Picture of Creative Discontent part 3 : Squalk (Squirt Chalk)
Non-Destructive Communication Tools for Mass Public Discourse part 3

Squalk (Squirt Chalk):
This is the third installment in a series of experimental methods of communication intended to be a creative alternative to regular picketing and rioting, while utilizing accessible non-destructive materials. For this installment you will need:

1 bottle of powder chalk refill (for a contractor chalk box)
1 bottle of water
1 X-acto or utility knife
1 pair of goggles (only if using to fill balloons is this really necessary)
1 particle mask (for handling mass amounts of the dry material, as it is not good to inhale) Thanks Slambert, for the safety tip.

Simply we will be creating a liquid that can be used for many applications from graffiti to entertaining children, and when it dries it is nothing more than a non-permanent chalk (depending on the color).

Step 1: Finding your materials

Picture of Finding your materials
This is easy as we only really have one material to worry about locating: the chalk. The chalk powder is a refill for a chalk box that construction workers, contractors and carpenters use to make straight lines over long distances. One thing we need to worry about however since our concern with these tools is non-permenance is that certain colors (the florescents mainly) are almost impossible to clean off. Although I have not tried them with the method I am about to describe there is more of a chance that they may leave a more permanent mark, so just be aware. The chalk can be found at most local hardware stores and any larger chains such as home depot or lowes for about $1.50 - $3.00 or in some instances for around $8 for a 5 pound container. Reference the picture for what it looks like, and besides color choice the brand really should not matter. The bottle you see already comes with a squirt top, which makes it easy to dispense the material.

For our purposes stick to white maybe blue if you are feeling daring.
Nice! May try that someday, but on cardboard or something as a splatter painting.
ilpug4 years ago
put this stuff in a home made MOP marker maybe? how well does it paint on?
ilpug ilpug3 years ago
Nevermind, I tried it. Won't work at all.
annithrax3 years ago
Thanks for your instructable! I've been looking for something to fill some DIY mop markers with to use on some pub sign boards, the retail ones are damn expensive!

How do these stand up against rain? I realise it's just chalk, so maybe I could mix it with something a bit more resistant, a white water based paint maybe?

Thanks again!
jongscx7 years ago
Is it fluid enough (or can you make it fluid enough) to be usable with a fertilizer/herbicide sprayer? I do a lot of side-walk chalking for my school organization and having a way to stencil a design WITH CHALK would be amazing for saturating campus...
I read a tutorial on www.stencilrevolution.com a while ago about using chalk with stencils as a legal means of graphic communication. I think it involved a washable adhesive spray, powdered chalk and a sponge roller. I'm sure that this "squalk" would make a great replacement for paint (applied with a paint roller) in a stencil project...and I may just use this lovely recipe for some of my own university-improving artwork... : ]
Best way for you to stencil with chalk may be to lay your stencil in place, and use your sprayer to mist a dilute glue (like water-based Elmers glue, white glue...) and then sprinkle on powdered chalk using a sifter or a large salt shaker or jar with holes etc....
pdip_stiffi (author)  jongscx7 years ago
I will test it out, but I think it might be too thick, for a sprayer. Again, as Nabil pointed out, you can apply it in a similar method to the wax tag in which you apply a line of mix at the edge of one border of the stencil and then spread it across. See if this works for your application.
Charles IV7 years ago
What happens if you use red(staining) will it stay there forever.
0utCold7 years ago
I made some squalk today, its so awesome. definitely going to use it more and try other colors.
Hey hey! This is great. I was looking into buying cans of spray chalk for some guerrilla advertising, but I'm interested in making some of your mix here. By the way, I know that with spray chalk, oil based sprays are sometimes considered illegal or inappropriate because they last way longer than water-based sprays. I read about the Bikes against Bush issue, but am not sure if that applies nationwide. Was that a state or county court? Anyway, this is perfect for my purposes. I was looking for other projects I could use chalk in, but didn't expect anyone else to be posting about how to use chalk in projects!
you know... you can get this pre-made it's called PEPTO BISMO
pdip_stiffi (author)  Bright Shadow7 years ago
I should try that out, you're right that stuff is chalky and it sure is hell isn't good for much else.
AND it's already colored! :P
viziondanz7 years ago
chalk4peace is an internationally recognised street art - chalk is harmless, extremely temporary and a heal;thy outlet/form of self expression - something that is really need especially for the youth these days.

who said it was all supposed to be grey all the time? - we are surrounded by corporate graffiti, most of it gaudy and exists only to manipulate/brainwash us into parting with our hard earned money

most public media is out of the reach of ordinary folk whereas the streets are fully accessible.

the police response was totally unnecessary and counter-productive if there is a true desire for a healthy culture
"There is nothing wrong with our world,
we are just having a weird conversation"
"Reclaim the conversation"
"Our New World Order IS Love

