Upcycling tutorial: make a tote, basket or rug with plastic bag yarn

The plastic problem is still huge and creating big problems in oceans, in landfill and just generally making the earth look very ugly. Still, I am an optimist, and I believe change is coming, not tomorrow maybe, but we are heading in the right direction. People are generally becoming more aware of the ecological impact of especially single use plastic and social media is full of posts showing ideas of how to reduce the use of it in your own household. I am still guilty myself of doing unplanned, spontaneous grocery shopping, subsequently accepting single use carrier bags. I buy coffees on the go in takeaway cups. It is hard to be consistent and strict about these things while they are still constantly offered to us.

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Last year India banned all forms of disposable plastic in Delhi. Europe is proposing a ban on single-use plastic items such as cutlery, straws and cotton buds in a bid to clean up the oceans. The legislation is not just about banning plastic products. It also wants to make plastic producers bear the cost of waste management and cleanup efforts, and it proposes that EU states must collect 90% of single-use plastic bottles by 2025 through new recycling programs.

upcycling tutorial

So that’s a bit about where we are at with single use plastic…but what about turning single use carrier bags into something that is usable for much longer, while they are still in existence? I am always in awe of how creative and resourceful humans are around the world. Who knew you could knit and crochet with the stuff?


How to make plarn?

 


1. Make a Crocheted tote bag our of plarn

 

plarn tote bag upcycling tutorial
Image and tutorial (in Spanish): La ventana azul

Image: MontClairMade


Plastic bags can be incredibly versatile and turned into very strong yarn for crocheting. When choosing bags for your project, consider color and texture. Select bags that are similar in thickness to create an overall good effect. Combine different coloured bags to create a pattern of colour, colour changes and patterns.

Supplies you’ll need:

20-25 clean grocery bags
Plastic crochet hook, size 6.50mm K
Scissors

Ready to give it a go?

Take me to the tutorial


plarn basket upcycling tutorial
Image: Jessyratfink

 

2. Make a basket out of plarn

A waste basket…out of waste! I love baskets for all sorts of uses, including toys, craft supplies, hats and gloves at the front door or yes, for paper waste.  How cute is this one made out of plastic carrier bags? And even better, no crocheting required.

Want to learn how?

Take me to the tutorial


3. Make a rag rug out of plarn

Great for outdoors, at the front door or in the bathroom, rag rugs made out of plastic carrier bags make surprisingly great mats. Here is an upcycling tutorial on how to make them. No crocheting needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Product review: Mad Men rug by Louis de Poortere

Today I am reviewing the Mad Men rug by Louis de Poortere. Louis de Poortere is a Belgian company that’s been around since 1929 and is still doing all their design and manufacturing in Belgium.

Now a rug is probably one of the most important elements in room design. It’s a pretty dominant feature, so you have to have a good idea of what you want for the room. Is the rest of the room busy with patterns and colours? Then opt for a calmer, plain rug. In a calm colour palette and little going on in terms of patterns on walls and furniture, you can go to town in choosing a rug with some more eye catching designs.

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Midcentury feel

This particular rug caught my eye, not the least because of being part of the Mad Men Collection, which in itself makes it a rather cool rug of course. If any of you has watched the Mad Men series on Netflix, you will have spotted the amazing midcentury furniture that featured in it.

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Scene from the series Mad Men, featuring the most amazing midcentury interiors.

Abstract design

The design of the Mad Men rug is edgy, abstract like a work of art and the colours are a soft, moody black with a sophisticated copper. Louis de Poortere says about this design on their website: “Here we find an indication of pain and disorder, of the rifts and big changes like Women’s Liberation, Vietnam, and May 68 but also of the creative energy of action painting in the late sixties.” Now, that is a lot to live up to if you are a rug! Great description though, showing the amount of thought that has gone into the design.

The Mad Men rug: distressed areas and a vintage look

Being a big midcentury modern fan, I love the design, which goes well with my interior and has “multiple layers of texture and distressed areas to give a true vintage look”. I normally prefer authentic vintage rather than something that is pretending to be old, but this rug is so beautifully made that I am persuaded. The natural material of the Mad Men rug is a mix of a velvet like cotton chenille and pure new wool, which gives it a super soft feel. The colour changes depending of the light. During the day it looks more like a cooler black, while at night it warms up and has hues of indigo blue.

