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Making Art With Natural Art Supplies

12.12.12 Making Art With Natural Art Supplies

If you've ever experienced a light-headedness while working with art supplies, maybe you wondered, what exactly it is that smell? Is it a solvent? You probably surmised that you were smelling some type of chemical but if you brushed it off like I used to do, and assumed that the fumes couldn't be that bad... I mean they don't have skull & cross bones on the packaging!

Yet, oddly, there are a fair amount of chemicals (toluene, xylene, lead, cadmium, hexane, talc, etc..) that exist in conventional art supplies. Why? Well, they preserve art materials and can make them easier to use. But some of these chemicals are carcinogenic, some are suspected to be carcinogenic and some haven't been tested enough to be considered harmful...yet.

How are children exposed?

Inhalation: Both dust and vapors from art and craft materials can be breathed in by children and affect their developing lungs.

Ingestion: Since children routinely put their hands in their mouths, they are especially vulnerable to ingesting chemicals.

Skin contact: Chemicals can easily pass through skin and into our blood stream.

Luckily, there are more options available now for making art with your kids SANS the toxins. Instead of using heavy metals and harsh chemicals, there are natural art materials that are made with fruit and plant extracts for gorgeously vibrant colors and also the sweet aroma of "realness" while you paint or draw.

I'll admit it; I was the kid who rolled down the car window (we didn't have the electric lever yet) and inhaled deeply while my parents filled our car's gas tank. But now, with my own kid, I'm looking to smell the undertones of beeswax and the real scent of blueberries (not the synthetic Mr. Sketch scents...also guilty of taking extra long whiffs) while we hang out and make art together.

Botanical paints are made from fruits, vegetables, flowers and spices with natural ingredients and organic extracts. These paints are water soluable and both recyclable and biodegradeable so you don't have to worry about washing excess down the drain.

And what's more -- you can make up batches as you go because the paint is in powder form. I'm particularly smitten with this wooden paint tray for storing small batches of mixed paint. In between painting sessions, this nicely made object is worthy of a good focal place and not stored in some drawer, not to be taken out again for months. 

And as you can make gorgeous vegetable prints with natural stains (think beet juice) you can also use these stamping letters/numbers to do some fun and non-toxic lettering pressing.

For quality and 100% post-consumer recycled paper, the Ecojot sketchbooks are a terrific choice. 

What art materials are you looking to add to your home studio?

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