This post contains affiliate links – for more about our policies, please visit our About page.
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.
Check out more recycle crochet projects!
I enjoy combining crochet with recycling and have several projects and patterns here and here on the blog featuring plarn and upcycling.
Skill Level: Intermediate
Measurements: 36″ across
- 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
Get Access to Special Offers, Discounts and Free patterns!
Before we get to the pattern, I invite you to follow Celtic Knot Crochet on Youtube, Instagram and Pinterest to see my latest tutorials, fun pics and a portfolio of all of my patterns and designs.
And don’t forget to sign up for our weekly newsletter here where you’ll receive new free patterns to your inbox and be notified about tutorials. You’ll also find out how to enter a bunch of neat giveaways, receive discounts in my pattern shop and get access to our Resource Library! Plus, you’ll receive a FREE Celtic pattern instant download as a thank you gift.
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
Option: You can make your mandala with plarn made from plastic bags, too – Here is a great graphic on how to make yarn from plastic bags courtesy of All Free Crochet – Click on the graphic to be able to download it as a pdf file!
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: Beg. 4 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.
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 tag me on Instagram (@celticknotcrochet or #celticknotcrochet) or send along a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org – I would love to see your creation!
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.
14 thoughts on “Giant Plarn Mandala”
I love the idea of plarn but I’d never found anything I wanted to make with it before now – this is such a genius idea! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂
You are welcome! Thank you for stopping by – the giant mandala is a real showstopper 🙂
You say “Plarn” is part yarn, part plastic. Do you mean it is plastic and used like yarn? I didn’t see any yarn involved at all.
It is a very good concept, and the colors are beautiful.
Hi – Thank you for your question. You can make “Plarn” out of plastic bags or plastic tablecloths. When you cut up the bags and tablecloths into strips, you can now use these items like you would use yarn. It becomes something like plastic string or rope. Happy crocheting!
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 🙂
You are welcome – Glad you like this idea.
I’m excited about this pattern. It incorporates two of my favorite things, crocheting and recycling. ☺️
I love crocheting and recycling, too. 🙂
Love this so much. There are so many ways to use this Plarn… I can’t wait to experiment.
I hope you have fun experimenting!
What a fabulous idea…the hula hoop is genius. Next party will have to have multiple color tablecloths…there is method to the madness!
Thank you! It is fun to make and the tablecloths come in great colors. 🙂
Very pretty. I love repurposing things! Thank you for this beautiful pattern.
You are welcome – Glad you like to repurpose, too!