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Best Rug Yarn for Tufting

Best Rug Yarns For Tufting – What Yarn Should You Use For Tufting?

When it comes to tufting, the rug yarn you choose can make or break your rug. Not all yarn types are right for the rug you want to tuft. If your rug will cover a heavy traffic area, then you need a yarn that is durable and can handle the wear and tear more efficiently. 

Tufting yarn comes in three main types. You can use wool yarn, cotton yarn, or acrylic yarn. Wool yarn is durable and strong but it’s also quite expensive. If you are a beginner, then you can use acrylic yarn. It’s softer and less costly. Cotton yarn is the least durable of all three types and is only good for wallhanging rugs.

If you’re new to rug tufting or still not sure which yarn to use, read on to find out all you need to know about tufting yarn.

What is Rug tufting yarn?

Rug tufting yarn is the textile you use to tuft rugs. It comes in different shapes and sizes. For example, you can use tapestry yarn to make sturdy and durable rugs. It’s a 4-ply yarn that’s tightly twisted and works for all types of rugs. 

Rya yarn is a 2-ply yarn with a rope-like twist. It’s about half the thickness of tapestry yarn and is much easier to use with a tufting gun. Then there’s Icelandic wool yarn. This one-ply yarn is ideal for both rugs and wallhanging pieces. However, it’s quite expensive.

Best Rug Yarn for Tufting

Best Rug Yarn for Tufting

Many factors help you decide which rug yarn is the right one for the project at hand. The texture of the rug will determine whether you want to use wool or acrylic. A flat-woven rug is sturdy and can handle heavy traffic. And for that, you’d want to make sure that the yarn is both tight and spun just right.

Wool Yarn

Wool yarn is a sturdy yarn that is good for both rugs and wallhanging pieces. You can place the rug in a hallway without worrying too much about the heavy traffic. Overall, the wool yarn is not as soft as acrylic yarn and is quite expensive. But if you know your way around the canvas and can handle the tufting gun like a pro, then wool yarn is the ideal choice for you. 

Wool Rug Yarn for Rug Tufting | LetsTuft

Cotton Yarn

Cotton yarn is quite brittle and doesn’t handle either time or foot traffic that well. It’s the least durable of all three yarn types. For that, it’s only good for wallhanging pieces. It has a softer feel than wool and isn’t as expensive either. Cotton yarn is easy to find in many online shops. That said, it has limited uses and isn’t the best choice for rugs.

Acrylic Yarn

If you’re new to rug tufting, then acrylic yarn is the best choice to start with. It’s less expensive than both cotton yarn and wool yarn. So if you make a mistake or two and waste a lot of material, it won’t cost you much. Additionally, acrylic has a soft feel to it and is quite durable. 

Acrylic Rug Yarn for Rug Tufting | LetsTuft

Rug Yarn FAQs

Do you need specific yarn for tufting?

In general, you can use any type of yarn for tufting. Natural yarn such as wool or cotton is a good choice for more experienced tufters. Synthetic blends such as acrylic yarn are good for beginners. They are easy on the wallet and the threads are softer and more malleable. 

Can you use any yarn with a tufting gun?

You can use wool yarn, cotton, yarn, or acrylic yarn with a tufting gun. What makes one yarn type more suitable than the others is how much experience you have with the tufting gun. If you’re new to the tool and are worried that you might make many mistakes and waste a lot of yarn, then acrylic yarn is the one I recommend for you.

Can you use acrylic yarn for tufting?

Acrylic yarn is a synthetic type of yarn that yields softer rugs and is quite cost-effective. However, acrylic is not very durable and doesn’t hold its structure that well. It wears off quickly so it’s not a good choice for rugs.

Is merino wool good for tufting?

Wool is a natural and environmentally friendly material that has great advantages over other yarn types. Merino wool is resistant to stains and wicks moisture quite effectively. It’s durable and stands to the test of time making it suitable for rugs that go in hallways and kitchen areas.

What is the difference between rug yarn and regular yarn?

Rug yarn is often rough and sturdy. It can handle wear and tear and rough usage. Rug yarn doesn’t unravel, wear off, or get dirty easily. You’ll use a tufting gun with rug yarn to create either a rug or a wall hanging piece.

Regular yarn is softer, flexible, and more pliable. It has less durability than rug yarn and as such is only good for knitting pieces. Regular yarn doesn’t cost as much as rug yarn.

What size yarn should I use for tufting?

When it comes to tufting, you can use the yarn size you’re comfortable with that lets you maneuver the tufting gun without making too many mistakes or ripping holes in the canvas. If you’re using Icelandic one-ply wool yarn and it’s too thin for your purposes, then you can use double or even triple strands.

How much yarn do I need for rug tufting?

That depends on the size of the rug, the type of yarn you’re using, and how many strands go into the tufting gun at a time. If you’re using two strands and the rug would have a half-inch pile, then you will need about a half-pound of yarn to tuft one square foot of rug.

How to Wind Yarn Cones for rug tufting?

You can use a yarn ball winder to wind yarn cones and make feeding the tufting gun a lot easier. Use a drill and attach it to the winding tool. Insert the winding tool into the cone and hold the yarn in your hand. Place the end of the yarn on the bottom end of the cone then switch on the drill. Use low speed and keep feeding the cone with yarn until you’re done winding it. 


If you’re new to tufting, then acrylic yarn is the best type of yarn to work with. Advanced users can work more comfortably with wool yarn and cotton yarn. You can find all your tufting yarn supplies here on Letstuft.

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