7 Tools You Need to Crochet Amigurumi on a Budget
Crochet is generally a pretty inexpensive hobby to start, but it can add up fast once you’re hooked (pun intended). You may already know and have some or all of the tools on this list, but I’m going share some budget-friendly tips and resources that will help you save money too. So let’s jump in to these 7 tools your need for crocheting amigurumi on a budget.
7 Tools You Need to Crochet Amigurumi on a Budget
The links in this post that go to outside websites like Walmart.com are NOT affiliate or promotional links. I do not make a commission from any subsequent purchases through these links.
1. Crochet hook
What kind is best for amigurumi?
Metal crochet hooks are the way to go for amigurumi.
This is because amigurumi are generally constructed with tight single crochet stitches, so metal stands up to the pressure better than wood or plastic/acrylic hooks, which can snap.
(Disclaimer: This is just MY opinion. I have a super tight tension and have come very close to breaking plastic hooks.)
However, plastic hooks will be the cheapest, so if you’re on a tight budget, you can always start with these.
Where can I get them?
You can get a set of 6 Susan Bates Aluminum hooks for less than $8.00 at Walmart or if you only need one hook right now, you can get single metal hooks for less than $2.00 each.
As for plastic, I’ve seen some at the Dollar Tree, but their inventory is inconsistent across locations. You can get a set of 5 Boye plastic hooks at Walmart for less than $6.00.
Head over to the Walmart website and check out their variety as well as in-store stock.
If you’ve been crocheting for some time, you know that yarn is not as cheap as everyone thinks it is. Thankfully, unlike many crochet projects, amigurumi uses SIGNIFICANTLY less yarn per project.
For example, I easily made 2 of my Nico the Narwhal pattern with just one ball of Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton (180yds/ball).
Which fiber is best for amigurumi?
In my opinion, cotton is the best and here’s why:
- Sturdy: cotton yarn, especially 100% cotton, is strong and makes toys much more durable (my 6 year old has put this to the test with her playing).
- Stitch definition: because cotton yarns rarely have a halo (that fuzzy exterior around the yarn strand in the center), they provide very clean and beautifully visible stitches.
- Comfort: now I’ll admit, some cotton yarns (cough **peaches and cream** cough) are rough and can hurt to work with, but there are many that are much softer:
- Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton! – there are 70 colors and it’s soft, but it is a bit pricier than other yarns ($3.79/ball at regular price).
- Mainstays 100% Cotton – this Walmart brand yarn is pretty identical in texture and size to Hobby Lobby’s cotton yarn, but it’s cheaper ($2.98/ball). The one downside is that the color palette is extremely limited: only 7 colors and they’re very muted/neutral tones.
- Dishie Yarn: this yarn is from We Crochet is also 100% cotton and despite it’s name is super soft. It currently comes in 30 colors and retails for $3.49/ball.
What if I don’t like cotton?
A close second to cotton is acrylic yarns.
Where acrylic wins out is in price, especially per yardage, and in availability.
For example, Red Heart Super Saver comes in a million colors and generally has about triple the yardage of the cotton yarns I mentioned above and retail for $4-7/per ball.
You can find 100% acrylic yarn almost anywhere, from the Dollar Tree and Walmart to craft stores like Michael’s, Joann Fabrics, and Hobby Lobby.
Several online retailers like We Crochet, Premier Yarns, Herrschners, Yarnspirations, Lovecrafts, etc also have tons of varieties of acrylic yarns.
I want to be clear though, just because I think these are the two best options for amigurumi, doesn’t mean you can’t use wool or bamboo or any other fiber you want. Each fiber has it’s own characteristics. For example, if you want your amigurumi to have felted parts, you need to use wool or another natural animal fiber. It won’t work otherwise.
Moral of the story, as far as fiber goes, experiment and see what YOU like best.
This list is going to be very general because I could write a novel comparing prices from the thousands of yarn retailers.
If you’re on a tight budget or not sure you’re going to like making amigurumi and just want to try it, go with number 1. Unless you want several colors, you really only need 1 ball of yarn per project, for example, most of my projects use less than 250yds in total.
- Acrylic yarn (cheapest)
- Cotton yarn
- Fiber blends (acylic/wool, cotton/acrylic, etc…)
- Wool (any natural animal fiber including merino, alpaca, etc…)
- Silk or other luxury fibers (most expensive)
3. Stitch Markers
Why do I need stitch marker?
Stitch markers are especially important in amigurumi because (more often than not) you’re working in continuous rounds, so you need some way of marking the start of your round.
Here’s other reasons you may use a stitch marker with amigurumi:
- to mark a side: which side is the face and which is the back of the head.
- to mark connecting points: in my Orion the Deer pattern, I use stitch markers to show where the legs attach to the body.
- to mark increases or decreases
What can I use as a stitch marker?
The answer is: pretty much anything.
Here’s what I have used as a stitch marker:
- scrap yarn in a different color
- safety pins
- bobbin pins
Get creative! You don’t NEED to purchase stitch markers if you don’t want to.
