Coloring and drawing with colored pencils allow you to relax, unwind, and unlock your inner artist. But conventional pencils may contain concerning ingredients like synthetic dyes, petroleum-based waxes, and preservatives that can irritate skin and eyes. Thankfully, there are now many non-toxic colored pencils made from plant-derived, eco-friendly materials that are safe for kids and those with chemical sensitivities.
In this post, we’ll countdown the top 5 non-toxic colored pencil packs that will let you tap into your creative spirit without worry. We’ll overview what makes each set safe and ideal for artists of all ages and skill levels. You’ll discover options with richly pigmented hues, soft creamy cores, and sustainable ingredients so you can color and draw freely.
Let’s get started with our #1 pick that offers professional-grade vibrancy perfect for everything from casual doodling to intricate illustrations…
#1. Lyra Rembrandt Non-Toxic Colored Pencils
The Lyra Rembrandt set is beloved by artists for its lush vivid color and smooth buttery texture that blends beautifully. This premium German-made set contains 24 richly pigmented pencils featuring thick soft cores that lay down intense color. The hexagonal shape allows for easy grip and control. And the whole set comes packaged in an eco-friendly cardboard box.
Pigments & Binders
What makes the Rembrandt pencils really pop is the high concentration of top-tier lightfast pigments. Rather than synthetic dyes, the pencils derive their vivid hues from plant and mineral sources like ultramarine blue and ochre. The pigments are mixed with natural binders like gum arabic harvested from acacia trees to form the creamy cores. There are zero synthetic dyes used so these pencils are safe for anyone with sensitivities.
The ultra-blendable texture of the Rembrandt pencils comes from the use of plant-based waxes, mainly rice bran and carnauba palm. These renewable waxes give the pencils their signature soft, almost buttery feel that facilitates smooth color laydown and shading. And unlike many conventional pencils, the Rembrandt cores are 100% petroleum-free.
The luscious wax-oil formula allows the Rembrandt pencils to glide across the page with minimal friction or scratchiness. You can achieve gradients, color transitions, and subtle shading effects with ease. The colors are highly blendable too, mixing together without muddiness. Whether you love color blocking, detail work, or sketching, these pencils deliver pro-grade performance.
The Rembrandt non-toxic colored pencils fall into the mid-range price tier given the high concentration of premium lightfast pigments. But many users feel the rich color and ability to create refined illustrations makes them well worth the price. When you consider the quality, they offer good value compared to other professional sets.
From coloring book enthusiasts to seasoned illustrators, the Rembrandt set suits all skill levels. The wide 24-color selection allows for creativity, while the soft texture is great for beginners who want to easily lay down color. If you desire pro-quality eco-pencils that give you striking control over your hues, the Rembrandts are difficult to beat.
Next up at #2 we have a non-toxic starter set that delivers vivid color in a convenient compact size…
#2. Eco-Oh! Colored Pencils
For artists seeking an affordable non-toxic introduction to high-performing eco-pencils, the Eco-Oh! 12-color set is a great fit. It contains a curated palette of 12 richly saturated pencils handmade in the USA using 97% renewable materials. The chunky triangular shape allows for a secure grip even for smaller hands. And the recycled packaging makes this set a sustainable choice.
Pigments & Binders
Eco-Oh! skips synthetic dyes in favor of plant-based pigments like turmeric for yellows and annatto for oranges and reds. Combined with natural binders including gum arabic and sunflower oil, the pencils yield intense vivid color without a hint of dullness. While the lightfastness varies between hues, the pigmentation is striking for a non-toxic brand.
The Eco-Oh! pencils feature a supple wax core free of paraffin wax. Instead, their blendability comes from sustainable waxes like rice bran oil and soybean oil that allow for a creamy texture. Color lays down smoothly without excessive waxy buildup. And the 3.3mm diameter leads create thick, bold marks – great for coloring books or young artists.
Despite the small color selection, these pencils pack a pigment punch. The colors are remarkably opaque and layerable thanks to the high wax content that adheres readily to paper. Blending takes a bit more effort compared to pricier pencils but you can achieve basic gradients. For bold, eco-friendly color at a bargain price, Eco-Oh! delivers.
As one of the most budget-friendly non-toxic sets on the market, the Eco-Oh! pencils offer great value. While serious artists may eventually want a larger selection, these pencils are ideal for casual users or parents seeking a safe starter set for their budding creatives. At under $10, the affordable price makes them quite accessible.
Thanks to their kid-friendly triangular shape and brilliant colors, these pencils are perfect for young beginners. The smaller 12-color palette contains versatile primary and secondary hues suitable for schoolwork. Crafters, nature journalers, and coloring enthusiasts will also appreciate the vibrant plant-based pigments.
