How to Crochet a Tablecloth From Plastic Bags
Crocheting a tablecloth from plastic bags is a great way to reuse and repurpose materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. With some creativity and patience, you can turn plastic grocery bags into a durable and eco-friendly tablecloth.
Selecting and Preparing the Bags
The first step is gathering a large number of plastic bags. I typically use plastic grocery bags, but you can also use other types of plastic bags like shopping bags, bread bags, produce bags, etc. I recommend using bags that are made of thin plastic film, which will make them easier to work with. Heavier plastic bags don’t crochet as nicely.
Once you have collected a good amount of bags, you’ll need to prepare them for crocheting. Here are the steps I follow:
- Cut off any store logos, handles, and bottom seams from the bags. This will leave you with a sheet of plastic.
- Cut or tear the plastic sheets into strips approximately 1-2 inches wide. The width doesn’t need to be perfect.
- Cut the strips into smaller pieces around 5-6 inches long. This makes them easier to crochet with.
- Attach 4-5 plastic strips together by knotting the ends. This joins them into a thicker “yarn.”
Make a large pile of these plastic yarn bundles to use for your project. The more you make, the bigger your tablecloth can be.
Choosing a Crochet Pattern
There are many crochet patterns that will work for a plastic bag tablecloth. The simplest option is a basic single crochet stitch, but more advanced stitches like shell stitch or mesh stitch can add some texture.
Some good crochet patterns to consider:
- Solid stitch – Single crochet throughout makes a sturdy, flat fabric. Easy for beginners.
- Granny stripe – Alternating rows of single crochet and double crochet creates a striped texture.
- Shell stitch – Clusters of double crochet stitches form a decorative wavy pattern.
- Mesh stitch – Creating open spaces in the fabric gives it a lightweight, lacy look.
The pattern you choose will affect the gauge (stitches per inch), texture, and density of the final material. Make a few sample swatches with different stitches to decide what you like best.
Consider the size of your table and how much overhang you want when planning the dimensions of your tablecloth. Add at least a 4-6 inch border all around the table’s edge.
Crocheting the Tablecloth
Once you’ve chosen a pattern, you’re ready to start crocheting your tablecloth. Here are some tips:
- Use an appropriately sized crochet hook. A size K or L hook works well with plastic strips.
- Hold the plastic yarn bundle loosely to prevent it from stretching and deforming as you work.
- Work tightly so the stitches are compact and sturdy. Plastic has less grip than yarn.
- Weave ends into the fabric rather than tying knots. Knots can untie.
- Add new bundles of plastic yarn as needed. Overlap and crochet over the ends to transition between old and new plastic.
- Block the finished fabric to help it lie flat and even out the stitches.
Take your time, counting stitches to keep the edges straight. Because plastic is slippery, you may need to rip out mistakes and redo sections until you achieve the desired size and shape.
Finishing the Tablecloth
Once your plastic crochet tablecloth is complete, there are some finishing steps to make it more functional:
- Add borders if desired. Single crochet or other edgings neaten the edges.
- Line the underside with fabric to make it softer and prevent snagging.
- Consider adding corner ties to secure it to the table.
- Wash gently and allow to fully dry before first use. The plastic may be stiff at first but will soften with washing.
- Iron on a low setting if needed to flatten or shape the plastic.
Now you have a durable, waterproof tablecloth to protect your table during outdoor dining or messy activities! Part of the appeal is its unique texture and woven look. Have fun showing off your eco-friendly creation.