Plastic Bag Sleeping Mats

500 plastic grocery bags, cut into strips, made into "plarn" and crocheted = 1 sleeping mat

We have reached our goal! Anyone still crocheting can bring their mats to church upon completion.

Mats will be delivered to Body and Soul on May 25.

Everyone can participate by doing any of these steps:

  1. Collect plastic grocery bags
  2. Cut bags into strips
  3. Make the balls of "plarn"
  4. Crochet the mats using the balls of plarn

Collection and deposit bins are in the Shawver Welcome Center appropriately labeled. 

  • Introducing

    A New Project of Church & Society

    img_missions_mats-b.JPG img_missions_mats-c.JPG img_missions_mats-a.JPG

    Are you contributing to this project?

    Please let us know how in the Comment section below.

  • Collect


    Collect Plastic Grocery Bags

    Deliver to FUMCR collection bin in Shawver Welcome Center or cut into strips.


  • Cut

    Cut into Strips

    < Straighten and sort by size. 
    4-5 same-size bags can be cut at the same time in a flat stack.

    To cut a single bag, fold it in half lengthwise. >


    Then fold it in half again. >

    img_missions_mats-cut4.jpgimg_missions_mats-cut5.jpg< Cut the bottom of the bag(s) off. >

    img_missions_mats-cut6.jpgimg_missions_mats-cut7.jpg< Cut the handles off. >

    Recycle the bottoms and handles. They are not used for this project.

    img_missions_mats-cut8.jpgimg_missions_mats-cut9.jpgSmaller bags, from Tom Thumb, Kroger and Albertsons, are best cut into 4 strips. 

    < Cut bags in half horizontally. Then cut each half in half horizontally again. >

    img_missions_mats-cut10.jpgLarger bags, from Target and Central Market, can be cut into 5 pieces. 

    < First cut one strip about 1 1/2 - 2" wide. then cut as above by cutting in half and in half again.

    This will make 5 strips. >

    Each strip is a loop that will be connected to other loops to make "plarn."

  • Make Plarn

    Connect Loops to Make Plarn

    img_missions_mats-plarn1.jpg< Take two loops and wrap one around the other.


    <  Pull the other end of the loop through itself until it forms a knot. >

    img_missions_mats-plarn4.jpgWhen attaching loops, make each loop side the same length. 
    < Avoid this.
    If this occurs, loosen the knot and straighten both sides. >
    < Roll into balls.

  • Crochet

    Pattern for Plastic Bag Mat

    Using “P” or 10 mm crochet hook, LOOSELY chain 37 (or chain 36 and use beginning loop as first chain).

    Turn, single crochet in 2nd chain from hook. Single crochet across (36 SC). Should measure 2 ½-3 feet. (30-36”).

    Chain 1 turn and repeat until bed is approximately 5 feet long.

    Last row: make carry strap. Chain 1 turn and single crochet across 8 stitches. Chain 75-80. Single crochet across remainder of row. Finish off. Weave in end of plarn.

    Fold mat in half lengthwise, roll up and use strap to secure around bed.

Added by Jane Williams

I am crocheting a mat.
Added by Betty Corbin

I am crocheting a mat.
Also, Caren Houston is crocheting a mat.
We are also gathering bags, and making plarn.
Added by Linda Vaughn

I'm crocheting a mat; about half done. 11/11
Added by Anonymous

I have crocheted 3 mats. I have turned one in but I have 2 that I still need to get up to the church
Added by Anonymous

Finishing 2nd mat!
Added by 9th Grade Sunday School

We are making plarn today!
Added by Cheryl Winnenberg

I am crocheting a mat and we are making plarn.
Added by L. Morton

I am almost finished with a mat.
Added by Anonymous

have made 3
Added by Church member

I have made plarn. And plan to make more and maybe learn how to crochet it into a mat.
Added by Kathy & Dan

Made more plarn today. Had fun doing it together. Hope to learn to crochet.
Added by Connie

I learned to crochet before Thanksgiving and it was easy (Thanks Caren)---I'll help if anyone that wants to learn.
Added by Linda Vaughn

I've dropped 3 off and am working on a 4th!
Added by Kim

I will begin crocheting a mat this week. Today I learned how to cut the bags into strips and connect them into balls of plastic-yarn. I already know how to crochet, but I have to get the "P" size hook tomorrow. Then I will begin making the mat! The patterns instructions look super-easy!
Added by Margaret Isom

I started my first mat 4 days ago and now I am 2/3rds done and will definitely do another one. My group life is cutting strips and making plarn and we have at least 2 other members who plan on making a mat. I am enjoying it and feel that it is like a prayer blanket. I keep thinking of the different homeless people who will receive these and pray these mats bring them some comfort.
Added by Dede Woods

I am working with my 7th grade advisory and another 8th grade advisory to make mats. It is an easy service project that we can do in our short 20-minute time frame.
Added by Margaret Isom

I am almost finished with my 3rd mat and have 2 more coming from my group life. How many more are needed ?
Added by Kim

How do I make the strap for the sleeping mats?
Added by Francy Collins

Crochet about 1/4 of the way across the last row. Chain enough stitches to make a loop which will wrap around the mat when it is folded in half lengthwise and rolled up. Attach the chain by single crocheting in the same stitch on the last row. Finish the last row in single crochet and then finish off. Weave in the end.
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