Skin tones can be hard to match with yarn. Some can be unrealistic, skewing oddly towards non-human skin colors. Some may be a little too white, a little too orange, or a little too blue!
(Of course, that might be perfect for your character. Use whatever works for you!)
As an amigurumi designer who loves making dolls, this has thrown a wrench into my usual calculus for my favorite yarn to use. Of course, crocheting amigurumi means that I need a wide color palette, since switching brands of yarn can introduce all sorts of new variables. However, the biggest problem is that many yarns do not have suitable skin color options, meaning that if you want to make a doll, you might have to go out and rebuy a lot of colors.
Because of this issue, I decided to create this huge tutorial on various skin color yarns that are perfect for amigurumi dolls.
As a general rule, Hobbii Amigo has the best skin color yarn for making amigurumi dolls, with both light and darker tones. Use Light Peach for a fair skin tone and Walnut or Chocolate for darker skin tones. WeCrochet Brava is a great back up choice as well.
Keep in mind that colors appear differently based on how you see the world and how your computer screen is set up. Different screen settings may change how the colors appear to you, which can cause some annoyance if you receive a color that you expected to be darker or lighter.
It is always best to look at yarn in person, since you won’t be tricked with digital screens that way, but not everyone has that option. Don’t worry! I’m here with some of my recommendations of skin tone yarns to help point you in the right direction.
As a general rule (with me assuming you are planning an amigurumi while you are here), the best yarn to make amigurumi with is acrylic or cotton. I like using sport weight yarn because it helps my amigurumi look cuter and neater.
You can use any yarn weight you would like. In my list, I have recommended sport, light worsted (DK), and worsted weight yarns.
Cotton allows for crisp, sturdy stitches. Acrylic is softer and the most cost effective yarn. Pick whichever one you prefer! I like and use acrylic the most, so the majority of my recommendations will be for acrylic yarns.
The options I go over today will include a range of skin tones, from lighter to darker.
Here is a list of all the yarns I talk about at a glance:
|Fiber & Weight
|Brava Sport & Worsted
|Acrylic (Sport / Worsted)
|340 yds (Sport) / 218 yds (Worsted)
|Friends Cotton 8/8
|Paintbox Simply DK
Table of Contents
This is my go-to yarn when it comes to skin tones. My absolute favorite tone is Light Peach (A46), which you will see on many, if not most, of my dolls.
While it is listed as a light worsted or DK weight yarn, I personally think it is closer to a sport weight than a light worsted weight. It is perfect for creating palm-sized dolls, especially if you follow any of my patterns (built to be small and cute!).
While I love love LOVE using Light Peach, Amigo doesn’t have the largest gradient. Sand, while a bit too grayish for my tastes, could be another light skin tone if you are looking for something less pink or white.
Dark Beige and Walnut are good candidates for darker skin tones, but they lack the full bodied warmness that might be more suitable for a skin tone.
I don’t personally see myself branching out beyond my lovely Light Peach, at least for skin tones. Beyond that, Amigo has a huge collection of bright colors that would be perfect for clothing or anything else!
You can see examples of Amigo Light Peach on nearly all of my dolls, such as Juliet the Mini Doll and Carmen the Mini Doll. In the materials, it might be listed as ‘beige’ but it is still Light Peach! For examples of other bright colors, you can check out my Leprechaun pattern (he still uses Light Peach for his body).
Brava Sport (WeCrochet)
Brava Sport is by far my most favorite acrylic yarn. If I could use it for everything, I would! In general, I prefer using sport weight to create smaller, cuter, neater dolls and amigurumi.
Even though this is also listed as a sport weight yarn, Brava reads more as a worsted weight versus Hobbii Amigo (another reason why it’s difficult to mix and match yarn colors).
It is an affordable, high quality acrylic yarn. It is soft (unlike many acrylic yarns) and has a great stitch definition. Plus, it is inexpensive!
You wouldn’t know that when you use it. It feels as if you spent a full ten dollars on just one skein, but you didn’t. It’s a steal!
It also has a huge collection of colors to choose from, but it only has one fair skin tone: Cream.
I have used Cream before, but it is not my go-to skin tone color. I find it a bit too pale for my dolls as it seems to err more on the whiter side of things in my opinion. In the above photo, However, if I ever run out of my absolute favorite Light Peach (Amigo from Hobbii), Brava’s Cream is my backup color.
In the photo below, you can see how the two skin tones compare. Jackie (right) is still really adorable, but her skin has the whitish tinge characteristic of WeCrochet Brava whereas the Sugar Plum Fairy has a rosier beige.
However, because of its huge collection of colors, Brava Sport has a few great colors that would work for darker skin: Almond, Brindle, Sienna, and Umber Heather. This makes Brava Sport a very strong contender for those who see themselves frequently needing a larger gradient of skin tones to work with. Brava Sport is also one of the best color palettes out there for amigurumi yarn since the selection is so large, so you can’t go wrong here!
You can see examples of Cream for the body and Almond for the hair in my Sugar Plum Fairy and Jacqueline the Cellist patterns. With Julie the Bear Girl, you can see examples of Cream for the body, Almond (or Dark Beige) for the clothing, and Chocolate for the hair.
Below is Angelica, a doll I’ve made using Almond for the base doll.
