make a plarn betta!

This real­ly isn’t a “pat­tern”, per se. The only “pat­tern” part about it is the cro­chet­ing of the body. Even that is pret­ty free-formed. After the body is made you can form the fins and tails to make it into any fish you like.

I orig­i­nal­ly made the plarn bet­ta as a trib­ute to Sushi the bet­ta fish (you can read more about Sushi here, if you like), and to try my hands on plas­tic bag yarn (aka plarn).

I made the plarn out of the thin plas­tic bags found in the pro­duce sec­tion in the gro­cery store, main­ly because we don’t get free plas­tic bags from stores in Toron­to and the pro­duce bags are the only plas­tic bags I have on hand. But I think the pro­duce plas­tic bags work real­ly well for the fish because of its translu­cent and del­i­cate qual­i­ty; its soft­ness gives the fins and tails a nice drape. The reg­u­lar plas­tic bags would work too, it would just be a tad more stiff.

And of course, one could make it out of yarn of the wool­ly and fuzzy vari­ety. It might be neat to make the fins and tail out of pat­terned fab­ric, you think?

If you need instruc­tion on how to make plarn, here’s a fan­tas­tic one on goose­flesh.

I used a 3.5mm cro­chet hook, plarn, anoth­er plas­tic bag for stuff­ing, some shiny sil­ver mate­r­i­al for eyes, and white glue.

Here comes the “pat­tern”!

ch 3, 6 sc in third ch from hook, 2 sc in first sc, sc in next sc, [2 sc in next sc, sc in next sc] around and around until piece mea­sures about 2″ in diam­e­ter, end with a sl st in next sc. Don’t fas­ten off.

You’ll get a shal­low cup shape.

Fold piece in half, with the stitch on hook on one end of the fold line, like so…

Here comes the last bit of cro­chet­ing: ch 1, cro­chet togeth­er the top edges with slip stitch through back loops only, like so…

When half way across, stuff with bits of a plas­tic bag, then con­tin­ue cro­chet­ing edges together.

Final­ly, leave a 2″ tail and fas­ten off.

I made this one with seam side up, but I think I like the shape bet­ter when it’s seam side down, like the first orange/white one I made.

For fins, cut a 4″ length of plarn, hook it halfway through a stitch on the body where you’d like to posi­tion the fin, then glue the 2 halves togeth­er with a dot of white glue in between. Before the glue dries one could shape the fin a bit and trim it.

Repeat for all the fins. One could also add more plarn to the tail to make it look fuller, using the same method.

For the eyes, I looked for shiny sil­ver mate­ri­als, like this Toot­sie Roll wrap­per here. I then cut a tiny cir­cle out of it and drew the eye with per­ma­nent mark­er, and attached it to the fish with white glue.

C’est fini!


Have a fan­tas­tic day, friends!


What do you call a fish wor­shipped by oth­er syn­thet­ic fish?

The one true cod!

- Mike

56 thoughts on “make a plarn betta!

  1. Hi, I real­ly enjoy mak­ing things with plarn. I start­ed with bread bags many years ago when my aunt showed me how to make a durable rug. As my boys got old enough for Scouts I made rugs for them to have a dry and clean place to stand on in their camp­ing tents. Oth­er kids want­ed to take them home as they had no rugs in their bed­rooms ? They are easy to hose off so make a good rug for the “back” door to clean off mud, debri and pets paws. Now that I have learned a bet­ter way to cut the bags I am into tote bags as being plas­tic they can hold any type of wet material,tub toys, bathing suits and tow­els, beach toys.They are also light and expand if nec­es­sary for more stuff.I use the shop­ping bags of all kinds, the bags my news­pa­per comes in and any oth­er things I can get. Also can use the same pat­terns to make ru gs and totes out of old t‑shirts.

  2. i’m actu­al­ly look­ing for the news­pa­per bags because they’re such a love­ly shade of blue and pink. mak­ing wash­able camp­ing rugs out of plarn is such a great idea! thank you for sharing!

  3. Thanks for the tuto­r­i­al! Your fishies are so beau­ti­ful and del­i­cate. I’ve been think­ing about mak­ing a mobile for my craft room; your fish would be perfect!

