Crochet Tips & Tricks
How to Recycle Yarn Scraps Into Fluff for Needle Felting

How to Recycle Yarn Scraps Into Fluff for Needle Felting

As crocheters, there’s one thing we all have in common and that’s an abundance of yarn scraps. Over time the pile of forgotten yarn tails can get a bit out of hand because what on earth are you supposed to do with them? Sure you can use them for stuffing, but when you’re making amigurumi, sewing through a project stuffed with yarn scraps has its own challenges. So why not put those scraps to use another way? In this article I’m going to walk you through how to recycle yarn scraps into fluff for needle felting!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase through my links, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. View the full affiliate disclosure here.

How to Recycle Yarn Scraps Into Fluff for Needle Felting

If you’re totally unfamiliar with needle felting for amigurumi, check out this article on How to Needle Felt on Amigurumi for Beginners. It’ll walk you through the process, basic materials and more!

Materials

One of the great things about recycling yarn this way is that you don’t need a bunch of fancy materials. All you need is some scissors, patience and 2 carding brushes.

image of scissors and carding brushes for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Carding brushes are typically used for carding wool, which is a process where the fibers are brushed out to get rid of tangles and impurities in preparation for spinning it into yarn. The brushes pictured above are mini versions I got from Amazon and they work great for carding small amounts of material for needle felting. (If you want to card a lot of material I recommend getting full-size carders which will be much bigger.)

You can check out these mini carders I got on Amazon here (this is not an affiliate link, these are just the ones I bought). However, if you don’t want to buy carders, you can actually use dog brushes! Just make sure to get the ones with metal bristles.

Do you prefer to watch tutorials? You can follow all the steps in this video here:

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Prep Your Yarn Scraps

Separate Colors and Fibers

Before you can turn yarn into fluff, first you need to separate out the colors you want to use. And once that’s done it’s time to consider the fiber type of your yarn scraps. I primarily use Wool of the Andes Worsted (affiliate link) from WeCrochet which is a 100% merino wool, so almost all of my yarn scraps are the same fiber type.

image of yarn scraps for for how to recycle yarn scraps into fluff for needle felting
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Animal fibers like wool, alpaca, angora, etc… will all work great for carding into fluff and so will yarns made from 100% acrylic. You can even use acrylic blends or wool blends, but I would steer clear of 100% cotton, linen or bamboo. That’s not to say you can’t card these fibers, but they won’t fluff the way we need for needle felting.

If you’re not sure what kind of fiber your scraps are made of, do a little test by knotting a few strands into a tassel and use one of the carding brushes to try and brush out the fibers. If the fibers remain stringy after brushing for a minute or so, then the yarn is likely not going to work well.

how to check if fibers will work for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Cut the Scraps

Once you’ve picked out the color you want and checked that the fiber will work, it’s time to cut the scraps into smaller bits. Ideally they should only be a little longer than the carder, but you can definitely still use smaller scraps.

image of yarn scraps and carder for how to recycle yarn scraps into fluff for needle felting
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Carding the Scraps

Now for the fun part! Take your pile of scraps and place them on the carder one by one, catching the fibers in the bristles with some of the yarn tail hanging off the top edge of the carder.

loading the carder with scraps for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Once the carder is full (be careful not to overload it), hold it in your dominant hand. Then pick up the empty carder in your other hand and gentle brush out the strands, pulling the carders away from each other.

image of carding yarn for how to recycle yarn scraps into fluff for needle felting
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Keep gently brushing until the strands are all worked out into fluff. This may require switching the direction in which you’re brushing by flipping the carders over or pulling all the material off, replacing it and starting again. Refer to the video tutorial above if you get stuck.

The main thing is to be gentle and patient. It may seem tedious, but I promise it’s worth the effort! Once your scraps are fully fluffed out they should look like this:

finished fluff for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Mixing Colors

One of the really cool things about reusing yarn scraps like this is that you can really customize the color you want your fluff to be for your project. You can actually mix colors together to create really beautiful combinations!

In order to mix colors, you just need to card out the colors you want into fluff following the steps above and once they’re brushed out you can add both colors onto the carder and brush them together. After a few minutes of brushing the fibers should be fully mixed together and now you have a cool new shade!

mixing colors for how to recycle yarn scraps into fluff for needle felting
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

You can do this with as many colors as you want and even create streak effects by not fully brushing the strands together. The possibilities are endless!

Wrap Up

Now that you know how to recycle your yarn scraps into fluff you’re ready to use it for needle felting on your amigurumi!

needle felting with yarn fluff for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I’m excited to hear your thoughts! Will you try this method and experiment more with needle felting? Or you could use the fluff for stuffing or even collect a bunch of it for spinning back into yarn! There’s so many fun uses! Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

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Til next time, happy crafting!

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