Debra's List Debra Lynn Dadd

Safe Art Supplies

Art supplies are among the most toxic products on the market. Fortunately, there are many nontoxic art supplies available, and lots of recycled papers for art projects. Be creative!


The Art and Creative Materials Institute
The leading authority on the safety of art and creative materials. They have evaluated and certified over 60,000 art and creative material formulations for children and adults (since 1940!) and have an online database of those they have found to be nontoxic. You may have seen their seal on many products. Their website also explains toxicity issues connected with art supplies.

Art Papers

Creative Papers Online
"Superstore offering nearly 2,000 varieties of handmade and decorative papers" from around the world. I have the link set to their "recycled organic papers" section. This seems to be organic in the sense of it has plant material in the paper, not organically grown, but there are hardmade papers made of recycled materials. And look around the rest of the site too, particularly their saa, silk, and mulberry sections. There are handmade papers here in many colors, weights, sizes, patterns -- even journals and notebooks, unique scrapbook papers, stationery, paper art, papers for home decor.

Of the Earth
Beautiful handmade papers filled with flowers. Can also custom order paper to your own specifications, including 100% post-consumer recycled. Perfect for invitations.

Twisted Limb Paperworks
"Non-traditional stationery for earth-friendly celebrations" with an artistic flair. The vibrantly colored papers, handmade in the USA, contain 100% recycled junk mail and office paper, and flower and grass inclusions. Also recycled stationary, cardstock, vellum and envelopes. Studio is run partially on energy generated by renewable resources such as solar, wind power, and biomass.


Crayon Rocks
Charming nontoxic soy wax crayons in beautiful colors, made in the shape of pebbles. Slight indentations allow small fingers to color in large, wide strokes. Designed to strengthen the tripod drip muscles, preparing fingers and hands for pen and pencil use. Specially designed to help children with fine motor disorders to improve their tripod grip. I really like these colors and the fact that that the pebble shape allows you to fill areas with color in fine or bold strokes. Much more versatile artistically than a stick crayon and they feel natural in your hand.

Our Green House
Chubby crayons handmade from discarded wooden twigs. "During the winter months, planned areas of mature forests are cleared of underbrush, bushes and small unwanted trees in order to improve the environment for the mature oak and white pine. These small bushes and trees have no commercial value and are often burned on site." These twigs are used to made the twig crayons.

Prang Soybean Crayons
I have to say--I love these crayons! When I was a child, I never liked the smell of those paraffin crayons. These are made with natural, renewable soy oil instead and have no odor. They also don't flake like paraffin wax crayons do. And the colors are brilliant! AP certified non-toxic.

Writing Implements
"Quality writing instruments handcrafted from wooden stadium seats removed from demolished ballparks." Refillable wooden ballpoint and rollerball pens, each unique, engraved with the name of the ballpark, and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.

Timeless Timber
Pens made from 100% virgin old-growth wood, salvaged from the depths of the Great Lakes and other US and Canadian waterways. This wood is 300 to 1200 years old and has abundant figuring, tight grain, and unique colors created by the leaching of minerals from the water.

Historic Quill & Document Co.
White goose-feather quill pens with handcarved writing nibs. Site includes a fascinating written history of quill pens and inks.

Every genuine work of art has as much reason for being as the earth and the sun.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Really Green

Learn how to tell the difference between products with real environmental and health benefits from those with misleading green hype, in my new book Really Green

Gold Star = gold star

Earthwise = earthwise
Art supplies are rated earthwise if they are safe to use and utilize organically-grown, recycled, or reclaimed materials.

Natural = natural

nontoxic = nontoxic
Art supplies are rated natural if they are safe to use and made from renewable natural materials.

fair trade = fair trade
Art supplies made from petrochemical ingredients are rated nontoxic if they are safe to use.

caters to MCS = caters to MCS

associates = associate

Brand Name Product

= Business Sponsor

professional artist gone MCS

Safe Dry Erase Markers for School

Watercolor markers revisited


Is Cadmium paint safe after it's dried?

Natural Play Dough

Read about toxic exposures from home office and art supplies and how to choose safer products, beginning on page 334

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