Crayola has been present in most of our lives—through preschool art activities, college projects, and even now, sitting on office desks and tables, but are crayola markers vegan?
Clearly, Crayola has made a mark for itself that has lasted generations.
! We don’t know many of the things that go in our products, and investigating whether or not a product is vegan is crucial if you want to follow the vegan ideology in life.
And contrary to what so many people assume, veganism is a concept that goes beyond food. It affects what we use as makeup, the shoes we wear, the bags we buy, and more. Our markers and other art supplies are no exception.
Animals are used for natural paintbrushes, pigments, additives, and plenty of other things. So, let’s explore the vegan status of an art brand loved by many around the world.
- Are Crayola markers vegan? Sadly, crayola markers are not vegan and may contain animal-derived components.
- Are Crayola Crayons vegan? Although made predominantly from paraffin wax, Crayola crayons are not vegan and may contain beef fat.
- Does Crayola test on animals? No, Crayola does not do tests on animals.
- Is Crayola toxic? No. Crayola art supplies are not toxic.
- What animal products are in Crayola crayons and Crayola markers? Crayola formulations are proprietary and not available to the public. However, the distinctive Crayola smell may come from animal fat as an ingredient. They may also use animal-based ingredients such as bone char or rabbit collagen. You will learn more about Crayola marker ingredients below.
A Brief History of Crayola
Crayola has been around for more than a century; close to 120 hundred years of making art supplies!
The company began with Crayola crayons in the early 1900s, created as an alternative to the imported crayons of the period—which were quite costly to buy.
And from then on, they’ve basically written crayon history!
One interesting tidbit about Crayola is that their name comes from the words “craie” and “ola.”
“Craie” is a french word that’s used to refer to a stick of white or colored chalk, while “ola” comes from the word oleaginous, which means oily.
In essence, the brand name Crayola means an oily stick, which is pretty appropriate since the first crayons were made of charcoal and oil.
On the other hand, Crayola markers weren’t available to the consumer market until the late 1970s, right around the time that Crayola was celebrating its 75th anniversary.
From there, Crayola has developed a multitude of other products to join their line of coloring materials. But Crayola markers and crayons remain their most prominent products and remain loved by children, teachers, and art students alike.
What Are Crayola Markers & Crayons Made Of?
To fully understand the components of Crayola products, let’s take a look at how some of their most popular products are made.
Crayola markers are made of five distinct parts: a plastic barrel, a porous plastic nib, a cotton filament on the inside, a water-based solution as ink, and a cap to top it all off.
The one that concerns us the most is the ink solution. All the other components aren’t likely to come from animal-derived sources.
The label on the barrel is screen-printed, although Crayola does not specify what kind of ink they use in the process.
The solution they use as ink is a proprietary mixture of water and dyes. This means that the solutions (and what is in them) are trade secrets and will not be divulged to the general public. Unfortunately, this also means we cannot guarantee what is inside the markers with complete certainty.
Crayola crayons are mainly made from paraffin wax and color pigment (which is proprietary). However, other additives like animal fats may be added to achieve the right quality and consistency.
The process of making them is pretty simple. The paraffin wax is melted down into a liquid and then combined with various pigments to create the desired color. There are around 120 of these color combinations that are regularly produced.
At this point, some stearic acid (which can come from beef tallow) may be added into the formula to help achieve the perfect rub-off potential of the crayon. We’ll discuss further below how an ingredient like stearic acid is essential in assessing if Crayola is vegan or not.
Once the desired formula is achieved, the solution is injected into a crayon-shaped mold and cooled down. Once the paraffin wax has hardened, the crayon is pushed or ejected from the mold for labeling.
Any excess during this process doesn’t go to waste as it can be remelted and made into a brand new crayon.
The crayons are then glued and labeled appropriately. Crayola uses nontoxic glue to stick the labels onto the crayons, and the labels are made from either vat-dyed construction paper or printed paper and reforested wood.
Are Crayola Markers Vegan?
Put simply, no. In the previous section, we talked about how Crayola marker ingredients are trade secrets. Therefore, we do not have a solid list of ingredients we can work with.
However, Crayola themselves has clarified that some of their products may have animal products. This is a response tweet from 2018 when asked if their Supertips were vegan or not:
“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.”
What they didn’t mention here is which products contain these animal by-products. But we can reasonably assume that Crayola markers are not vegan.