If I want to buy, where can I get stitch markers?
So before I tell you where to go, let me tell you that there are two main kinds of stitch markers: rings and locking markers.
As a crocheter, the locking kind will suit you better. The rings are better for knitted projects.
I got this set of locking stitch markers from Hobbii as a free gift that came with a big yarn order, but you can find them at pretty much any craft store.
Walmart sells them only online for $4.00. Other craft stores like Michaels and Joann Fabrics have them listed for between $4-$8 depending on the amount and size.
4. Tapestry Needle
If you’ve been crocheting, but are new to amigurumi, chances are you already have one (or several) tapestry needle.
I started out with the big plastic ones you can get a Walmart for like $1. These work great for regular crochet projects, but I’ve found they just aren’t sturdy enough for amigurumi.
(Like I said, I crochet super tight.)
So I switched to the metal tapestry needles. You can get a pack of them at Walmart for a little less than $2. Super inexpensive.
And the best part, is that unless you lose them (cough **like me** cough), you never have to purchase them again!
Seriously though, if you find yourself losing them, grab a magnet. Some places sell magnetic cases, but you can improvise without the expense.
My grandpa was a collector of everything he could get at a yard sale and he had a stash of these unused cow magnets. He gave me one to keep all my needles together!
(Which by the way, I had no idea that ranchers had cows swallow these to collect inedible debris in their stomachs. Needless to say, I made sure mine was unused.)
5. Sewing Pins
When you get into amigurumi, you’ll inevitably have to sew parts together and sewing pins are used to hold pieces in place while you do so.
Again, these are super inexpensive and can be found at pretty much any craft store.
However, I have one recommendation.
Instead of getting the regular sized sewing pins, get the much longer quilting pins.
These work AMAZING because the added length holds the pieces in place much better. And if you make amigurumi out of chunky or blanket yarn, these are essential!
It’s worth the maybe dollar more in cost.
I’ll be honest, I have yet to purchase a pair of fabric scissors. I still use the pair that came with a sewing kit my mom got forever ago.
Again, this is just my opinion, but as long as the scissors are sharp enough and small enough to cut in small spaces, pretty much any pair will do.
I say this especially because the prices range so wildly on fabric scissors: from $5-$30.
Some kind of stuffing is necessary for amigurumi, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money on it.
Here’s a few kinds of things you can use:
- Polyfil/fiber fill: you can buy this at any craft store and it works great, but it will be a recurring purchase.
- Scrap yarn: this works great for stuffing small parts like arms and legs.
- Plastic bags: this is actually from a friend in a Facebook group. She stuffed a pillow with her overflowing cabinet full of plastic bags.
- Old/worn out fabrics: this could include old bedsheets cut into strips, worn out t-shirts, socks with holes, etc… (just make sure they’re clean).
- Abandoned projects: now this could just be me, but I will sometimes stuff old practice projects like granny squares or gauge swatches into amigurumi if I want to save polyfil.
Use what you have! Or buy giant bags of polyfil and bring them on short car rides to embarrass your husband like I do.
Strictly speaking, you don’t NEED these things, but the more you get into amigurumi, the more you may want to try them.
Disclaimer: safety eyes are not actually ‘safe’ for children younger than 5. Depending on the manufacturer they may not be incredibly secure and can be a choking hazard.
That said, you can buy safety eyes from any craft store or only on Amazon. Although at the time of this post, the current trend is to get jumbo colorful eyes from AliExpress. (I have never personally ordered from here, so I can’t speak either way about the quality.)
Here’s the set I got from Amazon over a year ago: Safety Eyes (not an aff. link). I STILL have not used all the eyes in this set, but I am running low on the 8, 9, and 10mm eyes because I use them so much.
Many amigurumi patterns use embroidered parts and thankfully embroidery thread is super cheap and readily available at any craft store as well as Walmart.
There are tons of applications for embroidery thread including details like lashes and features like eyes and noses.
I’ll be honest, I’m not an expert of embroidering features on amigurumi (although I’m practicing), so if you’re stuck, head over to Youtube and search: how to embroider on amigurumi.
There’s dozens of videos and everyone learns different. I had to watch like 5 before I found someone who explained it in a way that made sense to me.
Like any hobby, it can get expensive fast, but crochet doesn’t have to. Even if you’re not on a budget, sometimes it’s nice to save a few dollars where you can, so you can buy more yarn, am I right?
To recap, here’s 7 tools you need to crochet amigurumi on a budget:
- Crochet hook
- Stitch markers
- Tapestry needle
- Sewing pins
- Honorable Mentions: safety eyes and embroidery thread
There are tons of ways to save money on the things mentioned in the list. There’s coupons, sales, thrifting, and getting creative.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, leave me a comment! Was there anything you found particularly helpful?
I love being frugal and saving money almost as much as I love crochet! Share this article with your friends so they can save money and make amigurumi too!
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on all the social platforms at cbfiberworks.