Near my home, there is a Bethesda Thrift Shop that periodically has in-store sales. Last Friday, they happened to have a 50% Off on almost all their merchandise! I happened to come across this 1970s rocking chair that had a hint of musty smell coming from the cushions (ewww), hidden back in the corner of the store with a price tag of $8. Did I read that right!? $8.00??!! Does that mean it would be only $4 on the sale?? Surely, that isn’t possible?! Well, Shirley doesn’t work there, but Darlene did, and she confirmed that YES it was $4.00. WHAT A STEAL! I ran out of that store so fast, yet awkwardly, because carrying a chair like that isn’t easy when you are running.
I didn’t bring that into the house. NOPE. NO WAY! It stayed out in the driveway overnight while I combed over the pages of Pinterest looking for tips on what I could do to this chair to bring it back to life again. Pinterest never fails me. NEVER! Ideas were pouring out of me and before long a plan was hatched. By Saturday morning, I was ready to hit the ground running! My season of repurposing was about to begin and I was ready!!
Of course, Saturday arrived and my personal friend, Mother Nature, decided to bring clouds, cooler weather, and a forecast of rain. That deterred my planning ’til later in the day, but hence, I would not be stopped. I ran to the store buy paint, fabric, stuffing for the chair and other supplies needed for my project. I was looking for things which could stand the test of time and one day be in my “forever home.” I decked myself out in my super sexy sweatpants, bandana, oversized painting shirt, flip flops, and my trusty mask and decided to get the party started!
I began the process of disassembling things first and removing all the hardware from the chair. Once I removed the cushions and ruffle, the batting and cover underneath were gross and there were probably 45 years of skin flakes that came out in a ball of brownish dust, but if that was the worst of it, I would live. Whoever assembled this back in the day, (could not find a stamp or label) did a decent job, but the amount of furniture tacks used was astronomical. I had a bad thought cross my mind about someone who would do that, until I rethought that, and praised them for being so mindful of making a quality piece when this was once shiny and new.
This is where I stop and have a moment of reflection. Every time I embark on a new DIY project, I reflect back on the history of a piece. It may sound odd, but I think of whose home this belonged to. Who sat in this chair? Did someone rock their crying baby trying to nurse or to cuddle? Did someone’s Grandpa read his newspaper every night by the old lamp while his wife cooked him dinner? There is history in here. There is a story in this chair and I love that and the mystery surrounding the journey of what it took to end up in my care. That is pretty powerful stuff! Because of that, I always try to respect each piece and bring it back to life. Sometimes, items I find are so tattered and beaten, I just love to breath new life into it. Everything deserves that. Even people. Especially people. Ok, Ok, let me jump down from my metaphorical and philosophic soap box and get back to the nitty-gritty of this project.
Here is what the rocking chair looked like when I brought it home from the thrift shop:
These are the cushions. Just look at those cushions. Look at them for a little while. Did you see the steam boat? The pistol? That Anchor though!
Into the trash it went!
Here is a picture of the rocking chair without that filthy cushion.
I had to make a stop at the store for some supplies. Below you will see what I needed for this project.
These were the two colors used:
I got this fabric and some batting on sale for $4.88.
Once I added the priming coat and it was fully dry, I took this sponge with some Vaseline and applied it to areas that I did not want my second (darker) coat to stick. By placing Vaseline, it allowed for me to apply the paint and then later wipe it off when the second layer was dry. That way, the bottom painted layer shows through, making a distressed look. I also chipped at the paint a little and took a paint brush to it to give it a more worn out look.
I used a hammer, a sander, screwdrivers, and pliers.
Once I got all the fabric off the chair, I sanded it with a fine sandpaper. My glasses were fogging up during the sanding process!
Then I applied the first coat of primer. Once that dried, I spread the Vaseline on the edges and areas I wanted this color to show through.
Spray Paint can get a little messy!
See the video of me applying the second coat. Once the darker coat of paint was applied and dried, I took a cotton cloth and wiped down the areas where the Vaseline was applied. The rain forced me to do the rest inside.
I cut the pieces of Batting and Fabric to fit around the seat of the chair.
I used the tacks that came with the original rocking chair to secure the new fabric.
I may have hammered my thumb a few times and had to ask my dad for assistance. He generously helped attach the rest of the fabric.
I wrapped the fabric neatly around the wood posts since they were not removable and tacked it all underneath so it was hidden.
Voila!! Here is a before and after photo of this beautiful piece! I added a lovely throw pillow to jazz this piece up a little bit!
Have you repurposed a piece of furniture or something you’ve found at the thrift shop? Share your experiences by leaving a comment to this post!
“One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” ~Anonymous
The internet is flooded with ways to “go green” and help the environment. Whenever there is a way to help our great planet, I am a big fan of doing what I can! I have run across many how-to videos on ways to convert a t-shirt into a tote bag.
As a huge advocate for the four R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Re-purpose I will show step by step in this photo blog with an accompanying video, a detailed way on how you can do all four in one great project and add in a bit of crochet magic to make this project even more amazing!! We will be Recycling an old t-shirt and Re-purposing it into a market bag, thus Reducing the amount of plastic bags that go into the landfills. ANDDD, you can Reuse it over and over! Help the environment and look stylish while doing it! It’s a win/win!
Materials you will need:
Tee shirt, Yarn, Crochet Hook, Ruler, Sharpie, Cardboard, Scissors, Rotary Cutter (skip stitch blade), Yarn Needle
Lay your tee shirt out flat
Draw lines around the neckline and the sleeves to cut
Cut those lines (Cutting off sleeves and neckline)
Turn your shirt inside out and grab your ruler
Draw 3 inch lines 1 inch apart all along the bottom
Cut along those lines (see video tutorial for visual instructions)
Tie those strips into knots
The bottom will “bunch up,” do not stretch it out. Tie some more knots to reinforce the bottom