Best Cotton Yarns for Amigurumi (and cheapest!)

Cotton yarn has a lot going for it — it’s easy to care for, has great stitch definition, and can be washed easily. What’s more, it’s often extremely inexpensive and holds its shape well.

If you’re trying to find the best cotton yarn for your project, don’t worry, I’m here to tell you all about the pros and cons of my favorite cotton yarns to work with, as well as the breakdown of the cost per yard!

Cotton yarn has a lot of advantages — the stitch definition is crisp and clear so that you can see each of the stitches very well. This is ideal for beginners who might struggle with fuzzier acrylic yarn, but is also a popular choice with seasoned crocheters who just like the look of the stitches showing so well.

Cotton also tends to be much more durable and is stiffer than acrylic, which makes it ideal for babies or young children who might tug at amigurumi and pull them out of shape, and is always machine washable. Lastly, for those who want to be sustainable with their yarn choices, cotton is a natural plant fiber that biodegrades and is significantly less harmful to the environment than synthetic and even animal fibers.

As a general rule, the best cotton yarn for amigurumi is Paintbox DK because of its large color palette, low cost, and high quality. It has a clear stitch definition which makes it conducive for beginners, and is relatively thin so that amigurumi will look cuter and neater.

Here’s a quick table if you want to see it all at a glance, or keep reading for more in depth reviews!

YarnWeightCost/skeinCost/yardBest…
Paintbox DKDK$2-3$0.02Inexpensive Cotton
Ricorumi DKDK$1.69$0.03Mini Skeins
Nurturing Fibers Eco-CottonDK$5.50$0.04Soft Cotton
Schachenmayr CataniaSport$3-5$0.04Color Range
Paintbox AranAran/Worsted$2-3$0.03For Beginners (Worsted)

Keep reading to see all my favorite cotton yarns and to see example projects in each!

1. Paintbox DK – Best Inexpensive Cotton

The best inexpensive cotton brand is Paintbox DK. It’s extremely popular for its low cost (often as low as $2.00 when on sale) and a large color palette perfect for amigurumi. For many amigurumi enthusiasts, this is their go-to.

They carry a whole rainbow of colors to choose from, including a range of skin tones for dolls, and can often be under three dollars a skein. It has fantastic stitch definition as can be seen in the photos above, and will show off bright colors clearly and easily.

Cotton yarn is generally ideal for beginners because each stitch is easier to distinguish and can be counted more easily, but also comes with some trade offs. The main one is that cotton isn’t as soft or stretchy as acrylic, though it is possible to find softer cotton yarns. However, for the benefits of cotton yarn, Paintbox DK is definitely the front runner for amigurumi.

YarnWeightCost/skeinCost/yard
Paintbox DKDK$2-3$0.02

2. Ricorumi DK – Best Mini Skeins

Comparable to Paintbox DK, Ricorumi DK is another popular cotton yarn perfect for amigurumi.

Ricorumi’s color palette includes all the main colors, but also has some pastels that might not be in Paintbox’s palette.

Also, Ricorumi skeins are much smaller, more like mini skeins than full size (and are a little cheaper). This is ideal for amigurumi enthusiasts who may need a large range of colors for even the most basic project, but don’t want to break the bank.

Although both Ricorumi and Paintbox are classified as DK, Ricorumi is ever so slightly thinner, though not enough to make a huge difference.

YarnWeightCost/skeinCost/yard
Ricorumi DKDK$1.69$0.03

3. Nurturing Fibers Eco-Cotton – Best Soft Cotton

Louis the Lion free pattern here! Note how distinct the stitches are compared to acrylic amigurumi. The crown is made of Eco-Bamboo by the same company!

For those who prefer softer cotton, my choice is Nurturing Fibers Eco-Cotton.

The main drawback of cotton yarn is that it can sometimes be a little too stiff or hard on your hands. I also often found cotton yarns to be stiff and inelastic, which made it rough on my hands and generally unpleasant to work with.

