Arts and crafts are an exciting hobby and profession enjoyed by the young and old alike. The desire to use non-toxic products, that are safe for humans and the earth, is a sentiment shared by professional artists, hobbyists and parents alike.
Arts and crafts are also an effective form of therapy, often offering a creative outlet that conveys emotion otherwise trapped.
However, it is important to know what the art materials being used are made of. Some materials are toxic and can cause more harm than good if the artists has too much exposure to them. Children are at particular risk when using these toxic products.
Thankfully there are safe alternatives on the market for children and professional artists alike. A great place to purchase these products is on auction sites like eBay. eBay offers a wide range of products at affordable prices meaning there is something to suit any budget and need.
The following elements of this guide will highlight some of the main categories of non-toxic art supplies that are on the market at the moment, and which, can be purchased on the eBay platform.
- The safest choice of non-toxic crayons will be made from natural beeswax. Alongside this, always make sure that the crayon has been infused with natural dyes to make the colour.
- Crayons not made from beeswax are made out of petroleum based paraffin wax and the colour from artificial chemical based dyes.
Dye is used for many different reasons in arts and craft. This is a natural alternative to man-made dye products. Natural dye can be found in many different food based products including:
Some great examples of these natural dye products are:
- Onion skins
To create the dye using these products, a simple recipe similar to the below can be used.
Recipe: Boil one part fruit or vegetable with eight parts water for approximately an hour (longer to achieve a stronger dye). Let the water cool, and then test the intensity of the dye using a white piece of paper or cloth etc.
The paint market is saturated with different products, each with differing base materials. As a generally rule, to stay safe, stay away from oil based paints. This product contains chemical solvents like methyl alcohol that emit dangerous organic compounds. Paints with toluene are another to avoid. Equally, paints with coloured pigments made from metals like cadmium, arsenic and lead should be avoided.
Milk paint is a great alternative to oil or acrylic based products. Milk paint can be purchased in powder form requiring water to mix the paint up. Milk paint does not include any of the dangerous toxic materials like:
- Air pollutants
- Volatile organic compounds also known as VOCs
Some companies making non-toxic paint products are (please note; this list is not exhaustive):
- Clementine Art
- Wee Can Too Art
- Natural Earth Paint
As a general rule, children should always use water based paints.
Some pencils use chemical based pigments. They are often coated with a toxic varnish. Always read the label to avoid these products.
Felt Tip Pens
Similar to paint, water based felt tip pens are the safest alternative products. Often products that are not water based are made out of highly toxic chemicals like xylene or alcohol.
- This is an interesting one to look at, particularly within products made for children.
- Children’s products, although labelled as being non-toxic will often have used artificial dyes to pigment the clay or Play Doh.
- Always ensure that the label is read before purchasing this product.
How to Find Non-Toxic Art Supplies
Non-toxic art supplies can be found at a variety of different shops both on and off the high street. Individual companies manufacturing the product will have specific websites and retailers. However, one of the easiest options and a ‘one stop’ shopping experience is eBay. The variety on offer and its easy to use website make this an affordable option for any budget and cater for all purposes.
However how can you ensure that the products being purchased are using non-toxic materials? An easy way to ensure this is by following the following points:
- Look to see if the product has the Art & Craft Materials Institute (ACMI) stamp of approval. This approval offers an assurance that the product does not contain excessive amounts of toxic or injurious materials that can be harmful to a human life. This also means that it should not cause any chronic health complaints. It is important to note that ACMI do offer a safe certificate but it cannot 100 per cent guarantee that the product is free from chemicals. However, it will indicate a safer product.
- Water based products are less likely to contain toxic materials. As a result, it is advised to look for products with a water base. This will also make the mess easier to clear up after any activity.
- There are thousands of products available on the market today for arts and crafts. Always ensure that the product being looked at has been designed and produced specifically for the activity. For example, some products suitable for professional artists will not be suitable for children.
The Art and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI)
- The Art and creative Materials Institute (ACMI) is an association that promotes safety within the creation of art products. They support non-toxic art supplies and work hard to certify products that meet their ‘safe’ criteria. ACMI are a great reference organisation if questions about a product remain unanswered.
- Education is vital to ensuring that those enjoying the art activity are using safe products. This is especially true for children. Always make sure it is explained why certain products are chosen and answer any questions that may arise.
Art Supply Labels
All art products will be labelled with the materials used. Some will also provide a voluntary hazard rating. This hazard rating will tell the consumer whether the product does contain hazardous materials. This label offers a warning or caution that can be used to help make a choice if the product is fit for the purpose it is intended.
How to Buy Non-Toxic Art Supplies on eBay
- eBay’s large amount of art products, literally in their thousands makes it the ideal place to purchase non-toxic art supplies.
- Within these products on offer include, felt tip pens, paint, crayons, coloured pencils and much more. Alongside this extensive selection of products is an easy to navigate website, affordable prices that are always competitive and a reliable global brand that has a reputation for excellence. The flexible and secure payment system, seals the deal as a great choice.
- The first step to purchasing products from eBay begins with the search. eBay offer a series of category portals that will take you through to further search functions to advance the search and find the product. To find non-toxic art supplies, go to the Crafts category portal. Form here, use the advance search functions detailed above.
- If you are not sure on the exact product being looked for but have a more open subject area to search, simply use the search function located on every page. This will allow a more general search and bring up suggestions to be perused. Once this is done, and a more detailed product identified, a more advance search can be undertaken.
- Because of the nature of the product being sought, it is important to read all descriptions, reviews and photographs provided for the product. This will help you ensure that the product is actually non-toxic. If in doubt, always Ask the Seller.by questioning them, you will be able to obtain the remaining answers before a purchase has been made. This will stop any confusion and ultimately leave you happy with the purchased product when it arrives. If you still have more questions, visit the Buying Tips page for more information.
- When a product is chosen, it is time to buy. This can be done one of three ways, being: Bid, Buy it Now, or put down your Best Offer. The payment will be determined by the way the seller is selling. Most sellers will use PayPal as the payment option. All eBay users are protected by the Buyer Protection Program. This ensures protection for all.
In an ideal world, the artist would like to concentrate on the painting or piece of art without being worried about the materials being used and if they are safe. By purchasing non-toxic art products from eBay, the focus remains where it should be, on creating the best piece of art possible.
Finding and using natural products of a high standard will offer not only a safer environment for all being exposed to the materials, but a rich and high quality piece of art work. The vibrancy of the products that are safe is made from natural products that the earth has been creating for thousands of years.
eBay’s exciting and wide range of non-toxic art supplies means it has never been easier to find exactly what is being sought after. This, in turn, creates wonderful art work in a safe environment for the artist.