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I originally made the plarn betta as a tribute to Sushi the betta fish (you can read more about Sushi here, if you like), and to try my hands on plastic bag yarn (aka plarn).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

  21. 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 :)

  22. 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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