Potholders are a kitchen staple in every American home. And with basic quilting skills, you can sew your very own whimsical potholders to use or give as thoughtful gifts on special occasions.
The best thing about DIY potholders, as opposed to store-bought ones, is the freedom of customizing them to your liking. You get control over the thickness, feel, and prints displayed at the top, whether you are a denim or batik kind of person.
But like every other beginner, there are always questions surrounding the kind of batting for potholders. A lot of people never really know what to use for the middle of the potholder.
So what can you use as batting for potholders? You can use regular cotton batting for your potholders or any other natural finer like wool or bamboo batting, commercial thermal batting, scrap fabrics, towels, or a combination of these.
You are obviously going for the best batting for potholders, but the best batting is subjective to a couple of considerations. Stick around as we analyze the various options to help you decide which one is best for your needs.
Choosing Batting For Potholders
Before delving further into the subject, for a newbie’s sake, we’ll explain what batting is. Most pot holders are quilted, but it is not necessarily a must. Like other quilts, a potholder will have several layers of fabric.
There’s the top and the bottom layer. These are usually the colored or printed fabrics that show on the outside. What goes in between these two layers is the middle layer and what we call batting. Batting is the filler fabric and is typically two layers or more.
When choosing batting for potholders, a lot of questions should come to your mind. It is the answers to these questions that will help you settle for the best batting for your potholders.
Here are a few guiding questions to give you some direction:
- Is the potholder decorative for lightweight jobs or heavy-duty use?
- Do you intend to use it in a microwave, oven, or grill?
- Will it double up as a trivet?
- Are you giving it as a gift or making one for your personal use?
- Do you want to repurpose old materials or prefer to buy new batting?
Once you have answers to these, then the choice of batting should be influenced by the following factors.
Thick batting provides better insulation than thin batting. It is ideal for heavy-duty use and high temperatures, such as when using a grill or heavy metal crocks.
But thicker doesn’t always mean a better potholder. It is not uncommon to find people shying away from thick potholders claiming they are hard to use.
You’ll have an easier time using a potholder made of thinner layers as it bends easily. If you are doing just a few seconds of lifting a hot casserole and putting it down, or as a trivet, thin will be ok.
Thick batting adds a lot of bulk to the potholder, which could be difficult to sew. The weight also makes it harder to use the potholder as it is less flexible.
Natural fluffy fibers like cotton or wool batting provide the best insulation. The trapped air in-between its fibers conducts the heat very poorly.
Heat tends to travel a little faster when the fibers are dense and tightly packed, which is important to consider if you want to recycle knit cotton, denim, or other cottony cloth for batting. Despite being cotton, the results are surprisingly not the same.
Synthetic thermal batting is also designed to offer good insulation but up to a specific temperature, after which it may begin to melt or burn. Pay particular attention if made from polyester or mylar, which can’t handle too much heat.
Popular Types Of Batting For Potholders
There are several ways of classifying batting for potholders. The batting can be natural or synthetic. It can also be store-bought or up-cycled. What is your preference? Let’s look at their properties.
1. Cotton Batting
A lot of people usually ask, can you use regular cotton batting for potholders? The answer is a resounding yes. You can use your favorite cotton batting brand.
100% natural cotton batting is the best batting for potholders. It is lightweight, gentle, and soft, which feels great on the hands.
Cotton has extremely high temperature-resistant capabilities, making it superb for insulation. It also washes well in a washing machine and dryer, so keeping the potholder clean is a breeze.
For the highest quality cotton batting, we recommend the Natural Pellon Wrap-n-Zap Cotton Quilt Batting for your potholders. Pellon is a trusted brand when it comes to making batting, so you can be sure that they know their stuff.
It is 100% pure natural cotton without any polypropylene or scrim. It is really plush, feels so gentle, hypoallergenic, and is the right thickness.
2. Wool Batting
Like cotton batting, wool batting is also natural, lightweight, soft, and fluffy. It makes great batting for potholders offering your hands and surfaces maximum protection. Wool is naturally flame retardant which is a bonus and a good insulator too.
Wool batting is, however, more expensive than cotton batting, and pure wool batting is harder to come by. You are likely to find wool-poly blends more easily.
Wool is also prone to shrinkage issues. You might want to have it preshrunk before sewing it in.
Cotton flannel fabric is famous for being super warm, thanks to its superior insulation properties. Flannel is soft and fuzzy at the top and bottom with a loose weave.
These characteristics allow it to trap a lot of air molecules that make it conduct heat very slowly. Consequently, flannel is excellent for batting for potholders. You’ll need to sew together a couple layers before inserting it in.
4. Synthetic Thermal Batting
Synthetic thermal batting is more popular than you would imagine, and many crafters swear by it. It is usually made from mylar or polyester foil that is a poor conductor of heat and therefore acts as a barrier that prevents rapid heat transfer.
It is a little too thin and not cushiony enough to use on its own. You will need to back it up with other types of batting to give your potholder more body and structure. It is best used in between two layers of cotton batting.
Insul-Bright Insulated Lining is the best synthetic thermal batting you can get your hands on. Thousands of reviewers vouch for it after reporting amazing success with it. Its reflective surface is specifically designed to repel radiant energy, while its hollow air-filled fibers prevent heat conduction.
Insul-Bright is very easy on the needle, and you can sew through it with minimal resistance. It is also washable and does not break down or become ineffective despite the number of washes.
The only complaint is that it makes crunchy noises typical of foil which can be annoying for some people. Other than that, it is the perfect lining for your homemade potholders.
This type of batting should not be used on its own. It is not heatproof and can melt at extremely high temperatures. It is safest when placed in between other layers of batting.
5. Upcycled Fabrics
If you don’t want to spend much on your potholder project, you can turn to your closet and drawers for old clothing, towels, and scrap fabrics. Not every material works, but you might find something in there that does perfectly.
Terry cloth towels are an excellent choice. They perform as well as cotton batting. They’re pretty thick and have outstanding heat insulation capabilities.
Another option to try is an old woolen jumper or scarf. Felt this in a high heat machine wash cycle, and you’ll have the perfect batting for your potholder.
Fleece blankets also make fantastic insulators. Other unusual yet effective suggestions we got from our research include mattress protectors and iron board covers.
100% natural cotton batting is the best batting for potholders. Sew a triple-layer, and you’re good to go. Thermally insulated batting like the Insul-bright, when placed in between the cotton batting significantly, boosts the effectiveness of your potholders. It acts as a heat barrier.
It is not really necessary, but if you don’t mind the added protection, you can have it in between two layers of cotton batting. For those who want to make potholders from 100% up-cycled batting, Terry towels will offer you the type of insulation you need. Three layers are enough for heavy-duty potholders.
If your homemade potholders are meant for decorative purposes or just lightweight applications like handling warm casseroles, any type of batting will do. You can use denim, dish rags, heavy scrap fabrics, etc.
Avoid crafts polyester batting for your potholders. It performs poorly as an insulator and transfers heat much faster than other types of batting. It cannot match up to the polyester used in store-bought pot holders, which comes treated to be heat resistant and sandwiched between two layers of cotton batting.
That’s all for batting for potholders. Remember to carry out your research and follow manufacturer instructions, specifically on the heat limits and restricted applications, to avoid burning yourself or surfaces.
How Do You Make A Potholder?
Now that you’ve chosen your preferred fabric for potholder batting, we’re sure you’re planning your next steps. If you need a little bit of guidance, we’ve found this great tutorial from Melanie Ham on YouTube.
Up Next: Best Quilt Batting Alternatives