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If 2020 was the year that thousands discovered the joy of crafting due to countless days spent indoors, 2021 should be the year we all up our games by choosing only non-toxic craft supplies. And if you've got children who end up with more paint on themselves than on their actual artwork, finding toxin-free supplies should be priority number one. We can't stress this enough, as according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's Art and Craft Safety Guide, regular exposure to harmful chemicals in some craft supplies can add up to dangerous levels even if handled for a brief moment each time. This cumulative exposure can eventually cause serious, long-term health concerns. Why take chances with known toxins when there are safer, natural choices for supplies? Keep reading for a list of non-toxic and crafter-approved favorites here.
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Eco kids is a family-run company that makes paints using organic fruit and vegetable extracts. Their finger paints not only provide a fun tactile and visual experience, but they come in some fun scents including Blueberry Blue, Cabbage Green, Watermelon Red, and Orange. The paints are sold in powder form that you simply mix with water at a 1:1 ratio. Also, since they're made with food with no preservatives, you'll have to store any unused paint in the fridge for a couple days.
What kid doesn't love a fun face painting session? But please know that not just any craft paint will do. Some paints can contain heavy metals, parabens, formaldehyde and other stuff you'd rather not have touching your child's skin. So it's super important that you use paint made exclusively for the job, and that you also take a close look at the ingredient list. Best to go with a brand like Natural Earth Face Paint that's made with certified organic ingredients & mineral pigments that provide premium, opaque coverage yet washes off easily with plain old water.
For those of you who, like the old world masters, prefer painting with oils, there are non-toxic, all natural earth-based oil paints available to grace your canvases. The Complete Eco-Friendly Oil Paint Kit definitely holds its own against the not-so-natural variety which can contain synthetic preservatives, petroleum pigments, and heavy metals. These earth and mineral pigments provide vivid colors, UV resistance, and professional archival quality. This kit also includes a plant-based thinner and brush cleaner, and is packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled materials. What's not to love, oil painters?
If you're a serious crafter, you know that sometimes your tried and true Elmer's School Glue (which is non-toxic, by the way) just won't cut it! But did you know that you don't have to resort to chemical-laden, industrial strength epoxies to get the super strong bond you need for some tricky materials? We're talking about wood, glass, ceramic, porcelain, concrete, granite, clay, and the like. Just grab a bottle of Weldbond! This multi-purpose adhesive not only sticks stuff together with relatively fast setting and curing times, it also works as a sealer for concrete, drywall, and other porous surfaces. Plus, it leaves behind a paint-ready surface—so it effectively also acts as a primer. All of this from a non-toxic product? Sign us up!
Play dough provides a sensory stimulating experience for children (and adults!) of all ages, and enhances fine motor skills. However, many toxins can be absorbed through the skin, so any benefits you'd get from sensory play from these products may be outweighed by the risks. That's why Natalie, a mom and the founder of Dough Parlor, used 100% non-toxic ingredients to create her super soft and cheerfully scented modeling dough. Dough Parlor also offers a variety of fun creativity mats that encourage imaginative play as well as clay cutters to keep the kids creatively stimulated for hours.
Do your kids (or you!) love to draw, color, and paint? Terrific, because with Kitpas Art Crayons, you can do all three. These silky smooth, water-soluble crayons allow you to draw on nearly any surface including glass, mirrors, and whiteboard, and easily wipes off with a damp cloth. Ready to paint? Take a wet brush to your drawing and you'll get that signature watercolor look. A trusted name in Japan for decades, Kitpas not only make non-toxic art supplies that inspire children to create beautiful artwork, but the company also adheres to a beautiful philosophy. In the company's own words: "Currently 70% of our employees have intellectual disabilities. We are committed to enhancing our customers' creative experience while engaging in empowering people with disabilities. Our goal is to have 100 employees with disabilities by the year 2030."
They're non-toxic. They're vividly colored. They're washable! Yes parents, you read that right. OMY felt tip pen ink can be easily removed from both skin and fabrics with regular soap and water. No more stressing over stained hands or clothes! OMY also sells supersized coloring posters and coloring books, for young and old.
Tye dye is back in a big way, and it's only fitting that this hippie-inspired look be created using only all-natural, eco-friendly dyes. Problem is, a lot of fabric dyes don't fit the bill. But there are alternatives! 100% natural Honey Oak Tye Dye Powder is one such alternative, especially if you're looking for the soft, soothing colors characteristic of natural dyes. Their kit also contains a handwoven tablecloth and two aprons to protect surfaces and clothes from accidental stains. Of course, you don't have to do a tie dye look if that isn't your jam! It can be used to dye your entire piece of fabric a single color. Use with some caution, however. It's all natural, but (as with a number of naturally occurring substances) some of the ingredients can be harmful if misused.
Cricut users or anyone who use vinyl in their handicrafts may know that most craft vinyl is made from PVC. What they may not know is that some of these vinyl brands may contain lead—the dangers of which are well known. What's more, PVC itself has been shown to cause harm to the environment and to our health. Thankfully, PCV-free vinyl is now a thing, and you can purchase it from Eco Friendly Crafts. Currently, this product is the only environmentally friendly and 100% PVC- and lead- free craft vinyl in the US. That said, you can safely use it for toys and even food packaging.
Candle making has been a popular craft for centuries, but what they didn't know all those decades ago was that many conventional candle ingredients (especially the synthetically scented kind) contain toxins. According to the EPA, traces of lead and formaldehyde were found in less expensive candles, which would then create unhealthy smoke and soot when burned. However, non-toxic candle making supplies abound, including waxes made from soy, coconut, and beeswax, and scented with essential oils. If you're new to the craft, we suggest getting an easy, all-in-one kit like the Eco Candle Making Kit available on Etsy from the After Party Candle Co. This kit contains coconut wax, natural fragrances, and 100% cotton wicks for a clean crafting (and clean burning) experience.
We hope we've helped make you aware of the hidden dangers in some very popular craft supplies, and to the many toxin-free and environmentally friendly alternatives available. Just do a little bit of homework before you buy, and here's one way to get started! Download the Consumer Product Safety Commission's Art and Craft Safety Guide for valuable detailed information about craft supply hazards and how to avoid them. Stay safe and craft clean!