As many consumers become conscious of their products, brands are beginning to catch up with the demand. The market is shifting to accommodate more vegan products, not just in beauty products but also in home care products. The art and craft niche is not left behind either.
In the past, a lot of the art and craft supplies had one or more animal derivatives. From the hairs on brushes to honey, beeswax and animal proteins for dyes. But we are seeing a shift in the market where brands are embracing synthetic hairs and using plant-based proteins for adhesives.
While this is good news, the problems come in identifying the real vegan products from market-speak vegan products on the shelves. We have tried to narrow down to some of the best vegan art and craft supplies available in the UK, so that next time you feel crafty, you can just sit down (on your faux fur cushion?), relax, and enjoy some cruelty-free art.
Note; the below information is from some vegan sites and selling sites with indication of products being vegan. While we strive to give you the correct information, some of it could be untrue. Please DOUBLE CHECK the products again before buying.
Animal derivatives common in art and craft supplies
The first step is knowing what animal derivatives to look for in art and craft supplies. Below are the most common ones;
- Hair - from squirrels, hogs, goats, ponies, and camels are usually used in paint brushes
- Cochineal - comes from lac, a secretion from scale insects. The scales are mostly from the female cochineal insect, and contains carmic acid. This acid is used in the production of carmine dye, which gives some shades of “red dye”, including scarlet and crimson. Fyi, cochineal dye is also often used to color foods and drinks (such as energy drinks).
- Gelatin - made from boiling pigs or cows tendons, skin, bones, and ligaments in water. It is often used in sizing canvas and paper
- Bone charcoal - for making dense black. Bones from animals, mostly pigs and cows are heated and ground to char. The end product of this is the bone charcoal. a process that removes
- Rabbit skin glue - for sizing for wood panels and canvases for oil paintings, as well as a glue when making some books. It is also referred to as hide glue. It is produced by boiling of rabbit collagen, a protein from the connective tissues of the animal’s body.
- Beeswax - comes from honey bees, from the Apis genus. Hive worker bees use this wax to create cells that act as storage for honey and protection for larval and pupal. Beeswax has been used for ages as a waterproof and lubricant agent, in cosmetics and candle making. In art and craft, it is used to enhance the smoothness in crayons and pencils
- Casein - common in pencils. It is an adhesive binder that uses proteins in a cow’s milk. Fun fact; Ancient Egyptians used Casein to fix pigments in their wall paintings.
- Honey - a preservative that enhances the smoothness and colour vibrancy. It is produced by honey bees and other insects in the Hymenoptra order like wasps and sawflies.
Once you've decided on the optimal crafts set, make sure to go one step further in your vegan journey you have a look at our other guides like our recommended vegan toothpastes and deodorants for your vegan personal care.
We no further delay, let's jump into the arts and craft selection:
Crafts 4 All
Everything about these brushes is vegan- from the sustainable wood handle to the nylon hair for acrylic watercolour oil paintings. It comes in a set of 12, but there is also a set of 10 brushes of different sizes and uses.
Princeton 4850 Series set
The Princeton Aqua Elite brush uses synthetic fibres, different from the common natural Kolinsky brushes. It also has better performance, appearance and durability. The brush has a wooden handle from FSC wood.
These sets of brushes are perfect for beginners and experienced artists. You can also use the brushes for oils and acrylics. The hairs are made from nylon instead of animal hair.
Raphaël Kaërell 8796 Series
It is perfect for large-scale paintings, backgrounds and primers. This brush is ideal for watercolour, acrylic or water. The hair of the brush is synthetic and absorbs less colour compared to a natural hairbrush.
This is a set of 24 brushes made from synthetic filaments and wooden handles. The handle is lightweight, giving you more control and comfort. The synthetic filaments hold more paint, saving you time and a better finish.
Vegan Acrylic Paint
Crawford & Black
Set of 20 tubes.
Set of 6 tubes each 20 ml
Has vegan acrylic paint except for the Ivory Black, NeUtral Grey V5, Paynes Grey, Per Green Deep, Hookers Green Deep, Blue Grey, Prussian Blue Hue, and Parchment.
Daler- Rowney System 3 Range
The System 3 range has a total of 53 colours, vegan products, apart from the Raw Sienna acrylic paint colour. System 3 acrylic paints are water based, and dries fast.
Source : https://www.dickblick.com/products/daler-rowney-system-3-medium-body-acrylics
Daler-Rowney Cryla and Cryla Flow
Has a range of 87 colours, vegan ones, except the Ivory Black colour. It is heavy with a buttery feel and ideal for any artist after a wide array of impasto effects.
Winsor & Newton Galeria Flow
All vegan except the Payne’s Gray and Ivory Black colours.
Windsor & Newton Finity Set
The Ivory Black and the Paynes Gray are not vegan.
Grumbacher Academy Acrylic Range
Vegan acrylic paints except for the PBk9 one that is made using bone char.
Schmincke PRIMAcryl Paints
The Ivory Black paint is not vegan, so avoid it.
Schmincke Aero Colour Professional
All the acrylic paints in this range are vegan, from 2013 to date.
Vegan Glue or Adhesives
3L Adhesive Runner
It is vegan and perfect for scrapbooking
Mod Podge Adhesives
All vegan range of adhesives
Uhu All Glue Product Line
All available glues are vegan
Sugru Moldable Glue
All vegan glues
A vegan water-based adhesive
Canvas and paper
The entire range of Blick canvas is vegan
Windsor & Newton
Different sized vegan canvas made from cotton
Loxley Gold Deep Canvas
Different sized canvas made from cotton
A wide range of vegan watercolour paper
Canson Moulin Du Roy Paper
A wide range of art vegan paper made through moulding using 100% cotton, for water-colouring purposes. The sizing is made using starch
Crawford and Black Canvas
A range of vegan canvas made from cotton
Strathmore art papers
Made from plant ingredients and synthetic sizing. Only the 500 Gemini watercolour series is not vegan.
Fabriano Artistico White Watercolour Paper
A wide range of vegan papers, sized both internally and externally using a gelatin-free sizing. It is best for ink, charcoal, gouache, watercolour, acrylic, drawing and graphite. It is made using cotton and mould-made, making it 100% vegan.
That's a long article... isn't it? Fancy a break? We've also selected awesome vegan alternatives. You can start with a vegan soap, then continue with a vegan concealer and eventually finish with a new hair colour with our list of hair dyes?
This is a soy-based with different colour choices. The Extender and the Liquid Pigments have honey.
A variety of vegan and acid-free ink choices
Speedball Professional Relief Ink
This range has oil-based inks and is washable using soap and water. These are ideal for dry paper.
This Daler Rowney’s vegan ink comes in a set of 6 colours, all of which are vegan. This set of liquid acrylic inks are waterproof, lightfast, comes with dipping pens and brushes, and ready to use. You can also intermix the colours for a desired coat.
Ecoline Ink jars
A variety of vegan watercolour inks in 30 ml jars. These are best for designers, drawers and illustrators. It comes with a pipette for ease in use and using the exact amounts.
Tip: The advancement of technology has propelled digital art to new heights since the days when pixelated images filled up computer screens. Artists now have more choices than ever before on what kind of surface they can express their creative vision, allowing them to reach a much broader audience with exquisite works that would otherwise not be possible. If you’re passionate about digital art, make sure to research the appropriate digital art canvas size for your works. It's essential to understand how sizing can affect the production and end results of your artwork!