Giant Plarn Mandala

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Giant Plarn Mandala

Have you ever used a plastic tablecloth for a party? They are inexpensive and seem to make clean-up a breeze – their appeal is that they are disposable but then all that plastic ends up in a landfill where they won’t break down for hundreds of years, if at all.   Have you ever thought of re-purposing the tablecloth?  Since they are plastic, they are easy to clean by shaking or rinsing them off and can be easily cut up into strips to make “plarn”.

What is Plarn?

Plarn is part “plastic”, part “yarn” made from long lengths or strips of recycled plastic bags or sheeting.  Once the plastic is cut into strips, it can be crocheted into all kinds of projects – like this one!   The plastic strips are similar to bulky yarn so this mandala gets big quickly!  It makes for a great decoration on a large wall or outdoors on a fence.   I used 8 different colors of tablecloths (and have plenty left over) and then stretched the mandala across a plastic hula hoop to give it stability for hanging.

I first created this project for a special presentation I gave in April 2018 to our (NH) Governor’s wife (Valerie Sununu) and a team of adults and students who are passionate about making a difference in their schools and communities to positively impact our environment by coming up with creative ways to encourage people to recycle, reuse, reduce and repurpose.  I spoke about the problem of too many plastic bags in our environment and how we can crochet with them to prevent them from getting into our landfills and waterways.

Skill Level: Intermediate

Measurements: 36″ across

Supplies:

  • Recycled plastic tablecloth in each of these colors:    Red, Orange, Yellow, Lime Green, Light Blue, Royal Blue, White, Hot Pink (Depending on how wide your strips are and how tightly you crochet, you may need more than one tablecloth for the last 4 colors since the mandala gets pretty big by this point)
  • 10 mm crochet hook by Clover                                                                                                                                                                                                                            (This hook seems to work best with the plastic by gliding through the loops the best.   A different style hook will frustrate you and make your hands very sore)
  • Large plastic ring (hula hoop) – 30-40″ diameter
  • Black duct tape (optional)
  • Large eye yarn needle

Special Stitches/Abbreviations:

Ch = chain

Dc = double crochet

Sc =single crochet

Tr = treble crochet = YO twice; insert hook into st, YO, draw up a loop; (YO, pull through 2 loops on hook) 3 times

Dtr = double treble crochet = YO three times; insert hook into st, YO, draw up a loop; (YO, pull through 2 loops on hook) 4 times

Beg. 4 tr CL = (Beginning 4  treble cluster) = Ch 3, YO twice, insert hook into same st as ch-3, draw up a loop; (YO, pull through 2 loops on hook) twice; YO twice, insert hook into next st, draw up a loop; (YO, pull through 2 loops on hook) twice; YO twice, insert hook into same st, draw up a loop; (YO, pull through 2 loops on hook) twice; YO, pull through all 4 loops on hook

4 tr CL = (4 treble cluster) = This stitch is worked over 2 sts – YO twice, insert hook into 1st st, draw up a loop; (YO, pull through 2 loops on hook) twice; YO twice, insert hook into 1st st again, draw up a loop; (YO, pull through 2 loops on hook) twice; YO twice, insert hook into next st, draw up a loop; (YO, pull through 2 loops on hook) twice; YO twice, insert hook into next st again, draw up a loop; (YO, pull through 2 loops on hook) twice; YO, pull through all 5 loops on hook

Beg. 5-tr CL = (beginning 5 treble cluster) = This stitch is worked over 5 sts – Ch 3, [YO twice, insert hook into next st, draw up a loop, (YO, pull through 2 loops on hook) twice;]  4 times; YO, pull through all 6 loops on hook

5-tr CL = (5 treble cluster) = This stitch is worked over 5 sts – [YO twice, insert hook into next st, draw up a loop, (YO, pull through 2 loops on hook) twice;]  5 times; YO, pull through all 6 loops on hook

Instructions:

Prepare Plarn: Cut 2” wide strips of each tablecloth and roll into balls

(I first folded the tablecloth in half several times and then cut strips across the smaller rectangle – this helps the cutting stage to go quicker)

When come to end of strip, tape or tie on end of next strip

All stitches marked in red are explained in “Special Stitches” above

With Red, ch 8 – join with sl st to form a ring.

Round 1: Ch 1, 8 sc in ring; join with sl st to 1st sc.

