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When it comes to wooden toys, the choice of materials plays a crucial role in ensuring durability, safety, and aesthetics. Apart from wood, rope is often used in various toys, such as swings, pull toys, and climbing ladders. The most common rope materials used in wooden toys are cotton and hemp. In this blog post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of cotton and hemp rope in wooden toys, helping you make an informed decision when selecting the right rope material for your child’s playtime.

Cotton Rope in Wooden Toys

cotton rope close shot
Organic handmade Cotton rope, used in Otbor wooden toys.


  • Soft and gentle: One of the main advantages of using cotton rope in wooden toys is its soft texture. This makes it comfortable and safe for children to play with, reducing the risk of injury during playtime.
  • Less abrasive: Cotton rope is less likely to cause scratches or damage to wooden toys compared to rougher rope materials, ensuring the longevity of the toy’s appearance.
  • Easy to handle: Cotton rope is flexible and easy to knot or manipulate. This makes it an ideal choice for toys that require tying or weaving, such as macramé swings or pull toys
  • Hypoallergenic: Cotton is a natural, hypoallergenic material, which reduces the risk of allergic reactions for children with sensitivities.
  • Dyeable: Cotton rope can be easily dyed, offering a variety of colors to match the aesthetics of the wooden toy.


  • Durability: Cotton rope is not as strong as hemp and may wear out more quickly with rough play or frequent use.
  • Susceptible to moisture: Cotton absorbs moisture, making it more prone to mildew or rot when exposed to damp environments.
  • Stretching: Cotton rope tends to stretch over time, which can impact the toy’s functionality or appearance.
  • Gets dirty more easily: Cotton rope can attract and hold dirt more readily than hemp, leading to a less clean appearance over time and potentially requiring more frequent cleaning.

Hemp Rope in Wooden Toys

hemp rope close shot
Organic handmade Hemp rope, used in Otbor wooden toys.


  • Strength: Hemp rope is stronger than cotton, making it more durable and resistant to breaking or fraying.
  • Natural and eco-friendly: Hemp is a sustainable and biodegradable material, making it an environmentally friendly choice for wooden toys.
  • Resistant to moisture: Hemp rope is less absorbent than cotton, reducing the risk of mildew or rot in damp conditions.
  • Low stretch: Hemp rope has minimal stretching, maintaining its shape and functionality in toys over time.
  • Super durable: Hemp rope boasts a high tensile strength and excellent resistance to wear and tear, ensuring the longevity of the toy.
  • Mold and mildew resistant: Thanks to its natural resistance to moisture, hemp rope is less susceptible to mold and mildew growth compared to cotton rope.
  • UV resistant: Hemp rope has a natural resistance to ultraviolet (UV) rays, making it less likely to weaken or deteriorate when exposed to sunlight. This is especially beneficial for outdoor wooden toys.


  • Rough texture: Hemp rope tends to be rougher than cotton, which may be less comfortable for children to handle or play with.
  • Less dyeable: Hemp is not as easily dyed as cotton, limiting the range of colors available for the rope in wooden toys.
  • Potentially abrasive: The rough texture of hemp rope may cause scratches or damage to the wooden toy surfaces over time.
  • Gets dirty more easily: Cotton rope can attract and hold dirt more readily than hemp, leading to a less clean appearance over time and potentially requiring more frequent cleaning.
  • Higher cost: Hemp rope can sometimes be more expensive than cotton rope, making it a less budget-friendly option for wooden toys.
  • Stiffer texture: Hemp rope is generally less flexible and more rigid than cotton, which may make it harder to work with in certain toy designs or applications.
  • Natural odor: Hemp rope can have a distinct natural odor that some may find unpleasant, especially when new. This scent may not be preferable for all children or parents.
  • Less availability: Hemp rope may not be as readily available as cotton rope, potentially making it more challenging to source for wooden toy production or repairs.


Both cotton and hemp ropes have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to wooden toys. Cotton rope is softer and more comfortable, making it suitable for children’s sensitive skin. However, hemp rope is stronger and more resistant to moisture, ensuring a longer-lasting toy.

Ultimately, the choice between cotton and hemp rope depends on your priorities and the specific requirements of the wooden toy in question. By considering the pros and cons of each material, you can make an informed decision that best meets your child’s playtime needs and ensures a safe, enjoyable experience.

Do you feel more educated about what to seek from sustainable wooden toys?

Put your newfound knowledge to use and explore our collection of eco-friendly, handcrafted toys designed to inspire creativity and learning. Visit our shop today to find the perfect sustainable wooden toys for your little ones!

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