Enjoy Good Healthy Fun with No-VOC Paints

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Aug 25, 2014 | Laura Firszt

Photo: Steven Depolo/flickrYou've probably heard of the dangers of decorating your home with paint high in volatile organic compounds which off-gas harmful toxins. But what about the supplies you use for your craft hobby … or the paints you give your children to play with? Switching to no-VOC paint in the family arts ‘n’ crafts corner will protect you and your loved ones from breathing in toxic fumes while you create your artistic masterpieces. Here is a variety of natural paints currently on the market for crafters and artists.

Soy Craft Paint

Delta’s line of soy paint is based on plant-sourced soy ester resin blended with pure pigments. The happy result is 30 rich, vibrant colors. These child-safe paints adhere to any porous surface and provide coverage similar to that of craft acrylics. They’ll give your painted pictures or crafts projects a longlasting finish, yet are simple to clean up with soap and water. However, the soy paints are about 25 percent more expensive than Delta’s standard craft acrylics in the same size.

Thrifty “Tempera” Paint Made from Organic Veggie Chalk

Stubby Pencil Studio offers a package of organic veggie chalk in five fun colors – green, yellow, orange, pink, and purple – for $12.99. Use as is or transform it into DIY tempera-style paint.

To make your own thrifty “tempera” paint, place a stick of chalk in a heavy paper bag and crush thoroughly with a hammer or rolling pin. (This step is often as much fun for rambunctious kids – and stressed-out parents -- as the actual painting.) Store the results in a closed container until you’re ready to mix with water for a session of messy, satisfying painting fun … and in the meantime, keep your powder dry!

On Painting Day, mix a little of each desired color with water in its own shallow, non-tippable container to make a thin liquid. Supply each child with a paintbrush, set out a bowl of clear water for cleaning the brushes between hues, and away you go, preferably out of doors on a mild fall day in Ohio. Don’t sweat it if some paint gets spilled on your Cincinnati concrete floor, your kids, or yourself. It can easily be rinsed off all of the above.

Plant-Dye Watercolors

Artemis extracts natural colors from greenery and flowers and blends them with non-toxic linseed oil, beeswax, and tree resins to make plant-dye watercolors. Biodegradable leftover paint will not harm the water system when poured down the sink. The twelve colors available (priced at $25.00) are delicate and earthy. We were charmed by the disclaimer which states that the hues may vary according to environmental factors such as the weather and harvest conditions. CAUTION: One shade, gum-gutti, is rated “slightly poisonous” and is not approved as child safe.

Earth-Based Oil Paints

Natural Earth Paint was founded by a woman who combines the roles of mother and professional artist. Among other paints, the company manufactures earth and mineral based oil paints which are environmentally friendly and non-toxic, while at the same time high quality. A kit of 6 natural pigments costs $39.95 and includes a supply of refined walnut oil for mixing, as well as a booklet which gives information on how to transform painting with oils into a toxin-free process.

Organic Milk Paint

The Real Milk Paint Co. churns out natural, eco-friendly milk paint. Milk paint is very popular for revamping thrift store or dumpster furniture finds with a delightfully chippy, crackly “shabby chic” finish. This all natural version is prepared from a secret recipe of pure, organic ingredients, such as powdered casein (which puts the “milk” in milk paint), lye, and natural pigments. It's sold in powdered form – you just add water.

Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.

Updated June 25, 2018.

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