Round 2: Beg4 tr CL;  (ch 5, 4 tr CL in same st and next st (see Special Stitches)) around ending with sl st in top of 1st cluster. Fasten off.

Round 3: With Orange join with a sc in any ch-5 sp, (2 sc, ch 5, 3 sc) in same sp; (3 sc, ch 5, 3 sc) in each ch-5 sp around; join with sl st to 1st sc. Fasten off.

Round 4: With Yellow join with a sc in any ch-5 sp; [ch 3, sk next 3 scs, sc in next sp (between 3rd sc and next sc), ch 3, sc in next ch-5 sp] around ending with sl st to 1st sc.

Round 5: Sl st into next sp, ch 1; (4 sc in next sp, sk next sc, 4 sc in next sp, ch 3, sk next sc, 4 sc in next sp, sk next sc) around ending with  4 sc in last ch-3 sp, sl st in starting sc. Fasten off.

Round 6:  Join Green with a sl st to any ch-3 sp; ch 1, sc in same sp; (ch 4, dc in between next 4th and 5th sc, ch 4, sc in next ch-3 sp) around ending with sl st in 1st sc.

Round 7:  Ch 1, work 4 sc in each ch-4 sp around ending with sl st in 1st sc.

Round 8:  Ch 3, dc in each st around ending with sl st to top of starting ch-3. Fasten off.

Round 9:  Join Light Blue with sl st in last sl st of Round 8, ch 3, dc in each of next 3 sts; [dc in space between current dc and next dc, dc in each of next 4 dcs] around up to last 4 sts; dc in eac of next 4 sts, dc in sp between last dc and starting ch 3; join with sl st to top of starting ch-3. Fasten off. (80 dc)

Round 10:  Join Dark blue with sc in the top of the ch-3 that started Round 9; sc in each st around ending with sl st to 1st sc.

Round 11:  Beg. 5tr-CL; (ch 5, 5 dc-CL over next 5 sts) around ending with ch 5 and sl st in top of 1st cluster. (16 clusters) Fasten off.

Round 12:  With White join with a dc in any ch-5 sp, 5 dc in same sp; work 6 dc in each ch-5 sp around ending with sl st to 1st dc.

Round 13:  Ch 1, sc in sp bet 2 sets of 6 dc (right at the sl st join that ended Round 12); (7 tr in space between 3rd and 4th dc of next 6-dc set, sc in space between current 6-dc set and next) around ending with sl st in 1st sc. Fasten off.

Round 14:  With Hot Pink join with sc in back loop of center sc in any 7tr-shell; working in back loop only, sc in next st, hdc in next st, dc in each of next 3 sts, hdc in next st; (sc in each of next 3 sts, hdc in next st, dc in each of next 3 sts, hdc in next st) around ending with sc in last st; sl st in 1st sc.

Round 15:  Now working in both loops, ch 3, dc in each st around; sl st in top of starting ch-3.

Round 16:  Ch 1, sc in same st, (sk next 3 sts, 9 dtr in next st, sk next 3 sts, sc in next st) around ending with sl st in 1st sc.  Fasten off.

Finishing:

Using the large eye yarn needle carefully weave in all the ends on the back side of the mandala.

Optional: Wrap duct tape around hula hoop so completely covered

Using Hot Pink plarn strips tie mandala to hula hoop making sure center is same distance from hoop all around and scallops extend beyond hoop

And, there you go, a big, bold and beautiful mandala by upcycling colorful plastic tablecloths!

I hope you enjoy making this as much as I did – please post your photos on this project’s Ravelry page here or send them to me via email – I would love to see your creation!

Happy crocheting!

 Jennifer

PS – Here is an image for your Pinterest board:

 

Copyright 2018 – Jennifer E Ryan, all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher but please do link to this page to share this pattern with others.

If you wish to make items for sale from this pattern, please see our About page for details.

 

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10 thoughts on “Giant Plarn Mandala

  1. What a fabulous idea…the hula hoop is genius. Next party will have to have multiple color tablecloths…there is method to the madness!
    Great job!

  2. What a fun project and great idea! How often do we get inspired to decorate or ‘yarn bomb’ our own homes and yards? Thank you for sharing this idea and pattern <3

    Please also consider this comment as an entry for the Annie's Christmas Issue 🙂

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