"when the conversation reaches critical mass, it transforms into ACTION"
..... Social Acupuncture

The Synergy Project video

"Celebration, Our Journey, Our Destination"


Dedicated to the child inside each one of us,
All the children and
All the children to come
_soapy_7 years ago
Note that the UK police will happily arrest you for doing this on the pavement! A bunch of kids (and I mean kids, not teens!) got busted and taken to the station, DNA and fingerprints, etc. for drawing with regular chalk on the pavement outside their home. The police tried to justify this by saying some other people had been using "long lasting" chalk. I'm not sure I like the connection drawn - some other people killed a guy with a garrotte, and you have a jump rope, so we are arresting you for having a jump rope.
Rmg12 _soapy_7 years ago
I'm 16 and live in Liverpool and I did a voluntary work with some deprived kids on the streets and we drew with chalk and the police were there for are safety and they drew with it two - unless we had a licence to do it. Cool Idea by the way
pdip_stiffi (author)  _soapy_7 years ago
Noted, thanks. That sounds a bit harsh, but from what I hear that's the way Ol'Bill rolls. We can and will always find ways to voice our concerns even in a police state.
surfreak7 years ago
Anyone know what compound construction chalk is based on? Wondering because I have tons of gym/climbing chalk (Magnesium carbonate, MgCO3) sitting around. Haven't played with it yet but it very well may be the same. MgCO3 is a hydrate, so it potentially could work.... Much cheaper than construction chalk, definitely not permanent and no harmful materials...
pdip_stiffi (author)  surfreak7 years ago
That sounds interesting, where do you buy it from? This is news to me, I always thought that climbers were using a talcum based powder similar to baby powder. Good to know. Try it out and let us know how it goes. Also what container type does it come in?
Just google "gym chalk" or "climbing chalk." Hell, even google Magnesium Carbonate. Amazon.com carries Endo Block Chalk (block form, obviously, but easy to smash- what I have sitting around), REI.com carries lots- I think they have metolius, endo, and a few others... Endo is the cheapest, Metolius is the best for actual climbing (supposedly- they market "super grip" additives or w/e, some climbers swear by it). As for containers, you'd have to use something other than factory- Endo comes as blocks wrapped in wax paper or plastic, basically, and the powdered varieties come in either balls (fine mesh with chalk inside) or platic bags.
kludge0007 years ago
I've seen a recipe for sidewalk chalk that used plaster of paris and tempora paint. Could you use plaster of paris instead of chalk powder?
pdip_stiffi (author)  kludge0007 years ago
I suppose you could, however: it would be a much more permanent solution. It works well as a setup for sidewalk chalk because it is meant to setup as a firm plaster, but as a liquid delivery it might be more than you want, or exactly what you want, who knows.
sole7 years ago
This looks like fun but unfortunately it drips to much could it work in a glass marker or squeezer?
pdip_stiffi (author)  sole7 years ago
Sorry, I should post a video, or at least some comparison photos. The drips were intended. If you were to mix this to the two thicker mixtures (writing and drawing) you have a surprising amount of control. The front picture on the chalk board could have been just a line straight across, but instead is a nod to KR and old school graffiti writers. If you want less drips, play with the consistency and the amount of pressure you put on the bottle during application, and move a little quicker. Sorry again, my fault. I will try to get some videos up soon.
Notonly yours I also saw some other images wich also dripped but still with a squeezer if it doesn't block to much chalk it could make bigger lines
Patrik8 years ago
Anyone care to try blending some regular chalk with some water? That's bound to be easier to find than powdered construction chalk... PS: may want to try this with an old blender, since blending chalk is bound to dull the blade fairly rapidly.
erfonz Patrik7 years ago
I was thinking cheese grater.
jeeperjake7 years ago
This looks like fun! My first thought was "alcohol & chalk - brilliant!"... anyone tried with quick-dry alcohol as the fluid?
pdip_stiffi (author)  jeeperjake7 years ago
I did. That was my first thought as well, so I tried it with an isopropyl mix, but when it dried it was not as well packed as the water mixture. It didn't seem to bond well with any surface and would fall off within the hour. Maybe there is a different type of alcohol that would make for a better mixture and still have a faster dry time though, I didn't do extensive testing, just water, isopropyl alcohol, and baby oil.
stepdog7 years ago
If you want to thin it and make spray chalk-"spralk"? Then you might try a lung-powered atomizer. You can attach a length of rubber tubing to the blowpipe for more maneuverability. They can be ordered through most art supply stores-here's a link to one:
pdip_stiffi (author)  stepdog7 years ago
That's pretty slick! Do you have one of these, so you can try it out?
slambert8 years ago
you may also want a particle mask. Some of the colored construction grade chalks have some potentially harmful materials if inhaled.
Somehow I knew you'd have a comment about this one, its like krink, but for school
pdip_stiffi (author)  drakedm7 years ago
Hahaha you're right, I have to say I am proud to be grouped with krink.
pdip_stiffi (author)  slambert8 years ago
That is a good point, in its dry powdered state it would not be the best stuff to inhale. I will add that as a possible precaution. Thanks Slambert.
malairia7 years ago
Be careful what kind of chalk you buy if you want the squalk to be erasable -- most powdered construction chalk is designed to mark permanently. I think the blue chalk is usually temporary, but read the label.
nuckerz7 years ago
I wonder if you could use a paint roller with this stuff
pdip_stiffi (author)  nuckerz7 years ago
It should work like a thick plaster. Buy in bulk! look for those 5lbs bottles at home depot or a large mess of sidewalk chalk on sale.
wholegrain7 years ago
Squalk - I love it! I'm gonna try it with a sponge applicator for the small stencils I'm cutting 2nite for a little foray tomorrow. I do LOVE the drip effect though. Thanks for posting this. Patrik, sidewalk chalk through a wire sieve works great.
pdip_stiffi (author)  wholegrain7 years ago
Sounds like fun. Let us know how it goes, and thanks for the sidewalk chalk tip.
camb4167 years ago
more Kassel squalk...
Picture 13.png
pdip_stiffi (author)  camb4167 years ago
Thanks for the pic camb416.
haptotrope7 years ago
If you used it on a brick/textured wall it may not actually come off without sandblasting... back in catholic school we used to have the job of "banging out the erasers" and the nuns hated when we used the building to do that... leaving chalk eraser smack-marks on the brick... and no amount of washing got rid of it.
pdip_stiffi (author)  haptotrope7 years ago
I think since it is mixed with water it doesn't allow the powder to soak in too much. I have broken it off pretty cleanly before.
spranger8 years ago
Here is SQUALK in Kassel, Deutschland at the Kunsthochshule June 2007...
i know this writer...
pdip_stiffi (author)  spranger8 years ago
Thanks for posting the pic Spranger. The only supplies we could find in Germany were all dark colored and carried no labels in english or sometimes none at all. It was a little finer particle too so it was a little more difficult to get the mixture right but still fun.
obeyken7 years ago
wicked cool. of course, once something gets tagged, the more likely it is for others to tag it...
Uthman8 years ago
what was the purpose behind tagging jihad on the truck -- just out of the curious
pdip_stiffi (author)  Uthman7 years ago
It's the tag of a friend of mine in NYC, but I never asked why jihad! I will try to find out.
This is a great idea....I wonder if it would work with a sponge-tipped bottle top.