Below is Angelica, a doll I’ve made using Almond for the base doll.
Brava Worsted (WeCrochet)
If you like Brava yarn but would rather use a heavier weight than sport, why don’t you check out Brava Worsted’s collection? While I like using sport yarn the most, that does not mean I can’t recommend worsted weight yarn!
Since I love Brava Sport so much, Brava Worsted has to be included for those who like their amigurumi to be a bit bigger. This particular yarn has about 5 more skin tone colors to choose from than Sport, which is fantastic.
There are a few more color choices for tan and darker skin tones, such as Espresso, Gingerbread, and Carob. They still have Cream available, but not much beyond that for fair skin tones without dipping into a pinkish or blueish leaning color.
If I ever needed to make a doll in worsted weight yarn, Brava Worsted would be the one I would choose. That’s how much I love it!
Friends Cotton 8/8 (Hobbii)
As with many Hobbii yarns, there are a plethora of colors to choose from, ranging from white all the way to some of the brightest oranges or yellows you have ever seen. However, because of this, they’ve also created some great skin tone yarns.
This is another 100% cotton yarn, so please keep that in mind when checking this one out! Many people have said that it is one of the softest cotton yarns they have ever worked with.
They have a decent collection of fair skin and dark skin colors as well as bright colors for clothing for your dolls and more! If you enjoy Hobbii cotton yarn, this may be your best choice in the entire list.
It looks like they have three fair skin tones: Cream, Oatmilk, and Beige. That’s a decent collection!
I have not used this yarn before, but based on what I can see from the online store, their colors would not be the best fit for me.
In my opinion, their ‘Cream’ color is a bit too pink, ‘Oatmilk’ is a bit too white, and ‘Beige’ is that sort of pale brown that I think would look better for hair or neutral clothing pieces, so I’d probably pass on that.
I just want to mention that I am not trying to dissuade you from checking this yarn out if you’re interested – just because I personally don’t use it doesn’t mean that it is a bad yarn. It might work perfectly for you!
There are plenty of crochet artists who enjoy using this yarn, such as Once Upon a Cheerio. She has talked about her experience with it, which I have linked in case you would like to check out a detailed review from someone who enjoys this yarn.
Paintbox Simply DK (LoveCrafts)
While I personally haven’t had the honor of trying out this acrylic yarn (I have checked out its cotton yarn – it’s a good one), I know quite a few designers who enjoy it. I have heard that it’s surprisingly quite soft for an acrylic yarn.
What surprised me was the amount of yards (302) that came in one skein. I don’t know why it caught my eye, but that’s quite a good amount for the price. It’s a fairly inexpensive yarn, similar to Brava Sport.
It has oodles of different colors to choose from, but in terms of skin tones, there aren’t many realistic shades. However, it has more skin shades than Amigo from Hobbii!
For its fair skin tones, I think that Vanilla Cream and Light Caramel are the best options. Light Caramel may be on the orangey side for some people, though. I thought about including Champagne White in the list, but I think that’s a little too white for me.
For dark skin tones, Soft Fudge or Coffee Bean may work for you. Out of all the colors, in my opinion, these seem to be the most realistic in terms of skin tones.
Schachenmayr Catania (LoveCrafts)
Catania has quite a collection of colors for realistic skin tones, even if they weren’t originally meant for skin. In my opinion, it has about 4 fair skin tones, which is a solid amount to choose from!
As I’ve stated before, and will continue to say, everyone experiences colors differently, so you may see a color darker or lighter than I do, and that’s okay. This is just my experience!
The fair skin tones from Catania are Cream, Honig, Sand, and Bast. Cream (or beige as you may see me reference it in my patterns) is my favorite to use for my dolls.
Honig, while a bit on the orange side, is another decent choice if you’re looking for a peachy color for your doll’s body base. If you’re looking for something less orange and more light brown, Sand or Bast might fit the bill for you.
This is a 100% cotton yarn, so keep that in mind when choosing this yarn. Cotton tends to create sturdy items, but it feels and acts differently than acrylic, especially when getting washed. Make sure to read your labels!
Skein Tones (Lion Brand)
This collection of yarn boasts 17 different skin tones for you to choose from! These tend to lean towards darker skin tones, but there are some fair skinned tones included as well.
It is an incredibly versatile collection, including lovely peachy shades and soft orange tones that don’t look unrealistic. While they would clearly work for bodies of dolls, it is great for any item that needs a neutral shade.
This collection is great if you’re looking for a larger selection of skin tones. it is specifically catered towards those who wish they could have a specific color that looked more realistic. You won’t have to be stuck with that slightly-too-pink or that greenish-brown thanks to this collection.
I haven’t used it before, but I know that many people do like it! This is a worsted weight acrylic yarn, so it is a bit bigger than what I like to use. If you enjoy worsted yarn, this is a great yarn to test out!
These yarns are part of one of Lion Brand’s anti-pilling yarn families. Pilling is when friction and time balling up bits of the yarn to create little ‘pills’ on the outside of your creation.
It’s never fun when that happens. It can cause weakened areas, and it just doesn’t look great either. It can be annoying to fix. You won’t have to worry about any of that with anti-pilling yarns.
If you really like their anti-pilling yarn, they do have 52 colors available; these specific 17 are focused more on the neutral colors that would work for dolls (or anything else).