  4. I think they’re great — a few togeth­er and some fish­ing *eek* nylon will make a grat mobile for the bath­room. Thank you so much for shar­ing, from the UK x

  5. Oh, this is waaay too cute. Per­fect for my grand­daugh­ter who turns 9 on Earth Day, this April 22. Thanks so much for shar­ing your creativity.

  6. Loved your fish! They are so cool. Just won­der why they aren’t in your shop? I want to make dozens and hang them all over the house, all dif­fer­ent colors.

  7. This is a won­der­ful idea! Thank you for pub­lish­ing these direc­tions. They’ve giv­en me much inspi­ra­tion! Can’t wait to make a school of my own.

  8. When I first saw this fish on Rav­el­ry, I had to look at it a few times to be sure that it was­n’t real!
    I have got to make a few of them for my brother!
    Thank you so much for the tutorial!

  9. Those fish are so cute! I have to make some in the future.…but mean­while, I just fin­ished a plarn dress. Go to my blog if you want to see it! I’m from Toron­to too!

  10. oh WOW! that’s a seri­ous­ly elab­o­rate plarn out­fit! so awe­some! thank you for shar­ing the link! i’m sure you’ll have a blast on hal­loween! and it is so great to con­nect with a fel­low toron­ton­ian, thank you for visiting!

  11. total­ly amaz­ing! I can’t believe what you’ve done with plas­tic bags! Nev­er heard of plarn… saw you on pin­ter­est… love it!

  12. This is fab­u­lous. I’ve nev­er cro­cheted before, but would love to try this. Could you rec­om­mend an instruc­tion­al web­site that explains the abbre­vi­a­tions in your directions?

  13. thank you! try the lion brand web­site, they have very com­pre­hen­sive tuto­ri­als on dif­fer­ent cro­chet­ing stitch­es. hap­py craft­ing! :D

  14. Muito orig­i­nal, além de ser reciclável, aju­dan­do elim­i­nar plástico do meio ambi­ente, ador­ei, obri­ga­da por compartilhar.

  15. i love the plarn fish. i am steal­ing it and yarn­bomb­ing with it this spring. you are beau­ti­ful!!! love your site.

  16. This is great! Thanks. I made one as a test and put it in a jar of water with fish­ing line run­ning through it and a weight on one end. It looks pret­ty cool! I think I’m mak­ing my hus­band a lit­tle desk toy. :D

  17. Hi! It’s adorable I real­ly like it…definitely gonna give it a try. I once made a BIG cro­chet fish with plas­tic bag yarn…I’ll post it some­day and show it to you. Thanks for the pat­tern and inspiration! :)

  18. I am going to be mak­ing these for my sons class for the last day at school. I love them! I just need to fig­ure out where I can get col­ored plas­tic bags!

  19. Thanks so much for this pat­tern … I think I’m addict­ed! I’ve been mak­ing amigu­ru­mi while recov­er­ing from surgery and the fish is just such fun. Play­ing around with dif­fer­ent coloured bags to get real­is­tic cal­i­co shubunk­ins and comet gold­fish. Just about to start on num­ber 7 fish since yes­ter­day. Thanks again.

  20. wow! you’ve tak­en the sim­ple plarn bet­ta to a whole dif­fer­ent lev­el of fish! so hap­py you enjoy the pat­tern! :D

  21. this is so cool i cant wait to try it!on my way to try right now! one ques­tion i’m in usa so are u using steel cro­chet hooks or the big­ger ones?

  22. Sushi is so cute. Thanks for shar­ing. I’m new to plarn­ing but eager to try this.

  23. My son and I are just in the explor­ing phase of Bet­ta’s and are cycling our 10gal aquar­i­um to get our first- in the mean­time I just made this fish from your pat­tern and I Love IT!!! I can’t wait for my son to get home from school to find this sur­prise. Thanks for tak­ing the chance and com­ing up for this pat­tern and shar­ing it :)

  24. thanks Pat! plarn is yarn made of plas­tic bags :) for the tail and fins I just tied small pieces of plas­tic bag to the body.

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