What kind of yarn should I tuft with?

Updated 9 months ago by Tim Eads

Our tufting machines can handle a wide variety of yarn types and weights, depending on the texture and look you're going for. Some things to keep in mind when choosing a yarn type and size: 

  • Is your tufted piece intended as a wall hanging, or as a floor rug in a high-traffic area? In addition to considering the aesthetic of your piece, when choosing a fiber material be sure to take into account the wear your rug might be exposed to. 
  • Yarn made with natural fibers, like wool and cotton, are more durable, promise a longer life, and shed less than synthetic-based yarns, like acrylic. 
  • If you’re using yarn that comes as a ball, skein, or hank, you’ll want to first wind this onto a cardboard yarn cone in order to easily feed it into your tufting machine. We recommend using a yarn winder (this can be a time-consuming process). 
  • Using a thinner yarn (like the crochet thread pictured below) can create a thinner pile and expose the backing cloth. We generally recommend threading your machine with two strands of yarn, but if your yarn is thin, you might thread three or four strands.  
  • Turning up the speed dial on the tufting machine can compensate for a too-thin pile, especially if you continue to tuft while moving the machine along the cloth at a slower pace. A higher speed creates more tension and tighter spacing between each tuft, which makes for a fuller pile. 
  • Experiment! You might play with tufting thin strips of fabric, running different yarn textures through your machine simultaneously, or tufting with alternative materials. Just keep in mind that loop-pile machines more easily tolerate alternative fibers than cut-pile machines (since the scissors on cut-pile machines can’t always adequately sever  materials other than yarn). 
  • High-pile pneumatic machines, like the AK-III, are only compatible with yarn.

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