Turn plastic bags into usable rope with this super easy DIY

This is basically a method of natural cordage making using plastic bags, which don't require the splitting, pounding, drying, soaking, or other prep work that most natural materials do.

You will need:

Plastic bags

What to do:

Take your first plastic bag and lay it out flat and sideways on your work space.

Cut the fused bottom and the handles off the bag and then cut the rest of the bag into strips approximately 3-5cm wide. You can measure and mark your cuts if you want a more uniform cord. Smaller strips will make for thinner cord.

When this is done you will have a handful of plastic circles.

You can prep several bags at once or do it as you go along.

Take one of your plastic circles and grip it slightly off center with both hands. Twist it in opposite directions, clockwise with your right hand and counter clockwise with your left. Eventually the strand will be twisted tight enough that it kinks in the middle and twists up on itself. Congratulations, you just made some cord.

Keep going, twisting both ends and letting them naturally twist together. If you notice one side kinking on its own then it's wrapped too tight. Focus on the other side for a bit. Occasionally I will pinch the top of my new cord and twist the section I just made a little tighter to make the strands lay together a little nicer.

Eventually you are going to get to the end of one of your strands. Adding material in this method is so easy, way easier than any natural materials I've worked with.

All you're doing here is tying a lark's head knot. Take the end of your strand that is almost finished and poke a finger through it so you once again have a loop. Take a new plastic circle and feed one end through that loop. Feed the other end of the circle through the first. Gently pull the knot you've made tight, careful not to rip your circle, and then continue twisting your strands into cord. The knot will make a bulge in the cord but that's not really a big deal.

Keep twisting your cord together until you've:
Got enough,
Run out of bags,
Get bored,
Or your hands hurt.

Finish up by tying a knot in the end of your cord and cutting the excess off.

There you go. You've just turned trash into something useful again!

So what would I use this for? Anything I would use cord or twine for. I could lash things together, I could wrap several strands to make a rope, I could use it to tie up garden vines, make a macrame strap for my ukulele or pouch for my water bottle, wrap an axe or hammer handle, I could probably weave it into a rug or a bag... anything really.

This blog is adapted from an Instructables post by UggLoveHug

1 Million Women is empowering women and girls around the world to lower their impact on the planet. If you love what we do, please support our work by donating a couple of dollars. For the price of a cuppa, you can help us inspire millions more! (click to donate)

READ THIS NEXT: [How to] Make a basket out of plastic bags

Banner image: Shutterstock

1 Million Women is more than our name, it's our goal! We're building a movement of strong, inspirational women acting on climate change by leading low-carbon lives. To make sure that our message has an impact, we need more women adding their voice. We need to be louder. Joining us online means your voice and actions can be counted. We need you.

Recent Blog Articles