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Colourful plastic bags spread out on a white background.

Plastic bag weaving

Collect unwanted plastic bags up to recycle into fun, colourful and useful items you and your kids will love - such as a woven mat to use in the garden!

What you need

  • Lots of plastic bags – with as many different colours as possible

  • A large piece of strong cardboard (an old box would work well)

  • 3 large rubbish bags

  • Pen

  • Ruler

  • Scissors

What to do

Get Ready:

  1. To begin, each plastic bag needs to be cut with scissors down both of its long sides so it can be unfolded and flattened out to make one large rectangle. These will serve as the weaving material later. Once all the bags have been trimmed, kids should pile them up and set them aside.

  2. Now it’s time for the kids to make one long plastic strip out of the garbage bags, to make the ‘threads’ onto which the plastic bag strips will be woven. If you carefully cut down both sides of the bags, the rubbish bags will open up into a large sheet. Once all three have been cut open, kids should carefully tie the ends together so they make a really long strip of plastic.

  3. Once the bags have been prepared, kids will then need to make a weaving ‘loom’ or frame out of the cardboard, which will hold the garbage bag strips in place whilst the plastic bags are woven through them. Make sure all the sides of the box are cut away to leave a large, flat rectangle. With the pen and ruler, kids should measure equal spaces along the edges of the shorter sides of the rectangle. The spaces should be roughly 5cm – 10cm apart. Once the spaces have been measured, kids should cut slits along them, again about 5cm deep.

  4. Take the long rubbish bag strip and loop it back and forth securely between the slits on the cardboard, carefully tying both ends across the back of the board. Now it’s time to start weaving!

Have a go:

  1. Take a plastic bag from the pile, fixing one end to the cardboard frame. Kids should then weave the bag in and out of the frame, adding new bags as they go.  Remember to push each bag up to make the weave as tight as it can be.

  2. When the kids get to the end of the frame, ensure the last plastic bag is secured and prepare to remove the mat from the frame. To do this, kids must cut through the rubbish bag strips secured between the cardboard slits and tie two ends of the rubbish bag strip together at a time. Once all the ends are tied together, they will have a finished eco-mat!

Try it out: Plastic bag eco mats are great to use as plant pot rests, or to kneel on whilst gardening.