However, when I came across Nurturing Fibers Eco-Cotton, I finally saw the light. This yarn is buttery soft and has a small elasticity that I truly enjoy working with. It has a little more squish than the yarns mentioned above, which also results in a less stringy texture with more bounce.

The color palette is expansive and suitable for amigurumi, including a large variety of natural tones pastels.

Eco-Cotton tends to run a little more expensive than the brands mentioned above, but for the quality of yarn, I think it’s worth it. If you’ve ever tried cotton and found it too hard and rough like I did, give this yarn a try! I even designed a super cute lion with it as you can see above.

YarnWeightCost/skeinCost/yard
Nurturing Fibers Eco-CottonDK$5.50$0.04

4. Schachenmayr Catania – Biggest Color Range

Fun fact: this was the first amigurumi yarn I ever bought! I was on a college trip to Athens and newly obsessed with crocheting, and this was the yarn that was available at the store there, since it’s a European brand.

Schachenmayr Catania is a mercerized cotton, making it smooth and a little shiny, with great stitch definition. It has rope-like texture, relatively inelastic, and is not the softest option here, but is extremely strong (because of the mercerization process).

The main advantage of Schachenmayr Catania is the enormous color range. With 91 shades, you’re sure to find almost every color under the sun. The color palette includes at least 8 shades of each color, tons of neutrals, and honestly some colors that you might never have thought of. This is a huge advantage for amigurumi, so if you’re starting a project that has lots of small nuances, this is the cotton yarn for you.

YarnWeightCost/skeinCost/yard
Schachenmayr CataniaSport$3-5$0.04

5. Paintbox Aran – Best for Beginners (Worsted)

All of the previous yarns that I’ve mentioned are DK or sport weight, which tend to be on the thinner side and good for those who are already familiar with crocheting and want to create neat, small stitches. Generally, sport and DK weight are what I prefer when crocheting amigurumi because I prefer to make palm sized amigurumi and using thinner yarn also allows me to achieve a high level of detail.

However, if you’re just starting out or just want to make amigurumi that are a bit larger, using worsted (or aran) weight yarn is a great way to go. The big sister to Paintbox DK (the first on this list), Paintbox Aran has the same low cost and good quality in a bigger size.

If you’re wondering, Aran is a common yarn weight in the E.U. that is also a medium weight category 4 yarn like worsted weight and can often be substituted for worsted weight. Although it tends to run a little thicker, it doesn’t make a huge difference.

Paintbox includes all the main colors and some pastels, meaning that you’ll probably be able to find most colors you’re looking for, making this a fantastic choice for anyone looking for medium weight yarn for amigurumi.

YarnWeightCost/skeinCost/yard
Paintbox AranAran/Worsted$2-3$0.03

Commonly Asked Questions

Is Paintbox yarn good for amigurumi?

Paintbox yarn is an excellent inexpensive cotton yarn for amigurumi. It has a large color palette, comes in small skeins, and runs between $2-3 per ball. Cotton yarn is ideal for crisp stitch definition and also for durability. It is machine washable, perfect for amigurumi.

Is cotton or acrylic yarn better for amigurumi?

Cotton yarn is better than acrylic for amigurumi because of its high stitch definition and high durability. Cotton can be machine washed and is inelastic, making it less likely to stretch out of shape. Acrylic is softer to work with, but also results in obscured stitches.

Is DK yarn good for amigurumi?

DK yarn is ideal for making amigurumi because it is thin enough to produce small, neat stitches, but is also not too difficult to work with. It serves as an easy medium between sport and worsted weight yarn, and can create amigurumi that are roughly palm sized.

What is best yarn for amigurumi?

The best yarn for amigurumi is DK weight cotton yarn. Cotton is ideal for amigurumi because of its durability and good stitch definition, and also because it can be machine washed. Brands like Ricorumi and Paintbox have DK weight cotton in large color palettes, perfect for amigurumi.