We started Escama (Portuguese for “fish scales”) three years ago after seeing the way Brazilian women incorporated used pull-tabs into their crocheting. We worked with two craft co-ops to design and produce a range of purses. Experts warned us that we’d need to use machines to get consistent quality. Luckily experts are sometimes wrong. 15,000 bags later, we’ve learned that craftswomen can do what machines can’t: make consistently beautiful bags that are also very personal. We’ve also learned that the world’s abundance of “junk” offers a lot of creative potential. Renato Imbroisi designed this decorative flower, and Eumary Moura Alves Novaes Pinto shows you how to make it.

Project Steps

Choose high-quality tabs.

Wash them until they are nicely polished. Use the wire cutters to cut any internal sharp edges off the tabs.

Start crocheting the center.

Take the smallest side of the tab, and do 5 low-style stitches. Do the same with all 6 tabs, and join them together.

Get the tabs in a circle format.

Fill in the middle space with low rounds, until it forms the center of the flower. Cut and burn the edge of the thread that is left over.

Give the petal shape.

With a high-style stitch, cover the extremities of the tab. There are about 22 high-style stitches to each tab. Move on to the next tab without a break, and cover all tabs in this same manner.


When the last tab is covered, join it to the first one with a very low-style stitch. Finish it off by burning the end of the thread, as was done to the center of the flower.

Use it as a building block to create wall hangings, or even a dress!


This project first appeared in CRAFT Volume 03, pages 118-119.