This Designer Created Kid-Safe, Edible Crayons Out of Vegetables

published Nov 26, 2022
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Credit: Mizuiro Inc.

Yes, most of us stuck a crayon in our mouths at one point or another as kids, but that doesn’t make them any less toxic. If you’re looking for a safer coloring solution for the kiddos in your life, the name Naoko Kimura should be on your radar. After struggling to find better crayons for her own children, the Japanese designer decided to make her own using spare vegetables.

“Whenever children take an interest in something, they put it in their mouth,” she wrote on the project’s original Kickstarter page. “So why do crayons, something so close to most children, not seem all that safe?”

A few years later, Kimura runs the design studio Mizuiro Inc.., which sells zero-waste, “children first” vegetable crayons. 

There are currently 16 varieties: Cabbage, leek, yam, burdock, corn, snow carrot, apple, purple potato, and bamboo charcoal.

Credit: Mizuiro Inc.

Crayons are made using natural ingredients like liquid rice bran oil and solid rice bran wax, both byproducts of the rice polishing process. Next, they’re colored with crushed fruit or vegetable powder. There’s a bit of food coloring involved, but less than a third of what you would find in normal crayons.

“Every child has their favorite (and not so favorite) fruits and vegetables,” Kimura added. “But through touching and interacting with these colors as they draw, perhaps they’ll be inspired to feel more of an affinity for the veggies they dislike.”

Local produce is a major element of the designer’s business. According to her Kickstarter, around 80 percent of the vegetables used in the crayons are produced locally in Japan’s Aomori Prefecture, helping to support sustainable food cycles.
Are you looking for a new coloring book, too? Kimura’s got you covered. Mizuiro Inc. also sells a 20-page coloring book made up of fruit and vegetable illustrations. The book is made of chiyogami (“Japanese playing paper”), so once you and the kids are done coloring, it’s also ready for crafts.