Up next, we have a non-toxic pencil specially designed for little hands just starting their artistic journeys…
#3. Ticonderoga My First Non-Toxic Colored Pencils
A favorite budget-friendly line, Ticonderoga brings their trusted quality to the world of non-toxic pencils with this intro set for young creators. The chunky triangular pencils are easy for small hands to grip. And the extra-thick soft leads lay down bold colors perfect for coloring book masterpieces. It’s made in the USA using plant-derived ingredients.
Pigments & Binders
The Ticonderoga pencils use plant-based binders like cellulose instead of harsh adhesives. To achieve their bright hues, they skip synthetic dyes and utilize safer mineral and plant colorants approved for cosmetics. While not as vivid as premium pencils, the colors are sufficiently bold and opaque for a beginner non-toxic line.
The ultra-blendable formula contains food-grade waxes from plants. Beeswax and soybean oil give the pencils a soft, creamy texture great for blending and rubbing techniques. And with no paraffin wax, they sharpen easily without breakage. The 4.8mm wide leads create satisfyingly thick coloring marks.
While not ideal for refined illustrations, these pencils allow young artists to fill pages with color thanks to their highly pigmented leads. They sharpen well and don’t shed excessive dust. Blending takes some effort but the colors mix relatively smoothly without clumping. For basic color mixing skills, they perform reliably.
As an affordable introductory buy, these Ticonderoga pencils offer great value for money making them a smart choice for parents not wanting to spend a lot on their child’s first pencils. The quality rivals other budget kids’ options while avoiding harsh ingredients.
With their chunky shape and rich creamy cores, these pencils are perfectly suited for little hands ages 3-8. Budding artists can practice their coloring and shading skills while parents can feel reassured the formula is safe if accidentally ingested. The basic 12-color palette fulfills any youngster’s coloring needs.
For our #4 pick, we have an eco-friendly mid-range set packed with dazzling hues…
#4. Castle Art Supplies Eco-Friendly Colored Pencils
Providing artists with a sustainable pencil option, Castle Art offers this set of 36 rich non-toxic pencils free of harsh chemicals. The triangular shape allows for easy control and handling. And the set comes housed in a handy reusable storage tin rather than disposable packaging. The intense pigmented colors make this a great intermediate buy.
Pigments & Binders
Castle Art uses a plant-based binder system pairing sustainably sourced gum arabic with carbohydrate binders like cellulose. To achieve the electrifying color without synthetic dyes, they use cosmetic-grade pigments from mineral and plant sources. While not all hues have high lightfastness, the color saturation is stunning for eco-pencils.
The ultra-soft texture comes from food-grade plant waxes like rice bran, carnauba, and sunflower oil that provide a smooth, creamy feel. The renewable waxes allow for effortless laydown with minimal sticky friction. These pencils almost glide across the page thanks to their premium plant-based formula.
The high wax content gives these pencils strong adherence allowing for vibrant color payoff equivalent to conventional pencils. They are also highly blendable and easily achieve seamless gradations in color. The wide 36-color palette provides diverse options for more advanced techniques. Overall, they offer professional quality with an eco-friendly composition.
While not the cheapest eco-pencils on the market, this Castle Art set provides serious value for money considering the rich pigmentation and assorted color selection. For artists wanting pro-level vibrancy from sustainable ingredients, these pencils deliver at a very reasonable mid-range price point.
With their strong color laydown and blendability, these pencils perform great for beginners to intermediate artists, including teens and adults. The generous color assortment works for everything from adult coloring books to illustrating nature journal pages. Their high-impact hues make your artwork pop.
Finally rounding out our top 5 selections are these highly pigmented eco-pencils that create striking effects…
#5. CreataCraft ECOART Colored Pencils
Eco-conscious artists will love this set of 24 vividly pigmented colored pencils from CreataCraft. Made from 90% renewable materials, the richly hued pencils allow you to illustrate sustainably. The chunky triangular shape provides a comfortable grip, while the 100% recyclable packaging minimizes waste. Despite the budget price, these deliver stunning color.
Pigments & Binders
True to their ECOART name, these pencils rely on plant parts for their bright colors rather than synthetic pigments. Hues like yellow come from curcuma roots while red cabbage and beet powder create dramatic violets and blues. Plant-based binders like cellulose allow the vivid pigments to adhere evenly to paper.
The ultra-creamy texture derives from food-grade plant waxes like rapeseed oil and carnauba that provide a smooth laydown. The renewable waxes let color glide onto the page with minimal gritty friction. Sharpening also produces little waste due to the natural adhesive binder system.
