Tina Dean Designs Transforms Plastic… Into Fantastic!
What is Upcycled? Better yet, what is Plarn? Well those are words used to describe what Tina Dean Allen is doing at Tina Dean Designs.
Upcycled is re-using something to make something new instead of throwing it away also termed re-purposed. In Tina’s case she is upcycling plastic grocery bags and that brings me to plarn! What?
When you think of using plastic bags to crochet, it is hard to imagine or visualize. It is quite a time consuming process.
Plarn, or plastic yarn, is a wonderful way to recycle/upcycle those plastic bags that most people throw away. In Tina’s own words, “Heck, I made a business out of it!”
I just received one of Tina’s Tote Bags for my wife and all I can say is WOW!
I had only seen photos and was impressed, but until you see the work in person and feel the texture of these bags, you can not even imagine.
Wow! They are beautiful! and you would never guess that they were made from recycled bags!
How does she do it?
Well, in the interest of ‘education’, Tina provided us with the following pics of plarn in process…
The art of Crochet is just that – an art. Tina takes it to another level. Her pieces are not only amazing to look at, they are quite functional!
A sewing machine is used to prepare the linings and zippered pockets, Tina personally hand sews the linings into each bag. There really isn’t any other way to do it, because the crocheted plastic is too thick for a sewing machine.
Snaps are also put in by hand.
That’s why everything is really one-of-a-kind, even if it’s a duplicate of an item, it’s handcrafted, so it won’t be exact.
Check out her baskets as well, also made from upcycled plastic bags:
When Tina is not using old plastic bags, she uses yarn and old VHS tape.
She tells me that she uses VHS tape in conjunction with yarn. It seems that VHS tape is squeaky without yarn to buffer it.
Tina’s wristlets given as press gifts at the GBK Prime Time Emmy Gift Lounge were spotted by Penny Marshall and Nia Peeples.
They each wound up taking one because they thought they were so cool (her display purse was given to Catherine O’Hara).
This year Tina will have a display piece and swag gifts at the GBK Oscars Gift Lounge. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get to attend the event, but has excellent representation through The Artisan Group.
As you can see what Tina does is more than just recycling some old plastic, she puts her sweat into creating something beautiful from what would normally be TRASH!
The actual crocheting of a tote/purse, depending on size and the crochet stitches used, can take anywhere from 1.5 hours (for a wristlet) to over 8 hours. The larger totes use 100 plastic bags or more, again depending on the stitch used.
So between prepping the plarn and crocheting the items Tina Dean Allen is putting an enormous amount of time into each and every design, to create something special for those who purchase!
Tina also has an amazing line of Bath accessories which she also hand crochets. For the wash cloths and soap holder/soap saver, Tina uses 100% cotton grown in the USA
Tina tells me that she is currently working on some prototypes utilizing fused plastic. Fused plastic can be sewn like a fabric. She is interested to see how it turns out and I can’t wait to see for myself!
Tina would also like everyone to know that she does custom orders, she can even use your specific bags. Email her via her website to see what she can do with them!
If you are looking for something special for that Go Green Gal, check out Tina Dean Designs! She’ll be glad that you did! And so will Tina!
follow Tina on Twitter @tinadeandesigns
“Green Starts at Home, what are you waiting for?”
About the Author (Author Profile)
Creator/Host of Go Green America TV
Jeff (Jf) Davis aka The Go Green Guy is from Maine
Moved to LA to follow his passion as an actor
these days he is still acting, lives in LA with his wife and two boys
an writes about Green Living for his website Go Green America TV
that will soon be a TV show!!