Upcycle Craft |  Plarn Tote Decorated with Toothpaste Tubes – Crochet Pattern Included!

Upcycle Craft | Plarn Tote Decorated with Toothpaste Tubes – Crochet Pattern Included!

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Here is a very simple crochet pattern that shows you how to make a plarn tote decorated with toothpaste tubes. Ultimate upcycling craft!

I’m fully addicted to crocheting – and not with just yarn, but also with plarn!  I have used the plarn to make plarn totes – the ultimate in using upcycled materials for crafting!  Not only am I putting my grocery store plastic bags to good use, I’m also finding a way to use old toothpaste tubes!

Not familiar with plarn, plarn totes, or crocheting plastic grocery bags?  I wasn’t either until I read this post here and got inspired.  It explains how to make plarn.

Materials Needed to make your own Plarn Tote Decorated with Toothpaste Tubes:

25 (approximatly) plastic grocery bags

3 empty toothpaste tubes

Crochet needle (K hook)

Needle and thread

Plarn Tote Crochet Pattern:

When you get your plarn ball ready to go, then follow these easy (well easy if you already know how to crochet, somewhat challenging if you haven’t got a clue what a crochet needle even is) instructions on how to make your plarn tote:

Using a K hook, Ch 51 (or however wide you want your tote to be.)

R1:  Sc 50 starting in the second bump at back of chain, then work 50 sc on opposite side of chain (front loops of chain.)  You will have finished 100 sc in the round.

Plarn Tote

**Don’t worry if your bags twists a little funny when you are starting out.  When you get enough rows done, it will straighten and look like a normal tote.

R2-45: Sc 100 in the round.  I did about 45 rows, but again, you can customize the # of rows based on how tall you want your tote to be.

R46: Sc 20.  Ch 10 and then sc 20 starting at the 30th stitch.  This will create your tote handles.  Repeat this so that there will be an opening on the opposite side of the tote.

R47-52: Sc 100 in the round.plarn tote handles

Using K hook,

R1: Ch2, 6 sc in second ch from hook

Ch 6 and loop making a petal and reconnect the loop by sc in the 2nd stitch from R1.  Repeat this 6 times so that you will have a petal in each stitch from R1.

*I made and used bright blue colored plarn from plastic that covered my newspapers.


Here’s where the toothpaste tube part comes in: they created the silver flower stems that I sewed on my tote.

Cut it into strips and connected them into a chain, the same way you do with the plarn you made from the grocery bags.

Turn each loop inside out so that the silver part shows the most when they were linked together.


I cut apart 3 different toothpaste tubes and made 3 different strands of “plarn.” I then took those three strands of toothpaste tube plarn and braided them together to get the strand that I sewed onto the bag.


plarn tote flowers

Use the toothpaste tube chain to design the stem and hand stitch that to the tote.  When the silver stem is securely sewn onto the tote, top it off by hand stitching on the flower.

plarn tote


When I was just starting this project, my husband made fun of me quite frequently when he watched me cut up the plastic and thought I was crazy. Now that he has seen the finished product, he did say that he had to admit that it was quite creative and really likes how it turned out.  My mother too was rolling her eyes at me while I crocheted plastic bags.  But when she saw the final bag, she requested one for Christmas. 🙂

Other people can’t believe when they see this plarn tote that I made it out of grocery store bags and I either hear “oh teach me how to do this,” or “you could totally sell these!”  I don’t have any in my Etsy shop right now – but maybe I should add some???

Here is a very simple crochet pattern that shows you how to make a plarn tote decorated with toothpaste tubes. Ultimate upcycling craft!

no sew tote bag from tank top horizontal

Looking for an easier way to make a tote bag that is faster and requires no crocheting?  Check out this 15 minute No Sew Tote Bag made from a Tank Top!

86 Responses to Upcycle Craft | Plarn Tote Decorated with Toothpaste Tubes – Crochet Pattern Included!

  1. not going ot lie this is pretty darn cool!!! I remember making outside cushions kinds like this by weaving plastic bags together. We made em in brownies before camping.

  2. I have not yet tried to use the plastic bags for yarn. Recently they were banned in our city so most grocery stores can’t use them anymore. But I do have a stash so I may have to try this project. I have made yarn out of old t-shirts and crocheted or knitted them into bath mats. Great project. Never have heard of using toothpaste tubes but mine are pretty beat up by the time I am done with them.

