As you're happily working away on your art or craft of choice – be it knitting, sewing, drawing or painting – have you ever stopped to think about the possibly negative ecological effects of the supplies you purchase and repurchase, again and again? We know it can be tough to find eco-friendly replacements for all of your go-to materials, but if we all made the commitment to use (and re-use) at least one sustainably-sourced item, we could collectively make an immense impact. To that end, we've compiled a list of 10 places where you can find earth-friendly arts and craft supplies. It might surprise you to find some of your well-known favorites among them!
Ok, so Etsy shouldn't count as just one place to find eco-friendly items; the site literally houses thousands of independent digital shops, many of which specialize in green arts and crafts supplies. Simply enter what you're looking for into the search bar, and the world of Etsy is your eco-friendly oyster! Whether it's recycled glass beads, used wine corks, or yarn made from recycled clothes, Etsy's where it's at! Or, like me, you can do a general search for "eco friendly craft supplies" and discover a host of items that you may never have even known were actual things. Did you know that you could get biodegradable latex balloons and compostable shipping mailers? Neither did I.
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2. Eco Kids
Kids love to create. A lot. That's why it's not only important to find non-toxic supplies for them to use, but sustainable materials that will allow their kids to enjoy the same activities in a world as clean as (or hopefully even cleaner than) ours is today. Eco Kids can help! Here, you'll find goodies like: a Paper Magic Kit that will teach them the ages-old art of Origami; Análú Therapy Dough which is an all natural molding clay infused with delicious, therapeutic scents; and finger paints made out of organic, non-toxic materials like potatoes, rice, and beans!
Founded by artist, mother, and active environmentalist, Leah Fanning, Natural Earth Paint has been a favorite among eco-conscious artists across the USA since 2011. As a result of the company's eco efforts, it's received a Gold certification from Green America – the highest accolade a green business can get. Not to mention raves from Forbes and Huffington Post. Why?Because not only are their paints earth-friendly, they: use 100% post consumer recycled packaging made from biodegradable plastic and recyclable glass; they operate out of a 100% solar powered facility; and they plant a tree for every product sold! Buy here with confidence that your dollars are going to a company thoroughly committed to giving back to Mother Earth.
Another company that shows exceptional commitment to creating a greener environment for coming generations of artists, Nature of Art sells non-toxic, earth-friendly supplies geared towards children, but can be enjoyed by artists of all ages. Founded by art teacher and author, Spramani Elaun, the company also hosts children's art workshops and sells art lesson books. Even better, 10% of all profits are donated to art education, environmental, and non-profit organizations!
Yes, Blick! All artists know the name well, but did you know that Blick has made a long-standing commitment to earth-consciousness? In addition to offering a wide variety of environmentally-friendly art materials (clearly tagged on their site with "ECO-friendly" and "RECYCLED" icons), they also revamped their Galesburg, Illinois distribution center to use only 10% of the energy normally used by similar-sized facilities. The company has also promised to " continue to source products that are kinder to artists and the environment, and offer them to you at the best prices - online, in our catalogs, and in our stores." It's up to us as consumers to purchase products from their eco-friendly selection and to help them continue to stay true to their promise.
Like Blick, Jerry's Artarama is another well-known supplier in the art world that has made a commitment to being more green. They've also made it easy to identify eco-friendly products on their website by displaying a green icon beside them, and have compiled a list of the items here. According to their site, any product bearing this badge must be "environmentally and socially friendly because of the way they are formulated, manufactured, or packaged; use materials that are...reused, recycled, renewable, organic, etc.; are less wasteful and less toxic than mainstream products; are safe to humans, animals, and the environment."
Kate Hargrave founded Stubby Pencil Studio in 2006, inspired by her then 2-year-old twin daughters for whom she made stationary supplies out of recycled materials. The girls used their stationary sets to create cards to send to family and friends, and their handmade creations were an instant hit. Kat turned her hobby into a business after realizing the need among other parents looking for non-toxic, ethically-sourced, and eco-friendly craft products for children. Today, Stubby Pencil Studio specializes in stationary materials like recycled paper, cute PVC-free erasers (like the Kokeshi Doll erasers pictured below), biodegradable soy crayons, and – yes – pencils made from FSC certified wood.
If you're a knitter, you know just how big your yarn stash can grow – but have you considered how your yarn obsession may be affecting the planet? If you're looking for a way to get your wool fix without causing harm to the earth or its inhabitants, visit UK-based Wool and the Gang. This millennial-focused yarn and knitting tools supplier takes eco-friendliness very, very seriously. For co-founder Jade Harwood, "sustainability isn't a trend, it's an essential part of any business to be responsible for its impact on the planet." And the proof is in their products! According to the site, "[our] wool is 100% mulesing free, 100% of our suppliers are either Reach or OEKO-TEX certified for their dyes, 63% of our yarns are biodegradable, 47% are vegan and 32% are recycled or upcycled."
Whether you're a professional tailor, home sewer or Project Runway fanatic, you know Mood Fabrics. But before Tim Gunn helped make Mood a household name, their massive 60,000 square foot, 3-floor flagship store in New York's garment district was the go-to place for finding any and every fabric a sewer could desire. But did you know that within this sea of seemingly endless textiles, there is a sizable eco-friendly selection? You'll find a wide array of organic, recycled, sustainable, OEKO-TEX or BCI certified, cotton, bamboo, linen, and viscose fabrics. Have we put you in the mood for a little needle and thread action?
10. Natural Art Supplies
You'd think their name would say it all – but it actually doesn't. That's because Natural Art Supplies doesn't just sell...well, natural art supplies, they also make every effort to source fair-trade products that "carry a social mission." According to their site, each product "carries a story of the artisan who lovingly created it, where the materials originated, or the centuries-old methods used to produce it." So browse through, naturalartsupplies.com, where you'll not only find fun stuff like Crayon Rocks and Milk Paint, you'll get to know the artisans behind them.
So what are you waiting for, crafters? You've got all the resources you need to start working on your eco-friendly creations – whether it's a macrame feather wall hanging, reusable fabric tea bags, or woven mini-rug coasters. Go forth and craft green!