Combine recycling plastic bags, volunteers of all ages and the desire to help your community for a rewarding community service project. Plastic bags turned into sleep mats for the homeless by making plarn. Plarn is then knitted or crocheted into the sleep mats donated and distributed to those in need. The sleep mats provide protection from the weather and are easily transported with a carrying strap. In my area the sleep mats are made by volunteers and distributed by shelters and non profit agencies. But what is plarn? And do I make enough plarn? A little organization and alot! of plastic bags will start the process. Learn how and my tips to make your Plarn Drive a success!
Each sleep mat made from plastic bags require 500-700 plastic bags PER sleep mat. Yes, you read that right! But what a worthwhile way to help our environment while paying it forward to those in need in your community. Planning is the key when collecting plastic bags for your community service project – If you are interested in the how to turn plastic bags into sleep mats for the homeless, click here for the instructions.
How To Hold A Plarn Drive To Make Sleep Mats For Homeless
Preparation and organization is the key to running a successful drive for plastic bags. I guarantee if you put out the word in your community you will be rained on with plastic bags. This is a good thing! Great way to recycle plastic bags! Here are a few tips I have found through experience both collecting plastic bags and making the sleep mats.
- Ensure your sleep mat has a “home”. Contact prospective shelters and agencies prior to beginning the project. Not every shelter is equipped to distribute sleep mats or has a clientele which can use or transport a sleep mat.
- Where will the plastic bags be stored before making into plarn? A plarn drive can yield thousands of plastic bags.
- Contact local knitters and crocheters to create the sleep mats. Crafting guilds and local craft stores are a good resource.
- Schedule a plarn prep event to coincide with your plarn drive.
- Consider the season in your planning. Making a sleepless mat requires hours of knitting or crocheting. Fall and winter is the time in my area crafters are looking for projects due to the colder weather. Many schools are looking for community service projects in the Fall and for Christmas.
- Churches and community service groups are usually more than happy to provide meeting rooms.
- Enjoy helping your environment and your community simultaneously.
How To Involve Children In The Volunteer Plarn Project
Holding a plarn drive is a wonderful way to involve your kids into a community service project. Of course the kids can help sort the plastic bags as they arrive; but kids can also make plarn! This is a good project to organize into an assembly line for the kids to participate.
- Sort the plastic bags by size and type.
- Straighten and flatten plastic bags.
- Cut off the tops of the plastic bags.
- Cut off the bottom of the plastic bags.
The plastic bags are now ready to be made into plarn (plastic yarn.)
How To Make Plarn From Plastic Bags Tutorial
I’ve made a short tutorial to learn how to make plastic bags into plarn. Kids absolutely can participate in the making of plarn as the scissors do not have to be sharp – only sharp enough to cut a plastic bag. This is a wonderful way for kids to learn sustainability while contributing to a volunteer project for the community. Written directions are available here.
Yoga Straps For The Sleep Mats From Plastic Bags
After the sleep mat is made from plarn the final step is making a strap so the sleep mat can be easily carried over the shoulder. The strap needs to be strong and sturdy enough keep the sleep mat secured on the individual. Yoga straps make an excellent choice for the sleep mat strap. The straps can be made with plarn, but if a shortcut is needed or perhaps community members would like to donate to the project but are unable to materially participate, a donation of yoga straps is always welcome.
The straps are also adjustable which makes yoga straps easy to customize for the individual. Attach a six feet long adjustable yoga strap to the sleep mat and the sleep mat is complete and ready to donate!
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