Mad Men rug Louis de Poortere

Styling a room with the mad men rug

Before the rug arrived, my living room was still in ‘summer mode’, with bright patterned cushions and colourful accents all around the room. As soon as I saw the dark Mad Men rug I knew I’d have to change the colour scheme to something more seasonal. Based on the colours of the rug, I went for a more monochrome palette, with black and white cushions (and a copper/burnt orange velvet one) and a sheepskin rug on the sofa. The tan leather chair by Scottish designer Hugh Parsons picks up the copper in the rug and so does our trusted walnut coffee table. I hunted around the house for more muted artwork and I added my copper wire lantern that I still had in storage from last winter. Perfect to get back out for this season.

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Monochrome combined with copper accents

Other accessories that make a nice match with the rug are a 1957 black vintage US trailer plate, an original black screen print by Scottish designer and adult colouring book giant Joanna Basford and a green glass demijohn vase I picked up an in a charity shop once. House plants make any room look good.

The Mad Men rug has completely transformed my living room and I like it. Giving it sophistication, warmth and interest. We’re ready for winter.

monochrome combined with copper accents

Mad Men rug Louis de Poortere

Find your local stockist of Louis de Poortere on their website www.louisdepoortere.be/find-store

Boho interior design: pink walls and kilim stair runners

I am quite drawn to pink this year, probably because it has made a bit of a comeback in the world of interiors. It is surprising how good it looks, especially if you love a bit of boho interior design. It is soft, sophisticated and still giving a space a lot of personality.

I also came across this amazing stair runner made out of (pink!) kilim rugs. Kilims are an all time – timeless – favourite of mine (and also of many Instagram followers it seems, as my post of this picture had a record amount of likes!), so I will definitely keep the idea in mind if I ever get asked to revamp a hallway/stairway. I also included some nice chairs. Because…legs…and shape. Yum! What have you been inspired by this week?

boho interior design
www.mlkbttl.com
boho interior design
www.architecturaldigest.com
boho interior design
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boho interior design
www.journelles.de
boho interior design
www.urbanoutfitters.com

Oriental rug roundup. Over-dyed, kilims and faded vintage rugs.

Choosing a rug can be quite tricky. There are so many nice ones in a million different colours and styles. Plus, when they are large they have a big influence on the style and feel of your room, so it is important to think about the look you ultimately want to achieve. I am currently very much in love with the vintage oriental, or Persian, ones and I was lucky enough to find a giant red one for little pennies on Gumtree last year, including the worn patches for added ‘character’! I have gathered some great images for you below of fabulous oriental rugs and how to use them in your interior. Enjoy!

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image: www.smittenstudioonline.com

A beautiful rich oriental rug is looking great in a bright bedroom. Wonderful blue ombre curtains too.

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image: www.turbulences-deco.fr

The nice thing about traditional rugs is that they go quite well in a contemporary setting, combined with other vintage pieces but also in front of a modern sofa on your living room floor. Very versatile and timeless, making it a good investment.

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image: my Domaine

Don’t forget your hallway! A colourful runner can make a great statement. This should also be not too expensive as they are a lot smaller. A good place to find vintage rugs is your local auction house. Just browse their online catalogue and see what is coming up.

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image: joannagoddard.blogspot.com

A way to add a pop of colour to a bright room with lots of whites is to add a vintage red rug. Goes very well with the Eames chairs too.

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Image: light and dwell

A vintage rug and a velvet sofa. You don’t need much more to create a beautiful, cosy room.

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image: domainehome.com

I also love faded blues and indigo patterns right now. If you are not really into the traditional reds, try and find an ‘overdyed’ rug in a blue or green shade. Great if you combine it with natural wood, greys and whites for a calmer look.

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image: London House rugs

Kilim rugs are another traditional type of wool rug from the middle east, usually with geometrical patterns or stripes, but instead of the Persian rugs shown above kilims are flat woven. They come in fabulous colours and can really give your room a stylish boost if your looking to brighten up the space. A lot of high street shops now sell kilims in both traditional patterns and contemporary styles, including John Lewis, West elm and Ikea.
You can also try sourcing gorgeous vintage kilims on Etsy or other online stores such as kilim.com

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Image: Red Magazine
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A modern style kilim by John Lewis