While not quite professional-grade, these pencils allow you to create striking effects thanks to their intense color payoff and clean blendability. They generate less dust compared to some budget options. And the colors remain vibrant rather than dulling out. For eco-pencils, the performance is quite impressive.
As one of the more affordable eco-friendly sets on the market, these CreataCraft pencils offer stellar value without forcing you to compromise on quality. While expensive for professional artists, hobbyists get bright sustainable pencils at a bargain price point.
Thanks to their brilliant plant-based hues and easy grip shape, these pencils work great even for new artists while appeasing environmentally-conscious users. Coloring book fans, nature journalers, and memory keeper hobbyists will love illuminating their pages with bold, eco-friendly color.
Now that you’ve seen our top non-toxic colored pencil picks, let’s overview the key factors to evaluate when choosing the ideal set for your creative needs and skill level…
How to Select the Best Non-Toxic Colored Pencil Set
Consider your artistic skill level
- Beginners often prefer thicker, bolder cores providing intense color instantly with minimal effort. Softer waxes allow younger artists to easily fill pages.
- Advanced users tend to want softer, thinner cores with more blendability for nuanced techniques. They may also desire larger color assortments.
Choose number of pencils
- Smaller sets with 12-24 colors work well for starting out or basic work, focusing on primary/secondary hues.
- Larger sets with 36+ colors allow for more creativity and advanced techniques requiring a wider palette. But the extra pencils may be extraneous for casual users.
Look for eco-friendly materials
- Seek pencils made with plant-based binders like gum arabic rather than chemical adhesives.
- Choose renewable, food-grade plant waxes like soybean, rice bran, and carnauba rather than paraffin wax.
- Ensure the pigments come from non-toxic mineral and plant sources, not synthetic dyes which can be harsh.
Seek highly pigmented, vibrant colors
- Well-formulated non-toxic pencils contain high concentrations of quality pigments for rich, opaque color rather than pale weak hues.
- Lightfast pigments maintain their vibrancy over time rather than fading.
Pick soft, creamy textures
- Smooth laydown allows for effortless blending and gradients.
- Non-scratchy cores avoid excess friction that can catch on paper.
- Minimal waxiness prevents sticky buildup that resists blending.
Consider shape and grip
- Triangular or hexagonal barrels are easiest to grip and prevent rolling. Round barrels work but may tire hands faster.
- Larger diameter options are best for small hands that haven’t yet developed fine motor control.
- Look for lightfastness ratings (LF) on each pencil meaning how resistant the pigments are to fading in light. LF I is excellent, LF III is poor.
- Non-toxic pencils range from I to III, so check ratings if color permanence is vital.
Open stock purchasing
- Buying individual pencils allows you to customize your palette over time rather than being stuck with fixed sets.
- Downside is potentially higher cost if purchasing many singles versus a full bundle.
- Budget sets under $10 offer decent quality for casual use but may lack vibrant pigments or use more filler.
- Mid-range sets from $15-30 provide better color and materials for frequent creators.
- Professional sets over $50 offer the highest pigment concentrations and quality ingredients.
Seek extra features
- Built-in sharpeners, blenders, and erasers add convenience.
- Reusable metal tins provide durable storage versus flimsy cardboard packaging.
- Recyclable materials like paper and wood demonstrate eco-conscious production.
Do an allergy test
If you have severe sensitivities, do a patch test by applying a swatch to your wrist for an hour to check for adverse skin reactions before prolonged use. While rare with non-toxic pencils, everyone has unique biochemistry.
By keeping these factors in mind as you shop, you’ll be able to select the perfect non-toxic colored pencil set that aligns with your artistic needs, sensitivities, skill level, and budget. Whichever option you choose, you can unleash your creative spirit without worry using sustainably sourced, eco-friendly pencils free of harsh chemicals.
We hope this overview of the top 5 non-toxic colored pencil sets has shown you there are safe, high-performing options allowing you to illustrate vibrantly without hazardous ingredients. While each set differs in number of pencils, price, and features, they all utilize plant-based binders, natural waxes, and mineral pigments to create rich, blendable color rivaling conventional pencils.
The key is finding the right balance of quality, safety, and value for your particular requirements. Young kids may want thick, easy to grip pencils while professionals need more blendability and a wider palette. By evaluating factors like the shape, texture, pigmentation, and number of colors, you can find your ideal match.
No matter which non-toxic pencils you choose, you can tap into your artistic imagination without fear of harsh chemicals. So pick up your favorite set and relax, color,doodle, sketch, and create freely knowing these pencils are safe for both you and the planet. With the top eco-friendly options now available, everyone from kids to adult artists can unleash their creativity using sustainable, non-toxic tools.