Resources for safe, non-toxic art supplies including non-toxic chalk, paint and markers, so your kids can get messy and creative without worry over exposure to toxic chemicals.
What’s more fun than finger paint? Or getting messy with markers, glue and clay? When you set your kids up at the art table, you want them to dive in, get creative and have fun! The last thing you want to have to worry about is safety.
Unfortunately, because of the lax regulations governing the use of chemicals in our country, untested, dangerous chemicals are allowed in many products that we use every day, including art materials.
Why Non-Toxic Art Supplies Matter
Children are especially vulnerable to hidden chemicals in arts and crafts supplies. First of all, because every thing goes in their mouths – the crayons, the paint-covered hands – you know what I mean! When kids use art supplies, chemicals are being absorbed right through the skin and can off-gas into the air they breathe. Because of their small size and immature immune systems, these exposures have a greater impact on kids than adults.
Some of the harmful chemicals that may be lurking in art supplies include:
- lead, cadmium and other heavy metals
- touline, xylene, ammonia and other VOCs (volitile organic chemicals) that off-gas dangerous fumes
- PVC and phthalates
RELATED: 4 Good Reasons to Buy Natural, Non-Toxic Products for Your Home & Life
Non-Toxic Art Supplies
Luckily, there are plenty of non-toxic art supplies available to keep our little artists in business! To help you out, I’ve rounded up the best non-toxic art supplies for toddlers and young children that I have found. Keep these safer alternatives in mind next time you purchase art supplies for your kids:
I may receive commissions from purchases made through affiliate links in this article including Amazon Affiliates. Full Disclosure
Non-Toxic Kids Paint
Beware of oil based paints containing chemical solvents like methyl alcohol and toluene that emit dangerous VOCs. Also avoid paints colored with pigments made from highly toxic metals such as cadmium, arsenic, and lead. These paints may also contain formaldehyde. Children should always use water-based paints instead of oil based paints.
- Eco-Kids – Non-toxic finger paints made with fruit, plant and vegetable extracts from annatto seed, beets, carrots, purple sweet potato, red cabbage and spinach, and other natural ingredients.
- Honeysticks – Natural watercolor paints made from natural and food-grade ingredients. Set of 8 colors comes in a metal tin with a natural wood paintbrush.
- Natural Earth Paint – Non-toxic face paints made with certified organic ingredients including beeswax and shea butter. Kit includes 6 colors and 3 bamboo makeup applicators.
Non-Toxic Colored Pencils
Traditional colored pencils use chemical based pigments and may be coated with toxic varnish. Pencils made from sustainable wood and non-toxic pigments are better for people and the planet.
- Prang – Certified non-toxic colored pencils (AP certified by the ACMI)
- Stubby Pencil Studio – Eco dry highlighter pencils made with sustainable wood and non-toxic pigments.
- Onyx + Green – Recycled newspaper colored pencils in 12 vibrant colors (non-toxic and lead free)
- Sprout – Plantable colored pencils made from sustainably harvested FSC Certified wood. Features a biodegradable stub end that contains seeds you can plant when you’re done using the pencil. (non-toxic, lead-free, and biodegradable)
Conventional crayons are made with petroleum based paraffin wax and artificial, chemical-based colors. Look for crayons made with beeswax or soy wax, and non-toxic pigments instead.
- Eco-Kids – Extra large beeswax crayons that are perfect for toddlers. Made from all-natural beeswax and mineral pigments.
- Honeysticks – Chubby beeswax crayons made with non-toxic pigments that are easy for kids to hold on to.
- Goober Crayons – Creative crayon blocks made from natural and non-toxic beanwax. Can be used as building blocks, puzzles and making art!
- Stockmar – Beeswax crayons made with food-grade pigments that pass tests for detection of pesticide residues, PCB’s and heavy metals.
- Filana – Paraffin free, organic beeswax crayons.
- Crayon Rocks – Non-toxic soy wax crayons designed to strengthen grip muscles.
- Earth Grown Crayons – Etsy shop selling fun-shaped crayons made with natural soy wax and non-toxic mineral pigments.
Non-Toxic Play Dough & Modeling Clay
Polymer clay, used for modeling, is typically made with PVC material and softened with toxic phthalates. Most play dough, although labeled non-toxic, is colored with artificial colors. Vegetable based clays colored with food ingredients are a better choice.
- Eco Kids – Non-toxic play dough or eco-dough is made with natural ingredients and scented with essential oils.
- Land of Dough – Handmade play dough crafted with natural ingredients, compostable glitter and calming essential oils.
- Pastilina – Vegetable based modeling clay that will not dry out.
- Barn Owl Kids – Handmade play dough made with non-toxic ingredients in a variety of colors and scents.
- Homemade play dough
Non-Toxic Sidewalk Chalk
Most sidewalk chalk is make with artificial colors and some off-brands could be contaminated with heavy metals. Naturally colored chalk is the safest option.
- Eco-Kids – Hop Scotch sidewalk chalk comes in an easy to hold egg shape, making it a great non-toxic chalk for toddlers.
- TweeMade – Handmade sidewalk chalk in fun designs that fits perfectly in little hands.
- Prang – Non-toxic chalk made from 95% calcium carbonite, in 12 assorted colors. Certified AP nontoxic.
Avoid rubber cement and model glues that emit toxic VOCs. Stick to water-based glue instead.
- Coccoina Paste – Solvent-free glue made from natural, water-soluble ingredients, making it a great non-toxic glue for kids. Comes in an eco-friendly metal tin.
- Onyx + Green – Plant-based glue sticks that are perfect for school supplies, home crafts and more.
- Homemade glue
Many markers contain highly toxic chemical solvents like xylene, or are alcohol-based. Stick to water-based markers for kids. Note: Water-based markers are safer and easier to clean up too!
- RoseArt – Non-toxic water-based, non-scented markers
- Faber-Castell – Jumbo, broadline markers made with food-grade dyes.
- Liqui-Mark – Set of 8 washable, non-toxic markers
- Arteza – Low-odor, dry erase markers that are AP certified non-toxic.
Non-Toxic Art Smocks
Skip smocks made with toxic PVC vinyl material.
- Organic Ding – Cute art smocks for kids made from upcycled 100% organic cotton fabric
- Little Boat Designs – Handmade cotton apron for kids
Eco-Friendly Drawing Pads
Choose eco-friendly art pads to go along with your non-toxic art supplies.
- Eco-Kids – Eco art pad made with FSC Certified paper.
- Moon Child – Eco-friendly art pad made from 100% post consumer recycled paper
- Strathmore – Drawing pad made from 100% post consumer recycled paper.
Non-Toxic Kids Craft Boxes
Set up your kids for hours of artsy fun with one of these non-toxic craft sets. Purchase a one-time craft box, or get a subscription to keep your young artists busy for a long time.
- Eco-Kids – Craft & Color Busy Box or All the Coloring Busy Box
- Green Kid Crafts – Monthly science and art subscription box.
- Kiwi Co – Creative art and science kits. Sold individually or by subscription.
Your turn: What are your favorite non-toxic art supplies for kids?