Every parent wants to nurture their child’s creative side. But sometimes when we bust out the art supplies, it turns into an afternoon of diving across the room to snatch tools away as your kid starts to chew on them, or cringing every time your tot puts a paintbrush to their lips. It can be difficult to stomach, since it’s hard to tell exactly what’s in most paints, or where they come from. So many are labeled “non-toxic,” but that doesn’t guarantee littles won’t get sick if they suck on a brush.

Berkeley artist Ashley Phelps wanted eco-friendly art supplies for crafts and DIY projects. When she couldn’t find them she decided to find out how to make non-toxic paints and pigments from botanical sources. Her research led her to the history of the use of natural pigments by cultures from South America to India. The result is Glob Natural Blends. Based in Berkeley, Phelps’ company makes paints that won’t irritate the skin and are actually safe enough to eat. The vibrantly colored pigments are eco-friendly and  sustainable with a manufacturing process designed to reduce environmental impact. Glob Paints are botanically-crafted using extracts from flowers, fruits, spices and vegetables. They are biodegradable, contain no synthetic preservatives, and all products are gluten- and soy-free. Pick from different kits, like a packet of all six colors, which is a paint kit including bamboo brushes and compostable jars. If you want to “Glob it on” the products are available online, and in select retail stores.
—Lisa Bolger