What’s the best stuffing for amigurumi? (+ how to stuff!)

If you’re new to amigurumi, the question of what and how to stuff your amigurumi can be really confusing! Most amigurumi patterns will tell you when to stuff your amigurumi, or there will be an instruction to “stuff as you go.”

However, this isn’t very helpful for complete beginners, so I’m here today to break down all your options for stuffing as well as a few neat tips and tricks that I use to make sure that my amigurumi turn out nice and firm.

The best stuffing for amigurumi is polyfill, otherwise called polyester fiberfill, a synthetic fiber ideal for stuffing. Eco-friendly alternatives include yarn scraps and fabric scraps. Stuffing is essential to helping amigurumi maintain a firm, well defined shape.

Jumbo Penguin free pattern!

What is the best stuffing for amigurumi?

My favorite stuffing to use for amigurumi is polyester fiberfill. It’s inexpensive, easily accessible at your local craft store, and relatively easy to use.

You can see my favorite brand on my Recommended Supplies list as well as why I chose it!

Polyester fiberfill is usually sold in a large plastic bag (you can even get it in bulk!) and it is fluffy, soft, and pulls apart into smaller chunks easily.

This is ideal for amigurumi because being able to separate stuffing into smaller parts is key to making sure that your amigurumi is smooth and well defined.

Amigurumi patterns are usually carefully designed so that each round serves a purpose in helping the overall stuffed toy take shape, so if you stuff the amigurumi with smaller pieces, it can help the overall design look more like the way the designer intended it to look.

Here’s my tutorial on how to stuff amigurumi the way I do it to make sure that it turns out just the way you want it!

I also wrote an entire guide just on how to stuff amigurumi the right way that will help you make sure you do it right the first time!

What is polyfill made from?

Polyfill, or polyester fiberfill, is a petroleum based material in the plastic family that is frequently used for crafting purposes for its accessibility and versatility. Eco-friendly alternatives include cotton balls, yarn scraps, and fabric scraps.

Polyfill is made from a petroleum based, non-renewable resource that is not eco-friendly.

To make polyester fibers, plastic pellets are melted and pushed through tiny holes called spinnerets to form long threads, which then cool to harden into fibers.

These long threads are all bunched together to form clouds of stuffing, which are soft and durable.

Pumpkin Bear Free Crochet Pattern

What alternative stuffing is there for amigurumi?

Although I mostly use polyfill in amigurumi for its ease of use and accessibility, many crafters choose to use alternative stuffing to be more sustainable.

Here are some ideas for alternative stuffing materials you can use for your amigurumi:

  • Yarn scraps
  • Fabric and thread scraps
  • Cotton balls
  • Beans or rice (at the bottom of amigurumi)
  • Reused plastic bags
  • Stuffing from old stuffed animals
  • Cotton batting scraps

I frequently use yarn scraps from my current work in progress projects to stuff the amigurumi I’m making — after all, it saves time and waste, right?

I love doing this because it helps minimize the amount of clean up I have to do later and sometimes small yarn scraps are easier to stuff into smaller crevices than polyfill.

I’m also an avid sewist, which means that I end up with a lot of fabric and thread scraps from the endless projects I have going on my sewing machine.

The small bits of fabric that you end up cutting off from edges, corners, and from leftover fabric all adds up, and this can all be repurposed into amigurumi stuffing!

I also usually have a huge pile of thread from sewing my projects, and these function well as stuffing too.

One of the best ways to reduce your environmental impact while also reusing your old stuffed animals is to cut them apart and use the old stuffing!

This can be a great way to reuse stuffed animals that aren’t as loved anymore and to repurpose them into new ones that will be cherished 🙂

Jumbo Penguin Free Crochet Pattern

How do I stuff amigurumi smoothly?

Stuffing amigurumi is more of an art than a science, but there are definitely tips I have for stuffing your amigurumi smoothly, no matter what type of stuffing you’re using.

I’ve also written an entire guide on my exact process of stuffing (complete with video tutorial), so check it out if you want the full rundown!

The gist of it is that you need to break down your stuffing into smaller chunks so that it can fill out all the nooks and crannies of your amigurumi piece.

You can do this by pulling apart your stuffing into chunks or cutting it into finer pieces. The smaller each individual chunk is, the more smooth your amigurumi will appear overall, with fewer lumps.

Once you’ve separated your stuffing into small pieces, carefully stuff them one piece at a time into the amigurumi piece you’re stuffing, layering them on top of each other so that they don’t all clump together.

Continue doing this until the amigurumi is firm to the touch, and does not collapse beneath your grip.

Make sure that the amigurumi is evenly stuffed all around, so that there are not spots that sink in.

Continue stuffing seams as you crochet so that you don’t miss any sections of the amigurumi, and so that the joins between head and neck or limbs is stiff and not floppy.

And there you have it!

Can I use cotton balls for stuffing amigurumi?

Cotton balls are an eco-friendly material that can be used to stuff amigurumi, or crochet toys. The best method is to unroll them all the way and pull it into small pieces which can then be stuffed gently into the amigurumi piece until it is firm.

Cotton balls are a more environmentally friendly alternative than polyfill because it uses natural fiber as its base. To use cotton balls, I recommend completely unrolling the ball and then pulling it apart into small clumps, like fiberfill.

This can be quite expensive over the long run, but if you have extras somewhere it can be a way to reduce your carbon footprint while also reducing waste!

On the same note, if you quilt often, you may have cotton batting left over from your projects — this can be repurposed into stuffing as well as long as you cut it up into smaller pieces.

Waffle the Bear and Bingsoo the Penguin — I think these would be great if weighted down with a bag of rice!

Can I stuff amigurumi with rice?

Rice is an eco-friendly method of stuffing amigurumi that also adds some weight to the crochet toy. Rice should be contained in a fabric bag before stuffing to avoid any leakage. It is also imperative that the finished stuffed animal not get wet to avoid decay or mold.

Rice can be used to stuff amigurumi, as long as you’re really careful with the amigurumi and there is no chance that it will be exposed to wet conditions.

It’s also a little more finicky to use because rice needs to be first enclosed in some sort of leak-proof sleeve, like bags formed from nylon tights or fabric, before stuffing into amigurumi since otherwise the rice would slip through the stitches.

This also makes it difficult to form the rice bag to the shape of the amigurumi, unless you sew a smaller version of the amigurumi just for the rice that fits the shape.

For this reason, crafters often use rice just to hold down the bottom for a satisfying weight. This also means that you can just enclose the rice in a simple fabric pouch that you could hand sew.

Stuffing the entire amigurumi full of rice would also make the entire thing quite heavy, so this technique also mitigates that issue.