Art supplies

Many art supplies can be dangerous if eaten or used incorrectly.  While doing art projects, watch that children don’t eat, mouth, or lick potentially dangerous materials, such as:

  • Paintbrushes
  • Fingers
  • Crayons
  • Fruit-scented markers
  • Homemade dough clay, which contains a large amount of salt
  • Chalk sticks


  • Do not allow children to eat or drink while using art materials.
  • Make sure children wash their hands after using art and craft materials.
  • Keep art materials in their original containers so you don’t lose the valuable safety information on the original package.

How to Choose Art Supplies

  • READ the labels on art materials and select products that are appropriate for the ages of the children who will use them.
  • AVOID powdered clay, which contains silica that is easily inhaled and harmful to the lungs.
  • USE wet clay instead, making sure it has not particles that could be inhaled by a child.
  • USE poster paints and water-based products.
  • AVOID glazes, paints, or finishes that contain lead.
  • USE water-based paints, glues, etc.
  • AVOID paints that require solvents, such as turpentine, to clean brushes, and materials with fumes.
  • USE natural dyes such as vegetables or onion skins.
  • AVOID cold-water or commercial dyes that contain chemical additives.
  • USE water-based markers.
  • AVOID permanent markers that may contain toxic solvents.
  • USE newspaper (printed with black ink only) and  library paste or liquid starch for papier-mache.
  • AVOID instant papier-mache that may contain lead or asbestos, and DO NOT use color-print newspaper  or magazines with water.
  • USE water-based white glue or library paste.
  • AVOID epoxy, instant glues, or other solvent-based glues.
  • USE water-based materials/pump sprays.
  • AVOID aerosol sprays.
  • USE liquid tempera paint or any nontoxic paint.
  • AVOID powdered tempera paints.