Cotton Vs Acrylic Yarn

Yarns come in a variety of different colors, weights, and textures. On your yarn journey, you may have come across yarn types like cotton or acrylic. 

Cotton and acrylic yarns are some of the most common yarns on the market. They both are awesome yarns and they share the same characteristics. 

You might be asking yourself, "Which one do I choose?". 

In this article, I'll go over the pros and cons of each, and the differences between them.

Cotton Vs Acrylic

One of the biggest differences between the two is cotton is a natural fiber, but acrylic is not. Acrylic is a man-made material and it comes from polymer.

Cotton is one of the most popular natural fiber options.

It's softer than acrylic, more durable, and is able to handle the heat.

Acrylic is one of the most popular man-made fiber options. 

Compared to cotton, it's more affordable, has a large selection of colors, and is easy to care for.


Cotton Yarn

Cotton yarn is a versatile yarn that's been around for some time. It's a plant-based fiber that is often one of the most used.

You can use it to make placemats, handbags, garments, etc. Cotton yarn is recommended for its texture and breathability. 


Cotton Yarn Pros:

  • Softness: Cotton yarn is very soft, and is said to get softer after every wash. Very comfortable to wear on the skin.
  • Breathability: It's a very breathable material, good for medium to small garments and warm weather clothing.
  • Durability: Cotton yarn is machine washable, it's generally a strong yarn
  • Affordability: One of the cheaper plant-based fibers.


Cotton Yarn Cons:

  • Shape: Easy to wrinkle. May need to provide extra care to your projects.
  • Not elastic: Doesn't stretch too well.
  • Hard to work with: Cotton yarn can be slippery to work with. Not a yarn for beginners.
  • Moisture Absorbing: Holds a lot of moisture, not good if wet. Will sag and feel heavy.

Acrylic Yarn

Acrylic yarn, a man-made fiber comes from polymer, a type of plastic. It goes through a process called melt spinning. The polymer is heated up and extruded through spinnerets. 

Acrylic yarn is a very common beginner-friendly yarn. It's inexpensive and there's a huge range of variations you can choose from.


Acrylic Yarn Pros:

  • Affordability: Cheaper than natural fibers, a very budget-friendly yarn. Perfect for beginners.
  • Versatile: There's a big range of variations, very available in all sorts of colors and stores. 
  • Durability: It's a highly durable yarn that can withstand machine washes.
  • Synthetic: You won't have to worry about allergies. Acrylic yarn is hypoallergenic.


Acrylic Yarn Cons:

  • Bad for the Environment: Acrylic is non-biodegradable, and is known to have a negative effect on the environment. 
  • Texture: This can have a very scratchy texture. It won't be as soft as cotton or wool.
  • Holds Odor: Will hold odor easily.
  • Not Heat Resistant: Acrylic will melt if it comes in contact with high temperatures. 



They are both good yarns that have their positives and negatives. What I like about both is that they're extremely versatile. You can create a huge range of items.

They also come in a variety of colors and are usually available across many stores. 

Overall I'd recommend either or depending on your experience!


If you're shopping for yarn, browse our large yarn selection here!


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