Whether you are painting a nursery, refinishing a piece of furniture, or in need of finger-paints for young children, it’s important to consider the safety of the paints you buy. Though babies’ weakened immune systems make finding baby-safe paint especially important, buying safe, eco-friendly paint is important for your health and for the environment.
Interior Wall Paint
VOC-free wall paints fall into essentially three categories: small, medium, and large brands. I’d recommend starting with the medium brands. These brands have a pleasant online shopping experience as well as plenty of reviews.
With a broad color selection and reasonable pricing, you’ll be able to use these paints all throughout your home.
You can also purchase zero VOC paints from smaller bands like Green Planet Paints and Green Building Supply. While smaller brands may have limited colors or provide a less up-to-date online shopping experience, they often have quality products and a helpful customer service team.
While big-name brands like Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, and Valspar are a logical first choice when paint shopping, they are my last resort. Newer brands that originated specifically to offer eco-friendly paints typically develop formulas from the ground up using high-quality pigments, environmentally conscious processing methods, and clean ingredients.
In contrast, brands that were previously selling VOC laden paints will generally just make a couple of adjustments to their original formulation. This results in an inferior product often containing compounds that, while not labeled VOCs, are similar in the way they off-gas into your home.
While we’re discussing interior paints, I want to mention ProSolutions Fiberlock ChildGaurd lead-blocking primer. If you’ve purchased an older home where lead paint was used, it is essential to remove the lead paint or seal it in. While the Fiberlock paint isn’t VOC free, it is safer, easier, and cheaper than trying to remove lead paint, and lead is far more dangerous than VOCs.
While there are lots of new VOC-free wall paints in the market, my absolute favorite has been around for centuries. Lime paint is naturally VOC-free and non-toxic.
Beyond being extraordinarily good for the environment, lime paints are colored with pigments from the earth, leading to colors with lots of character. Please check out some of our other articles for more information on lime paint and brand recommendations.
If you’re searching for baby-safe paint for a crib, a pet-safe paint for your doghouse or cat tower, or an eco-friendly and safe paint for any furniture in your home, you have lots of high-quality choices! While each of the products below are VOC-free furniture paints, they all have unique properties that are best suited to unique applications.
Fusion Mineral Paint is a satin finish, all in one, multipurpose paint. It is completely VOC free and doesn’t need to be primed or sealed! This is super important since some VOC-free paints need to be primed or sealed with VOC laden products.
Fusion’s mineral paint is super simple to use. The brand sells all the tools you’ll need to use with the paint making them an easy one-stop-shop.
With a large selection of gorgeous colors in a rich satiny-matte finish, this paint is perfect for a wide variety of projects. I especially like to use it on intricate projects with a lot of surface area since I don’t have to go back over it with a sealer.
Dixie Belle’s chalk paint line is a beautiful and high-quality selection of chalky-matte paints. Like Fusion, Dixie Belle’s paints do not need to be sealed. However, they sell a huge assortment of finishes, some for additional protection and some for style.
My favorite thing about Dixie Belle is their passionate team of retail sellers. There is so much information about each of the Dixie Belle products, both on the Dixie Belle website and from their retailers. You’ll find tons of videos and tutorials and a ton of passionate people to help answer your questions.
Dixie Belle is another one stop shop, selling brushes, finishes, and all the tools you’ll need to complete a piece start to finish.
Milk paint, like lime paint, has been around for ages. In fact, milk and lime paint are very similar. On a basic level, milk paint is lime paint plus milk caseins.
If you haven’t worked with it before, milk paint is sold powdered since, once mixed, it doesn’t last very long. When you’re ready to paint, you mix the powder with water and shake to emulsify. Milk paint has a lot of unique properties and is unlike mineral and chalk paints. Check out this article for a little more information on the differences plus a review of a pre-mixed milk paint product.
To be clear, most milk paint brands are VOC free. Milk paints are known for being nontoxic and eco friendly. However, the Real Milk Paint Co. is a great place to start your milk paint shopping.
Craft and Finger Paint
While lots of brands create non-toxic acrylic paints for crafts, some people recommend avoiding these paints for babies and young toddlers. Acrylic paints are not designed for prolonged contact with the skin and they off-gas toxic chemicals.
I highly recommend starting with this article by Learn Play Imagine. It is a great resource with links to all sorts of DIY paint recipes from sidewalk chalk to watercolors.
If you want to make edible finger paint for young children who will put their fingers in their mouths, you have essentially two options. Some parents make tasty finger paints that are fun to play with and eat. Check out this recipe for a finger paint made with yogurt.
However, other parents prefer to use an unflavored paint. It’s safe if the baby sticks a couple fingers in their mouth, and it helps build the habit of not eating paint. These two recipes (1, 2) use cornstarch, and this recipe uses flour.
If you prefer to buy paint, you can get these powdered paints on Amazon. They are safe to eat and just need to be mixed with water. TheTot.com is also a great spot to get non-toxic craft supplies if you’re not into DIY.