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Thread: painting wooden toys, non-toxic pigments

  1. #1
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    painting wooden toys, non-toxic pigments

    Hi all,

    Im about to carve some toys for our 6 month old son, and Id like to paint them in nice colours. Anyone know of a list/overview of pigments that are considered child-safe. I find lists of toxic pigments easy by googling, but not specifically listing pigments that CAN be used for toys (other than broad sweeping "earth pigments are safe").

    I have an assortment of pigments already, and I plan to make the binder myself (kasein/lime), and seal with food safe linseed oil. Id like to keep the discussion to non-toxic pigments, not the binders (oil, etc. )

    Looking forward to your input!

    Oskar

    ps. I know Im asking for a short cut when looking for an overview. If no one exist I need to look at the security data sheets for all the pigments.

  2. #2
    All paints now being sold are non-toxic when cured. Lead was the culprit in older paints and it went away 20 years ago.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA- '71
    Captain USN(Ret)

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  3. #3
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    Thanks Lee,

    thats good advice. However, Id like to mix up my own milk paint, because its fun, and I have the ingredients. Therefore the issue of choosing pigment, and there are many pigments that are not food safe (cadmium-, copper-, cobalt-based etc.). Hence my question about which pigments are actually unproblematic for small children that chew on everything.

    /Oskar

  4. #4
    Over 40 years now since lead in paint was banned (finally) in the US. It's funny you mention earth pigments I would have suggest earthpigments.com. If you're interested in sourcing your own pigments, that's going to become a lot more complicated. At least, more so than we generally dealt with in university while making our own paints.
    ~mike

    scope creep

  5. #5
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    Oskar, use search terms like > food safe pigment < Here is one of the hits > https://www.realmilkpaint.com/blog/t...ld-safe-paint/

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. I understand you are looking for paint options but another possibility might be Arti toymakers dyes. They offer
    eight colors and are advertised as being manufactured using food coloring bases. They are specifically designed for use on toys or furniture for small children.
    I believe they are manufactured in Germany - we can get them here in the US from Highland Woodworking.
    I do not have any information about possible sources in Europe. An email to the customer service people at Highland would probably produce some contact information for the manufacturer so that you could find a local source. Congratulations on becoming a parent and good luck with your project.

  7. #7
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    Oskar,

    I don't think Linseed Oil will be a good material for a seal. I think you want something much tougher like polyurethane.

    Stew

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike stenson View Post
    Over 40 years now since lead in paint was banned (finally) in the US. It's funny you mention earth pigments I would have suggest earthpigments.com. If you're interested in sourcing your own pigments, that's going to become a lot more complicated. At least, more so than we generally dealt with in university while making our own paints.
    Thanks Mike,

    the pigments I already have, but need to know which of them are safe. Not looking into making/sourcing pigments now (although interesting)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barney Markunas View Post
    I understand you are looking for paint options but another possibility might be Arti toymakers dyes. They offer
    eight colors and are advertised as being manufactured using food coloring bases. They are specifically designed for use on toys or furniture for small children.
    I believe they are manufactured in Germany - we can get them here in the US from Highland Woodworking.
    I do not have any information about possible sources in Europe. An email to the customer service people at Highland would probably produce some contact information for the manufacturer so that you could find a local source. Congratulations on becoming a parent and good luck with your project.
    Thank you Barney!

    Since Im in Germany I have to check it out!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stew Denton View Post
    Oskar,

    I don't think Linseed Oil will be a good material for a seal. I think you want something much tougher like polyurethane.

    Stew
    Thanks for your comment Stew!

    I figured milk paint sealed with BLO is tough enough, based on its use on Windsor chairs. But I might have rethink the sealer after figuring out what pigments to use.

  11. #11
    I think looking up the SDS for the pigments you have is definitely the best thing to do. That being said, it looks like most inorganic pigments are non-toxic, with the obvious ones to avoid being the ones containing lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, etc. Those are pretty rare these days anyway.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Lucas View Post
    I think looking up the SDS for the pigments you have is definitely the best thing to do. That being said, it looks like most inorganic pigments are non-toxic, with the obvious ones to avoid being the ones containing lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, etc. Those are pretty rare these days anyway.
    Hi Joshua,

    yes probably the best solution. Thanks!

  13. #13
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    The premier Artist's paint manufacturer here in the States is the Robert Gamblin Company. They also supply artists pigments and on their website they have SDSs for all of their products, including dry pigments. In as far as their products are like the ones you have, it might be worth having a look.

    https://gamblincolors.com/studio-safety/sds/

    DC

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the link David! good overview for some of my pigments. I have to get the corresponding sheets from my german source for pigments.

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