"The world is not ours, the earth is not ours, it's a treasure we hold in trust for future generations."  Namibia Proverb

Today, April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the world’s largest environmental movement, Earth Day.

In honor of Earth Day we are hosting an online ‘do-it-yourself’ (DIY) workshop for the community to acknowledge the holiday. The goal of this workshop is to help protect the environment, bring awareness to our daily impact, while also supporting those in need. With everyone under ‘Shelter-at-Home Orders,’ we want to make this project available to the whole family. 

We would also like to thank Julie Gillart, a docent here at the museum, for bringing this project to our attention and getting us involved with the project led here in Savannah!

The Project

Did you know, that according to a recent study, 500 billion single-use plastic bags are tossed in waterways and landfills each year! In Chatham County alone over 4,000 individuals and families are impacted by housing challenges! 

With the guidance and assistance of Carol Greenberg from MStarArts.org, our virtual Earth Day workshop attendees will learn how to make mats for the homeless out of reused plastic shopping bags.


These durable mats are more sanitary than blankets and lightweight, so they can easily be rolled and transported with attached handles. The important thing is most shelters permit these mats because they do not get water-logged, mildewed, or bug-infested, and they can be washed.

This project is part of a large ongoing national project where communities and crafters are coming together to create these bedroll mats for members of their community and for the environment. 


We want members of the community from all skill levels to participate. It can be making the plarn balls used to make the mats, or it can be crocheting the mats.

We have tutorials for all skill levels below!

If you do not know how to crochet and want to learn please follow the link below.

Learn to Crochet for Beginners!


Supplies needed to make these mats are available for online ordering and curbside pickup from

Joann or Michaels craft stores. 

(If you are not able to get a crochet hook or you do not know how to crochet, don't worry, you can still participate!

We will have a video tutorial that does not require a crochet hook. ) 

1 Q size Crochet Hook

(available at Michaels and Joann)

Michaels Craft Store - Q Crochet Hook

Jo Ann Fabric - Q Crochet Hook

Sharp Scissors

(available at Michaels and Joann)


Michaels Craft Store - Scissors

Jo Ann Fabric - Scissors

Single-Use Plastic Bags

You can collect these from your local grocery store, friends, and family. 


(Please make sure your bags are clean before you begin.) 

What is Plarn and how do you make it? 

Plarn is plastic single use shopping bags that have been cut, looped, and rolled into a ball, much like a ball of yarn. However, Plarn is made of plastic! Plastic Yarn = Plarn

Balls of Plarn are the foundation of how to make a shopping bag mat, meaning it is the main material that will be used. If you do not want to crochet, we welcome you to make balls of plarn and work in a team with someone who can crochet the shopping bag mat. 

Below is an instructional video on how to create a ball of Plarn

Now you have Plarn...What next?

Next, you will begin crocheting!

Your final shopping bag mat(s) will need to measure  6'x2' (72"x24").


*(To see how to begin to crochet, begin the video at 6:24) 

What if I don't have a crochet hook? 

No worries! You can still participate! 

Below is a video showing how to braid and weave plarn.

Finished with your Shopping Bag Mat? 

We are asking that participants are asked to hold onto their completed mats until SAAM reopens after current restrictions around COVID-19 are lifted.

If you have questions about this DIY virtual workshop or want to send photos of completed works to be added to our website, email our education coordinator, Lisa Jackson at ljackson@savannahafricanartmuseum.org

Contact Us



201 E 37th Street

Savannah, Georgia, 31401

Visiting Hours

**COVID 19 Hours below

Wednesday - Saturday | 1 pm - 5 pm

The last tour begins daily at 4 pm

Groups will be limited to 5 per group per tour to maintain social distancing guidelines. 


*Masks are REQUIRED

Reservations are available 

The Savannah African Art Museum is closed on the following major holidays:

New Years Eve | New Years Day | St. Patrick's Day
 Fourth of July |Thanksgiving Day | Black Friday 

 Christmas Eve | Christmas Day

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