Some ingredients that MAY be in these markers include stearic acid from beef fat, carmine (which comes from insects, bone char, among others. Fair warning, these are only speculated ingredients—based on common ingredients used for pigments. Crayola may or may not actually use these ingredients in their crayons.
Are Crayola Crayons Vegan?
Just like with Crayola markers, Crayola crayons are also not vegan. We cannot confirm what ingredients are used to make the colored wax, nor can we guarantee that none of the ingredients they use are animal-based.
But perhaps the most compelling evidence that Crayola crayons aren’t vegan is stearic acid.
Stearic Acid, which is a common ingredient for wax crayons, in general, may come from plant sources or animal fat. You will often see stearic acid referred to as beef fat or beef tallow.
Put more technically, stearic acid is a long, saturated fatty acid that helps keep the crayon stable while also assisting with quality. Stearic acid becomes a waxy solid when stored at room temperature, making it a great additive to crayons.
Stearic acid also works as a suitable hardener for organic molecules, which is also why you’ll find it in some soaps and candles.
Stearic acid is actually one of the ingredients you always need to look out for when shopping vegan. It can easily be part of so many of your day-to-day goods and may slip your notice.
Moreover, since it can come from plant or animal sources, a product could technically contain stearic acid and still be absolutely vegan. For complete assurance, make sure to inspect if a product/brand is vegan before making a purchase.
Does Crayola Test on Animals?
Nope. Crayola has indicated that they do not conduct tests on animals. Although Crayola Crayons or markers are not cruelty-free certified, they have maintained this stance for quite some time now.
And since crayons aren’t cosmetics, the animal testing regulations in China don’t really apply to this particular product.
Are Crayola Markers Toxic?
Crayola markers are most often used as art supplies by young children at risk of ingesting them. As such, one of the most crucial selling points of Crayola crayons and markers is that they are non-toxic.
According to the Crayola website:
“All Crayola and Silly Putty products have been evaluated by an independent toxicologist and found to contain no known toxic substances in sufficient quantities to be harmful to the human body, even if ingested or inhaled. In addition, Crayola and Silly Putty art materials carry the Art and Creative Materials Institute’s (ACMI) APPROVED PRODUCT (AP) seal, which indicates these products meet or exceed specific quality standards.”
Note that this doesn’t mean Crayola products don’t contain any ingredients that may be toxic. After all, paraffin wax can be made from oil shale, petroleum, and other potentially harmful substances. However, they do not contain these components in large enough amounts to actually be considered toxic to an individual.
Vegan Alternatives To Crayola Markers
Knowing what could be inside crayons, here are some of the best vegan-friendly alternatives to Crayola crayons. These vegan markers and crayons do not contain any animal-based components, so you’re good to go!
Veggie Baby Crayons by We Can Too
We Can Too crayons are made without any petroleum and are completely vegan-friendly! Made from organic, all-natural sources, it’s an excellent alternative to those crayon boxes you can buy from your local retailers.
And if you’re looking for a chalk pencil to pair with that, the brand also carries some sidewalk chalk colors.
If you’re into art, then you know all about Copic markers. They’re easy to use, available in countless colors, and most of all, 100% vegan!
Copic markers can be an excellent vegan-friendly alternative to common Crayola markers. However, note that these vegan markers tend to be more pricey than Crayola. But the price is more than made up for in quality and performance.
You can also get Copic markers refilled, which helps deal with the plastic waste generated by the plastic barrel.
Melissa & Doug
Melissa crayons have gotten quite the reputation for being a vegan alternative to wax crayons. These products do not contain animal components like processed beef fat or milk casein. These crayons are perfect for children since they don’t roll, which will help lessen crayon breakage.
Azafran is an Indian-based company that makes organic goodies available for your little ones. Their crayons contain no animal ingredients and are made from soy wax and food-grade colors.
Because they are made from vegetable oils and butters, these crayons also help moisturize your child’s hands and keep them soft throughout drawing time.
Nearly all of us grew up with Crayola markers or crayons in our schools and homes.
However, the sad news is that Crayola is not vegan. Although we cannot list the specific ingredients that make these art supplies not vegan, Crayola itself has said that they use animal by-products in some Crayola products.
Since they cannot release their proprietary blends, the best course of action is to avoid the brand entirely and start patronizing vegan products for art.
A bit funny, a bit whacky. Lots of curiosity, lots of creativity. All for organic, minimalism and local. More of zero waste, more for our future 🌿