Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Natural Fiberfill Comparison Results - Part One: Costs and Sources

As promised, I have made a number of test dolls each stuffed with a different natural plant or animal stuffing and have been putting them through several tests for ease of use, feel of the doll, weight, and washability.

This is the first of a three part comparison of the stuffings.

Part One - Costs and Sources
Part Two - Texture/ Ease of Use
Part Three - Washability

In 1965, Victor Danberg filed for US patent for a stuffed toy filled with polyester fiberfill. He made claims about its washability and lightweight durability. At this time many stuffed toys were filled with kapok which according to the file tended to mildew. Mr. Danberg also compares the plastic fiber to other natural fills which tend to absorb wash water and remain wet for a long period after washing.

Space age, clean and sterile, plentiful, factory produced: these were highly regarded qualities born of the post-war boom years. With a growing middle class came a growing household appliance industry. Automatic clothes washing machines were more the norm than the luxury although it took automatic driers longer to become a household standard. The toxicity of plastics manufacturing was not yet known. And the toxicity of their use was not considered.

These days, consumers are better informed. We are well-aware of the toxicity of plastics, both in their manufacture and in their use. Polyester fiberfill, while considered inert in its final form, is registered with the US Toxic Substances Control Act for, although it is considered unlikely to be inhaled or ingested, inhalation and ingestion are not without serious health risks which are clearly stated in that registry.

Natural craft stuffings tend to be more expensive than plastic fiberfill. In many cases, however, less stuffing can be used per item bringing the final cost of use closer than expected. 

The list below is not exhaustive. If you know of sources for natural fills, please leave the information in the comments below or email me and I will add the source to the list.

Where to buy natural fiberfill:

(when based in the US, listed in US$. When based in Australia, listed in AU$)

     Based in the US -
     Hancock's: Nature-Fil 12 oz. $15 (current special at $6.74)
     Based in the US -
     Amazon: Mountain Mist 12 oz. 12.83/ 3 lbs. $29  GMO product
     Fairfield: Nature-Fil 12 oz. $13  GMO product
     Based in AU - 
     Innergreen: Corn Toy Fill 5 kg $95./ 10 kg $150 Non-GMO product
     EcoFilling.com: Corn Fibre Fill 500 gm $20/ 1 kg $40 Non-GMO product
     Based in the US -
     HoneybGood.com: Organic cotton fill $11.40 per lb.
     NearSea Naturals: $10.48 1.88 lbs.
     Based in AU -
     EcoFilling.com: Organic cotton fill $17.50 500 gm/ $35 1 kg
     Based in UK:
     Mohair Bear Making Supplies: 200 gm 3 pounds/ 500 gm 4 pounds/ 1 kg 7.42/ 2 kg 12 pounds
     Based in AU -
     EcoFilling.com: Eucalyptus toy fill $20 500 gm/ $40 1 kg
    Based in US -
    NearSea Naturals: Hemp fibers .13 lb $2.57
    Based in AU -
    HempWA.com: must contact their retailers for prices
    EcoFilling.com: 500 gm $20/ 1 kg $40
    Based in US -
    Amazon: 5 lbs. $40
    Based in AU -
    EcoFilling.com: 500 gm $40/ 1 kg $80
    Kapok.com.au: 100gm $10/ 1 kg $79
    Based in US -
    NearSea Naturals: bolus 1.13 lbs. $19.25
    Based in AU -
    EcoFilling.com: 500 gm $15/ 1 kg $30
    Based in US -
    West Earl Woolen Mill: 1 lb. about $7 very soft and clean
    A Child's Dream Come True: 8 oz. $11.90/ 1 lb. $21.90
    Amazon: varies - 8 oz. $10/ 1 lb $23 - $32
    Based in AU:
    MorningStar Crafts www.morningstarcrafts.com.au:
        250 gm $10/ 500 gm $20
    Virginia Farms Woolworks: $22 1 kg
    EcoFilling.com: Merino carded fleece 5 kg $170/ 10 kg $320

Part Two of this comparison will compare the textures of the fills and ease of use in stuffing the dolls.

Here is Part Two and here is Part Three of the comparison results.


  1. Thumbs up for all the hard work you've put into this! Thank you so much for the help! I am trying to find an eco-friendly alternative for stuffing my sock-creatures!

    1. Good for you! It's just something we don't think about unless someone brings it up, right? I will be updating links to new sources here: http://sweaterdoll.blogspot.com.au/p/blog-page_6.html so you can check there as well. :-)