There are a lot more ingredients that go into crayons than you might think. If you’re wondering whether the wax crayons are made of wax from bees, you should know that sadly, it gets much worse than that.
Many crayons are not suitable for vegetarians as they’re actually made from pig fat.
In this guide, I’ll explain how wax crayons are made and suggest some vegan-friendly crayons so that your kids can enjoy drawing and colouring, guilt-free.
Are crayons suitable for vegans?
Most brands of wax crayons, including Crayola crayons, are not suitable for vegans. This is because they contain animal-derived ingredients such as beeswax, stearic acid and tallow(fat from cows or pigs). However, you can buy vegan-friendly crayons.
What are wax crayons made of?
According to crayon brand Crayola, the main ingredients are paraffin wax and colour pigment. However, Crayola keeps the full list of ingredients secret.
Commonly, crayons also include a binding material that may be made of vegetable or animal fat. Other types of wax may also be included, such as beeswax (from bees) or carnauba was (from trees). Finally, crayons may include fillers like chalk, talc or clay.
You know that familiar crayon smell? That’s actually the smell of beef fat.
I reached out to Crayola to ask about the ingredients in Crayola crayons but am yet to receive a reply.
However, in this public reply to someone else, Crayola confirmed that their crayons do indeed contain animal products…
Crayola has made this video that shows how crayons are made. Unfortunately, it doesn’t give us any more insight into the secret ingredients.
Are Crayola pens vegan?
Unfortunately, the use of animal products by Crayola extends further than just their wax crayons. Crayola pens and markers are also not suitable for vegans as they contain animal-derived stearic acid.
What crayons are vegan?
It’s usually very difficult to tell which crayons are suitable for vegans and which contain animal products or have been tested on animals. As crayons are not food (except sometimes in the hands of toddlers), there’s no requirement for companies to list the ingredients.
However, after a thorough search of the internet, I have managed to discover the following vegan crayon brands…
Mizuiro Vegetable Crayons are eco-friendly, natural crayons made from rice wax and vegetable waste. They’re every bit as colourful and effective on paper as a Crayola, but completely vegan. They do, however, come from Japan so while they look stylish, they’re not cheap.
Azafran crayons come in various shapes and sizes including thin pencil shapes and square block crayons. The best sets have some of each. These crayons are made from only organic, plant-based ingredients like soya wax and are not tested on animals, making them suitable for vegans to use. They write smoothly and aren’t sticky.
Colozoo pencils are something of a hybrid between colouring pencils, watercolour pencils and wax crayons. They’re pretty cool because they will draw on all kinds of smooth surfaces including metal, wood and glass. You can also go over them with a wet brush to get a watercolour effect. Great for kids, these crayons are non-toxic and 100% vegan.
Most Faber Castell crayons are vegan-friendly, although the company does also make crayons made from beeswax so you’ll need to be careful. These ones are suitable for most kids and there are also some jumbo crayons that are better for toddlers as they’re easier to grip and less likely to break.
Most people don’t give a second thought to what crayons are made of, but it’s something that’s good to consider. As well as nasties like animal fat and beeswax, some crayons are full of toxic ingredients that could be harmful to children if swallowed.
Vegan crayons can be a little more expensive than the standard Crayola ones, but if you choose a good-quality brand, you could find that they last for years to come.