Food safe paint for cutting boards

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Forum topic by PhillipRCW posted 09-01-2015 03:03 PM 4288 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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383 posts in 688 days

09-01-2015 03:03 PM

I had a customer ask me to make some cutting boards with painted handles. I’ve researched online for a bit, but I’m not finding anything solid so far. Does anyone know of a paint that is food safe? I’ve seen other just use acrylic paint and then poly over it, but I want to do my due diligence and research as much as possible.

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.

10 replies so far

View JoeinGa's profile


7383 posts in 1430 days

#1 posted 09-01-2015 03:37 PM

So long as the only thing being painted is the handles, I’d use a couple coats of oil based paint, followed by a few coats of either poly or lacquer.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Wildwood's profile


1854 posts in 1558 days

#2 posted 09-01-2015 04:51 PM

Many woodturners & wood workers like to cite federal CFR on chemicals safe for food contact. Problem is CFR does not cite one paint or wood film finish as food safe.

As a woodturner will use only mineral oil (laxative) or no finish at all on items coming in contact with food. I use mineral oil on salad mixing and serving bowls and no finish on spoons, scoops, or rolling pins. I provide customers a bottle of mineral oil (less than $2) that order salad bowls.

You might look at this product, I have no experience with it. Back when made wood chest had a artist use milk paints to paint different scenes on some of them. She was a partner of sorts.

Can tell you from experience with wood salt and pepper shakers want any film finish completely cured before giving them to a lady. Hot soapy water removes about 99% of any uncured film finish.

Would think over time any film or painted surface would show wear thru use and cleaning.

-- Bill

View BurlyBob's profile


3487 posts in 1689 days

#3 posted 09-01-2015 04:54 PM

Joe’s got the right answer for you Phil.

View PhillipRCW's profile


383 posts in 688 days

#4 posted 09-01-2015 04:56 PM

I’ve been trying to find what paints are used on childrens toys. I would assume that would be safe enough considering most of those end up in their mouths.

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


3972 posts in 1774 days

#5 posted 09-01-2015 05:13 PM

Milk paint would be my choice.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1006 posts in 998 days

#6 posted 09-01-2015 05:57 PM

Latex is OK if digested in small amounts,I.e you ate all the paint off the handles you’d be OK. and almost any finish is food grade(within reason) when dry;according to the USDA.And it’s the handles food isn’t going to be eaten off them.and if the finish doesn’t peel off (proper prep) nothing to worry about.

View Wildwood's profile


1854 posts in 1558 days

#7 posted 09-01-2015 08:06 PM

This link breaks down different CFR concerning food contact. Go to the CFR’s and see why cannot get experts to recommend one particular finish for wood. See link posted earlier!

Like said earlier will not find film finishes nor paints in any of them. Even oils like Linseed, Tung and Walnut come with warnings about people with allergies. With exception of Milk Paints and even then would look and see if product label or MSDS or SDS lists any hazardous chemicals warnings and precautions.

While many of your water based/borne finishing products have low VOC’s you are not home free. Again check labels and MSDS or SDS.

Word of caution MSDS & SDS only list what manufacturer want to list many toxic chemical (binders, dryers & solvents) often omitted.

-- Bill

View Betsy's profile


3336 posts in 3319 days

#8 posted 09-01-2015 11:06 PM

If she wants handles I’d try to talk her into metal handles. Painted wooden handles, IMHO, would really distract from the beauty of the wood. Also, a good metal handle will not chip like a film paint would – further distracting from the beauty of the wood.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Dabcan's profile


250 posts in 2094 days

#9 posted 09-01-2015 11:56 PM

I read up on this a few years ago, and milk paint everyone agrees is food safe. it does wear and you won’t get many bright colours. Most of the trendy cutting boards with painted handles are with milk paint. I’ve also read that latex paint (which doesn’t actually contain any latex, it’s historical) is food safe once cured.

As someone said above, people will find something wrong with any finish you come up with. I’ve had people complain about mineral oil because of it’s origins (mining industry), and one person tell me walnut wood could harm children’s development. So I’d do your due diligence, but you’re not going to please everyone, but as long as you’re up front about what you are using people can make their own informed (or more likely uninformed) decisions as to wether they buy it or not.

-- @craftcollectif ,,

View dhazelton's profile


2292 posts in 1720 days

#10 posted 09-02-2015 12:53 AM

You could also use an aniline dye on the handles and seal it with the oil.

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