Crayons from Japan’s recycled trees highlights the country’s forests

When you think of wood, the color that immediately comes to mind is brown since that’s what most of us have seen in the trees near our abodes or even when we travel. But it’s not the only color that we can extract from it, specifically from various species of forest trees. With 2//3 of Japan covered with trees and a lot of these forests remaining unharvested and unmaintained, it’s interesting to see what sustainable products can be made out of these trees.

Designer Name: Playfool


Forest Crayons is a project that uses the pigments extracted from various recycled forest trees and mixes them with other sustainable ingredients to turn them into crayons. Each one has a different shade that is based on the species of the recycled tree as well as how it was cultivated and grown. For example, you get a light green color for magnolia and a deep turquoise of fungus stained wood.


The pigments extracted are mixed with wood, rice wax, and rice oil to produce the different crayons. There are ten crayons available in the Forest Crayons set: Bayberry, Bogwood, Cedar, Chinaberry, Cybress, Hazenoki, Katsura, Kaizuka, Magnolia, and Zelkova. Some names should be familiar to most people but there are species that are native to Japan and some that have Japanese names.



Forest Crayons are actually supported by the Japanese Forest Agency and aside from producing these from recycled trees, they also want to “breathe new life into Japanese wood” so that people will have a new appreciation for the country’s forests. I would prefer the triangular shape of the crayons shown in the product shots but it makes sense of course to have them in the traditional crayon shape for functional reasons.