10 Alternative Materials You Can Use to Crochet

It isn't yarn but you can crochet with it

Pliers and wire spools on table
Maskot Getty Images

Recently we've taken a look at the many different animal fibers that you can crochet with as well as the many different plant fibers that have been turned into yarn for crochet. But you can basically crochet with anything that resembles string; it doesn't have to be a fiber at all. Today we'll look at ten different materials that you can use for crochet if you want to play with something other than yarn.

1. Fabric

Fabric can be turned into thin strips and connected together to create beautiful yarn-like material that is used for crochet. The most well-known examples of this are rag rug crochet and T-shirt yarn.

2. Plastic

In recent years it's also become widely publicized that you can turn plastic bags into yarn. This plarn can be used to make a wide range of different items. One common charity use is that people use plarn to create sleeping mats for the homeless.

3. Wire

Wire crochet is commonly used to create beautiful jewelry. You crochet with very thin wire in the same way that you crochet with yarn. One of my favorite crochet jewelry designers is Alessandra Stabili. Wire crochet can be used to create other items besides jewelry, though; check out Yoola's wire crochet lamps.

4. Glass

Very few people have mastered the art of crocheting with glass but believe it or not, it can be done. Check out the beautiful work of Catherine Carr who has perfected the art of making glass crochet items.

5. Paper / Newspaper

Almost any kind of paper can be turned into a yarn-like fabric if you're patient enough to work with it in a way so that it doesn't tear. Ivano Vitali provides an excellent example of newspaper crochet fashion.

6. VHS / Cassette Ribbon

Head to a local thrift store or yard sale and rescue a handful of old VHS tapes or cassette tapes from the bargain bin.

Pull the ribbon out of those tapes and use it like yarn to create beautiful upcycled crochet items. It's a little bit stiff so it's great for making durable items like vases and vessels.

7. Balloons

I imagine that it's really difficult to crochet using balloons as your material but I know that it can be done because the wonderful artist Olek has proven it.

8. Cellophane

I've actually never seen examples of any crochet that was done with cellophane. However, in researching the history of crochet, I came across a 1935 book called Craft with Cellophane that included crochet instructions for this material.

9. Aluminum Pop Tabs

Technically, you don't crochet with the aluminum in this niche craft but it's such a key part of the project that I figure it's worth including. You crochet with thread around the aluminum pop tabs to create beautiful accessories and other items. 

10. Food

Laurie Wheeler writes, "From licorice ropes and cooked spaghetti, intrepid crochet lovers have made projects that amuse and inspire other crocheters to take it one step further in the quest to find unusual “fibers.” She herself has crocheted with bacon.