Submitted by EtsyVeg member Hazel of ContinuumDesigns. See more on her blog at http://allthosethingsandotherstoo.blogspot.com.
When you're a vegan or vegetarian crafter, it's not just food that has to be carefully inspected for animal ingredients. Often, the materials we use for creating can contain animal by-products, and unlike food, there is rarely a handy ingredient list available for reference.
The best way to check for certain is to get into contact with the manufacturers and ask clearly if animal by-products are used in the production of their materials and if the final product is tested on animals. Just to be certain, it is helpful to include a brief list of likely by-products, as there may be some confusion about what constitutes animal ingredients.
There are several common animal-derived ingredients in art and craft materials to watch out for. Many oil paints, for instance, will typically have some sort of animal fat in them, and certain colours of all types of paints may contain by-products such as bone char (black paints are a common culprit for this). Even the paper used can have non-vegan/vegetarian ingredients in them, as many artistic papers are "sized" using animal products. In addition, brushes are still commonly made with hair and bristle. Glues used to be a problem for those avoiding animal products, but, although it is always best to check, more and more are produced using synthetics.
The good news is that there are increasingly more alternatives to materials that have traditionally used animal products, and they're not just limited to specialist places and prices anymore. Furthermore, many manufacturers have started to provide clear information about what goes into their products and procedures, making it much easier now to find the information that you need to make sure you're not supporting practices and industries that harm other animals.
A list of products I've found to be vegan can be seen on my blog. If you know about any vegan products, or would like me to contact any companies to find out if their products are vegan, please feel free to leave a comment here or contact me.