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Paintbox Recycled Cotton Yarn Review

Holding yarns eco yarn review

The yarn company Paintbox, brought out several new recycled yarns at the end of 2019 and boy am I happy about that! The Recycled Cotton Worsted is 100% recycled cotton!!! A very much needed addition to the recycled yarn market. There aren’t many others that are 100% cotton, most are cotton with mixed fibres. The range of colours is lovely but there is room for improvement.

It comes in a 100g ball and has approx. 155m (169yds). Recommended hook size 3-4mm.

It is labelled as worsted weight and technically this means it is not quite as thick as Aran weight, but as ‘Worsted’ is commonly used interchangeably with ‘Aran’ weight (a #4), I think some clarification might be helpful for you all.

Having used this yarn, I can tell you it is not as thick as other brands of weight Aran cotton so it is definitely lighter weight. I would categorise it as a #3 weight, being closer to DK than Aran. Bear this in mind if you want to use in in place of either DK or Aran and be sure to swatch if size is important to the pattern.

This review is not sponsored, I bought the yarns myself because I wanted to work and design with them, and this is my honest, unbiased opinion.

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Pinterest graphic Paintbox recycled cotton yarn review

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Eco-friendly Credentials

Made from 100% recycled cotton from off-cuts from the fashion industry that would otherwise go to landfill.

Top score for being made entirely from waste fibres and I give it bonus points for being 100% cotton fibers.

Recyclable wrapping! I’m delighted to see its yarn band is paper! It’s a natural brown paper that immediately gives the impression of eco-friendly. It didn’t come wrapped in plastic either, so big green tick for this.

Being 100% cotton it’s fully biodegradable with all the benefits and uses for cotton, but is sustainable and truly eco-friendly (unlike cotton). Most people think ordinary cotton is eco-friendly and sustainable when in fact it isn’t! It is a heavily polluting crop to grow that needs heavy-duty pesticide use and very high water consumption. While it is biodegradable, that’s the only ‘green’ thing about it. Choosing a 100% recycled cotton or organic cotton instead is the eco-friendly choice.

First impressions

It has a rustic appearance, this yarn is not smooth like many non-recycled cottons are. It isn’t particularly soft either. But may improve on washing.

The colours are lovely and vibrant though, and pretty accurately reflect what I saw on screen.

Stitch definition isn’t quite as good as ordinary cotton but it’s not bad at all.

What to make with it?

It’s perfect for makes like:

  • washcloths
  • spa sets
  • coasters
  • table mats
  • cushions
  • throws
  • belts
  • jewelry
  • wall hangings
  • bags
  • clothing

With a rustic appearance it is very well suited to boho styling of all kinds. You can see the texture of the yarn a little in the photo below. This colour was very difficult to capture accurately, it is more mustard that my picture shows, a very on trend colour.

Paintbox recycled cotton yellow yarn

What it’s like to work with

As it isn’t a very smooth yarn, it doesn’t glide as well as you might expect from a smoother cotton. I would describe its texture as a craft cotton.

There was only a little fluff transfer onto my clothes in working with it. I often wear black trousers so I notice this!

It goes a little fluffy if you have to pull it down, so is better suited to projects and stitches you are familiar with.

Stitch definition isn’t as crisp as you’d expect from a standard cotton, due to the rustic appearance of the yarn, but it’s still great.

Look at my wee sample below to see how it works up. I made it coaster sized, in single crochet and a G (4.0mm) crochet hook. I really love this wee sample as a coaster so will write it up as a super easy free crochet pattern for you. I first tried working with a 3.5mm hook, but found the yarn a bit too splitty and firm with this size hook.

square crochet coaster in yellow recycled cotton yarn

It’s versatile, you can use it for so many items and it is strong and hard-wearing too.

Dyes were even throughout the skein and seem well set on all the colours I’ve used. There was no transfer to my skin. I haven’t done a wash test.

crochet sample in yellow recycled cotton yarn


This yarn is very good value for a good quality yarn. It is cheaper than most standard cottons! And considerably cheaper than some other recycled cotton brands. Since it was launched, I’ve often seen it, along with many Paintbox yarns, on offer at LoveCrafts so it’s worth keeping an eye on their offers. You might like to join my eco-friendly crochet group on Facebook, I often post there if there are offers on.


  • 100% recycled
  • 100% cotton
  • 100% biodegradable
  • Vegan
  • Non-allergenic
  • Plastic free
  • Versatile, with many uses
  • Easily available
  • Highly affordable
  • Good range of colours
  • A practical yarn weight
Holding yarns Paintbox recycled cotton


  • Stitch definition isn’t as crisp as standard cotton
  • It’s a little splitty, but it’s not bad
  • It’s not smooth to work with
  • it could be difficult to pull down (frog) and may affect its appearance a little

Where to get it?

Exclusively through

Buy Paintbox Recycled Yarn

Overall View

I LOVE that this yarn is 100% recycled cotton and I’ve bought it in several colourways! It is a great alternative to normal cotton for most things. But the lack of softness and rustic appearance may not appeal to everyone, especially for projects where you need softness and stitch definition is really important.

I designed my Sleepy Mandala using this yarn, and it worked very well. I plan to use it for more mandala designs, a variety of cloths, bags and home decor designs too.

Blue Mandala with crystal chips made  in recycled cotton

I hope you’ve found this a helpful review. Please share/pin etc to help others find it. Will you give Paintbox Recycled Cotton Worsted a try? Please let me know, and what you make, I’d love to hear how you get on.

For more eco yarn reviews, see the page Yarn Reviews.

For more of my patterns see the page: Crochet Patterns

Have you joined my new Eco-friendly Crochet Facebook Group? It’s a great friendly wee community for crocheters of all levels interested in eco-friendly creating. We’d love to welcome you there.

4 thoughts on “Paintbox Recycled Cotton Yarn Review”

  1. Interesting! I love a good cotton yarn – even better that it’s recycled materials! I’ll be looking further into this.


  2. Hello! I loved this review. I’m wondering where the info for this section came from: “Made from 100% recycled cotton from off-cuts from the fashion industry that would otherwise go to landfill.”? I couldn’t find anything this specific on the Lovecraft’s website and I’m eager to begin buying recycled cotton.

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