  3. Great plarn bag and I love your use of the toothpaste tubes. I’ve been playing around with the tubes but found them pretty tough to crochet with. I’m trying a few different uses for them now and hope to come up with some useful repurposed items.

  4. I’ve never heard of plarn! Plastic yarn, huh! This is a great way to use up plastic grocery bags. Even if you don’t get them yourself from the store it seems like friends and family usually have an abundance. Thanks for sharing this plarn tote with us. Amazing. I will have to share this idea with my mom who isn’t on the Internet. She used to make round rugs out of old socks and t-shirts, I bet she would like this idea too. Thanks again!

  5. You know I didn’t time to see how long it took me to make. If I had to approximate, maybe like 8 hours total? I’m making a second one now, and its going faster. But when you know what you are doing, projects always go faster!

  6. I do know what a crochet hook is but no clue how to use one and to make this bag looks way to complicated for me to even try but I am Proud of you for doing it and it is so pretty and I Love knowing you used toothpaste tubes.

  7. I have been wanting to learn how to crochet for awhile. Now you have really cranked up that desire. I love these! I did see some classes at a local community college for crocheting. I might have to look into them more so that someday I can attempt these!

  8. This is some kind of recycling! We don’t use tooth paste (we brush with powder), but sometimes I lament having no reason to buy toothpaste on sale (we do occasionally donate items). I followed the links to your other toothpaste projects and WOW!

  9. Who knew you could decorate a bag with toothpaste tubes?! I used to know how to crochet, but seeing this craft makes me want to learn how again.

  10. All you crafty people have me itching to make some awesome craft. Except that it would end up looking nothing like yours. And I zero craft ability. And I would never finish it… *sigh* So I’ll just admire your skills and your creativity. 🙂

  11. Loling at “plarn”. I’ve heard of “pleather”, and I call the fake wood trim in my car “plood”, but never heard of “plarn.” I have no idea how to crochet, or what a K hook is, but I enjoyed looking at the pictures and kudos to you for the creativity!

  12. I never hear about toothpaste tube as material and never think that it would easy to make such a great craft. I’ll try this craft, it’s been a while since I craft about recycled materials.

  13. I’ve never heard of plarn! Of course, I can’t figure out how to knit with regular yarn yet, so that could be why. That tote is so cool!

  14. Wow! I will never look at a toothpaste tube the same again. I guess my mind just doesn’t think that way. I have always said I am not that crafty, but I can really cook!!! Have a great day!

  15. Oh my goodness, that is amazing! I just heard about plarn for the first time the other day. I am envious of people that can knit/crochet! It is on my list of things to figure out one day. 🙂

  16. This is very creative and very frugal! Good job and I bet the item will last forever. Also it would be very easy to wash. I love this idea, I’m going to put it on my “get around” to list and make one someday. I love to crochet but have never crocheted with plarn before.

  17. GREAT recycling project! I love how you made this bag and it does look fabulous! I”m a big fan of recycling and upcycling and like to see unusual items used. I made a few things sewing with old silver car windscreen shades!! Great fun!

  18. I know how to crochet, or used to, but have never tried it with plarn. However, this really did peak my frugal side. What a great way to use up any plastic bags one might have around. I also would have never thought to use toothpaste tubes in this way. Actually, never thought that you could reuse them for anything. Thanks for showing me something new.

  19. Wow, that is so incredibly creative! What a fantastic idea.

    I want to take up crocheting again, haven’t done it for many years. I’ll start with plain yarn, but it’s fun to know where it could all lead…

  20. I have made a few projects with crocheting especially the scarves at Christmas, but that was the last project. I’m enjoying your blog and wont stop, I have come from Blogelinas 100 comment hop, I have added myself to your blog and now continue to hop!! Now that we met come follow me…… on my….. GFC….Oh! My Heartsie
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  21. I’m big into crochet, but I’ve never heard of Plarn before! How creative! I just want to reach in and feel what that bag looks like! That is totally original and SO cool! I’d never laugh at you! That’s a great way to recycle and have a unique fashion look! I love it!

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