Traditionally, a few substances obtained from slaughtered or caught animals have been used in art supplies. Bone char, ox gall, gelatin, carmine, rabbit collagen, eggs, and shellac, for example, are found in paints and papers. And even pig and squirrel hair is used to make natural paintbrushes. So, we ask (and answer) the question, are Crayola markers vegan?
What is Crayola?
Crayola is a US-based company that manufactures children’s crayons and markers. Located in Easton, Pennsylvania, the manufacturing plant produces 650 crayons per minute and a total of 13.5 million crayons per day in 400 different colors.
The word “crayon” has a French origin, and it means a stick of white or colored chalk or colored wax used for writing or drawing.
The word crayon comes from the French word “craie” (chalk), from the Latin word “creta.” It was first used in the 16th century to indicate “chalk pencil” (Earth). Later, the term was simplified to “pencil,” which it still implies in modern French.
What are Crayola markers made of?
The primary ingredient in most crayons and markers is paraffin, but we’re sure you wouldn’t expect an animal by-product in children’s art supplies. We cannot provide you with the exact ingredients used in Crayola markers since they are a trade secret that is not made public. Color pigment and paraffin wax, according to Crayola, are the two most essential ingredients in Crayola markers.
All Crayola marker colors include the same components, with minor variations for unique effect markers. It’s uncertain whether color pigments contain any extra chemicals.
Peanuts, legumes, tree nuts, almonds, red coloring, latex, and milk casein are some of the other substances that could be found in Crayola markers.
It’s just a technicality that Crayola prints “non-toxic” on the crayon boxes. It simply means that one marker does not contain enough toxins to be classified as toxic. There may be dangerous substances inside.
Paraffin wax, for example, is formed from petroleum, oil shale, or coal. The method of making paraffin wax is likely to expose it to several harmful substances that aren’t purified throughout the melting process.
Ingredients for manufacturing Crayola markers
Crayola has kept its unique secret hidden from the rest of the world. However, the following are some of the possible substances in the crayons:
- Tallow (beef)
- Filler (talc, kaolin)
The paraffin wax is melted and combined with color pigments to make Crayola markers. The markers will cool and solidify during the following 4-7 minutes. After that, the hot wax mixture is injected into molding machines.
Are Crayola markers Safe?
According to Crayola, if consumed or inhaled, Crayola markers and crayons are non-toxic. Another Crayola product, Silly Putty, is likewise non-toxic. These claims are based on the findings of an independent toxicologist, which is reassuring given that the majority of Crayola products are designed for children and toddlers. If a crayon is eaten, though, it can cause stomach problems.
Are Crayola markers vegan?
Crayola is ingrained in popular culture. According to research, Crayola was recognized as a brand name by 99 percent of households. Crayola has been a household name for nearly a century. They’ve helped children all across the world to be more creative and relaxed.
However, there are several characteristics of Crayola markers that vegans may not find appealing.
Emphatically, Crayola markers are not vegan-friendly. In addition to glue, watercolors, and tempera paints, markers also contain gelatins, bone char, cow’s milk, beeswax, honey, bug shells, and eggs. These components help the paint and pigments bind, color, retain, adhere, and flow better.
In a tweet by Crayola, the company said, “We’re happy to share that Crayola does not test its products on animals. While a variety of Crayola products contain animal by-products, our product formulas are proprietary, and we don’t have additional information to share.”
Here’s some detail as to why Crayola markers are not vegan-friendly:
The Distinctive Crayola Smell Is Beef Fat
If you’ve ever smelled a Crayola marker before, you’ll be able to recognize it even with your eyes closed. In 1982, this was the basis of a study.
Crayola markers were among the top 20 odors identified by most volunteers in a study done by Yale University’s Professor William Cain. As previously stated, stearic acid is the primary ingredient in most markers, and Crayola markers aren’t an exception. Beef tallow, often known as beef fat, is the source of stearic acid. This component is used to give products a waxy texture.
So, the scent of processed beef fat is what we’ve come to associate with it! This isn’t vegan-friendly, either.
Beef fat or stearic acid in Crayola marker ingredients
Crayola has stated that animal by-products are present in several Crayola products. Like us, we’re sure you are curious as to why beef fat or stearic acid are required in the creation of markers. Let us tell you that stearic acid is used to strengthen the markers.
To get a little more scientific, stearic acid is a long saturated fatty acid derived from cow fat. If you’re wondering what that implies, here it is! At room temperature, this acid transforms into a waxy solid.
Because of the presence of the carboxyl group, this acid can form esters with glycerol. This implies you can stack three of them on top of each other. Stearic acid becomes a good hardening agent for organic molecules as a result of this action.
Stearic acid helps to keep final items stable and in their intended state. Stearic acid is found in soaps, candles, detergents, and crayons for this reason. Vegetable oils or animal fats are used to make stearic acid.
We can rule out vegetable oil as a source of this acid because Crayola has admitted that some of its products use animal fat. As a result, the stearic acid in Crayola markers is derived from animals.
How much stearic acid goes into Crayola markers?
Crayola crayons contain paraffin wax and color pigments, as previously stated. Because the complete list of ingredients is a trade secret, Crayola does not make it public
As a result, the most we can do is guess a third-party evaluation. The majority of the ingredients stated on the items are listed in descending order by weight. As a result, paraffin wax and color pigments account for at least 80% of the weight of Crayola markers.
This leaves about 20% of the budget for the rest of the ingredients. The remaining 20%, maybe even 10-15%, will most likely be tallow or stearic acid. This stearic acid is what gives these markers their distinct aroma, which is ingrained in our minds and noses!
Alternatives to Crayola markers
We frequently observe that children chew chalk or crayons simply because they smell good. Due to the chemicals used in manufacturing these products, this is definitely not a good idea.
If you’ve committed to a vegan lifestyle in its purest form, however, there are a few alternatives to Crayola markers that you can use instead:
Azafran Crayons: Produced by Azafran, these crayons are absolutely vegan and available on Amazon.
Wee Can Too Crayons: Produced by Wee Can Too, these Veggie Baby Crayons have vegan-friendly ingredients and are available on the Wee Can Too website.
Doug and Melissa Crayons: Doug and Melissa Crayons are composed of plastic and have a different feel than traditional Crayola crayons. They are, however, completely vegan. These colors are slightly pricier than those found in a regular Crayola box, but they’re still within reach.
Chartpak ADMarkers and Spectra ADMarkers are vegan alcohol-based markers that work as well as — if not better than — the so-called “leading brand.” Copic is another firm that makes eco-friendly vegan alternative markers that are also refillable, reducing plastic waste.
With so many art supply shops to choose from, staying away from animal-based items is actually relatively simple. Consumers are increasingly interested in cruelty-free and vegan products, so there should be plenty of options. Just be wary of products that don’t clearly indicate what’s in your art supplies, and keep an eye out for those that don’t.
We are confident that if you genuinely want to adopt veganism as a lifestyle, you will be cautious in your selections, especially when it comes to crayons. And if you no longer find Crayola crayons appealing, there are various other options to choose from. Because Crayola has declared that the stearic acid they utilize is animal-derived, there is little doubt that they are not vegan.