This project is fairly easy and results in a practical product for your home. Many areas don’t have any place to turn in shopping bags for recycling, and this is just another way to get a second use out of a perfectly good product instead of sending it to the landfill.
The mat can be made in any size. The plastic is not absorbent, of course, but when it is crocheted up it is quite stretchy, and the mat is spongy enough that it might be good to stand on in front of a sink. It is also slightly rough. If you live where it’s sandy, this would be a good mat to keep outside the door to wipe off the sand, which would then fall through the mat to be swept up later.
It is more difficult to crochet with the plastic strips than with yarn as they are a little more stiff and the knots can get in the way, but since the finished product doesn’t have to be too precise, it all works out all right.
You can make this in single or double crochet. Single crochet will be tighter, but either one looks fine. I used a combination of the two and ended up with a mat 24×36 inches by using 44 bags.
SC= single crochet
DC= double crochet
crochet hook, size N (or whatever you are comfortable using on the strips- probably nothing smaller)
plastic shopping bags, about 50
Decide on your finished size. For a door mat, 24 x 36 inches might be a good size, but measure and make your own choice. Subtract the short side from the long side. In the example, that would be 36-24=12. So you want to begin with a crocheted chain that is 12 inches long.
Create the plastic yarn. Spread a shopping bag out flat on a surface, straightening the bottom and sides of the bag. Fold it over several times, just to make it easier to cut the strips. See picture 2. Begin at the bottom edge, and cut off the seam. Working toward the top of the bag, cut strips about one inch wide. Unless you are really terrible at guessing widths, you can just estimate this and cut; they don’t have to be too exact. See picture 3. The number of strips you will get depends on the size of the bag, but you will end up with a bunch of loops. String these loops together by overlapping, and pulling the other end through, like joining rubber bands. See picture 4. The only tricky thing about this is to be sure that each loop is joined to the center of the previous loop so that each side is the same length. Carefully work the knot fairly tight. If you pull too hard, the plastic will break, but if you do break a side, you can just tie it back together with a square knot.
I just cut up one bag at a time, looped them together, and then crocheted up that length. Of course, you could make a huge ball, but it seemed unwieldy to me.
Make a chain the length of the difference between the dimensions of your finished mat. Don’t make it too tight because you will need to crochet two stitches in each chain.
For single crochet:- Chain one more and SC in one loop of second chain from hook, continue to the other end of the chain. 5 SC in the last chain. SC down the other side of the initial chain through one loop, being careful to make the same number of stitches as on the first side. 5 SC in the final stitch at the other end. You now have a long, very skinny oval. Crochet down the long side and 3 SC in the second of the 5 stitches where you previously turned the end. SC in the third of the 5 stitches, 3 SC in the fourth of the 5 stitches. End is turned, and beginning to be squared off. Crochet down the long side, and do the same at the other end to turn.
Continue crocheting around and around. Work 3 DC in the center stitch of each corner set of 3 DC which have been made in the same stitch of the row below. This square the corners. When the mat has reached the desired size, end in a corner stitch with two DC, pulling the final loop through. Weave in the loose end.
For double crochet- Chain two more and DC in one loop of third chain from hook, continue as above, using DC throughout.
White printed bags result in a somewhat confetti-ish look. Of course, you could collect bags of various colors and actually plan a pattern of colored rings.