Just when you think you get your head wrapped around gluten-free foods and personal care products, and you think you have everything covered, there is a whole other category to think about…children’s arts and crafts, or adult arts and crafts for that matter. Even if you do not have children, it can be in products you would never imagine..markers, tape, stickers, glue, paints, ink pads, scrapbooking materials and clay. It is enough to make one’s head spin.
It may seem like a no-brainer to think that those items are safe, I mean, who is going to eat finger paint. But the issue comes in cross-contamination. What happens when those little hands have been playing with clay and then go to eat a snack, or you touch something that you are about eat after touching something unsafe, in addition to the fact that some people are sensitive to gluten when touched.
In my case, our house is 100% gluten-free, even though it is just me who is gluten-free. I find it easier to eliminate all possible traces and know that I can be worry-free in my own home. Then comes someone with a gift of PLAY-DOH for my daughter, and the label clearly states it contains wheat. Thankfully their products are labeled, but in the beginning I never would have thought to look. In my personal instance, I hated to take a present away from my daughter, so I let her play with her PLAY-DOH at the table on newspaper. When she was finished, she had to wash her hands, and I tossed the dough and cleaned the table. This was an exceptional experience and usually I wouldn’t let her have PLAY-DOH brand dough at home.
Fortunately, today, there are many recipes out there to make gluten-free and allergen-free dough at home, as well as some manufactures of allergen-free dough, such as bluedominoes, which is also organic, American-made, lead-free, with no artificial colors and certified by the Celiac Sprue Association. Other brands gluten-free doughs include Aroma and Colorations. The Celiac Sprue Association has also posted a recipe to make dough, more economically at home:
- ½ cup rice flour
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ½ cup salt
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon cooking oil
- Food coloring, if desired
Mix ingredients. Cook and stir on low heat for 3 minutes or until it forms a ball. Cool completely before storing in a sealable plastic bag.
In addition to play dough and clay we have to be sure to monitor all art and craft supplies, even tape. Some common brands of safe products include:
- Glue: Elmers, Ross
- Tape/stickers: 3M brand including Scotch tape and Post-It Notes, RoseArt stickers, Mrs. Grossman’s stickers
- Paint: Crayola*, Palmer (All), Elmers (all Elmers products are gluten-free, except for the finger paints), Ross (finger paints contain gluten)
Always remember to double-check all art and craft supplies for hidden gluten. It may not be stated on the package, so it is always good to call if you are unsure. There are many brands that will have gluten-free supplies that are not listed above, but many are not, so always confirm.
*All Crayola products are gluten-free except for the Crayola Dough.