So that you can write with a bit more precision (like a block tipped sharpie)? Or do you think that the consistency wouldn't work through a sponge?
pdip_stiffi (author)  kikinonosabatus8 years ago
Never hurts to try but I don't know if the particulate will make it through a sponge. Try it out and tell us how it goes. I think it would be hot to have a Squalk marker.
What about using a spray bottle? Then you could use stencils more easily...
I was thinking the same thing. Anyone willing to try it?
ELF Fenwick8 years ago
If you have access to a metal workshop, you could make a new head, and for the jet, you could use one from moped carburettors... They're available with any hole size, made with 1/100 mm precision... Just a suggestion :)
pdip_stiffi (author)  ELF8 years ago
That would be pretty nice. Let me know how that goes.
ELF pdip_stiffi8 years ago
Well I don't have the time to test it with this, I just tried it with a glue/carbon mixture, which worked very well... I used a size 92 (metric) if I remember correct...
pdip_stiffi (author)  distortedlabs8 years ago
I did try that, the particulate clogs the jets in the spray head. I would love to find a bottle we could bore the jets out a little on. If you find a way to make it work please post it up it would be awesome.
I think, that you can use this like the paint for t-shirt, putting a line of mix in one border of the stencil and then spread it, I don't see why this couldn't work...
pdip_stiffi (author)  Nabil8 years ago
That is a great idea you could apply it just like you would the wax tag:
at a consistency somewhere in between drawing and drip writing.

Thanks Nabil
linZ8 years ago
i heart squalk. i heart the name squalk. you may just be brilliant.
why don't you use a weed sprayer (the compressed 1s) for the stencil thing i use them for spraying thick napalm and it doesnt clog
pdip_stiffi (author)  inatimateperson8 years ago
That is a pretty good idea for squalk that is, I am not sure about the napalm.
Darkshot8 years ago
hm.....this would be a really good prank if you mixed in some superglue and squirted graffiti on the school walls or somthin :]
puckito8 years ago
Hey- this is really useful! Thanks!!
mikejedw8 years ago
Nice! It's pretty fun to play with. On a chalkboard, you can use it just like regular chalk and, when it dries, it comes right off with an eraser.
hooloovoo338 years ago
Man, I love your instructables