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

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.

Step 2: Making the Liquid

We will stick to an eyeball method-ratio not exact measurements. The ratio is an approximate 1:3 (1 part water 3 part powder) You can not screw this up too badly if you stick to this approximation, and if you do we still can fix it no problem.

1. Open the bottle of chalk and using a backlight so you can see the powder level through the bottle, make a mark with the sharpie as a volume guide.

2. Now using the powder volume as a guide (estimate 1/3 of the distance from the bottom of the bottle to the powder level line) mark another line above the powder as a fill line for the water. This is your ghetto water fill line.

3. Start filling water until you reach the water fill line. Now I know that the powder will start soaking up some of the water and it will seem as if your adding too much water, and you may very well be doing just that, since eveything is be eyeballed, however it will not be by that much, and if your mixture ends up being to liquidy you can pull out some moisture by puttling a paper towel against the top and turning it upside down to soak out some of the water. Just repeat the paper towel trick if necessary until it gets to the desired consistency. Which depends on what you want to do with it. I use it at a slightly more liquid than plaster just before it is poured consistency because it has good control where you can still squeeze a nice line but it has great drip properties if you want as well. You could also mix it a bit thicker for more control for drawing or quite a bit thinner for filling up water balloons.

4. Shake it vigoursly. You will want to do this before every use as well, but in the beginning give it a heavy shaking for at least 2 min. It will sound alot more fluid than it will appear. Also note during shaking the squirt head may have become clogged, it is for this reason that we waited till now to cut it open in hopes of avoiding that as much as possible, but if it has use something like a sharp pencil to clear it out. If the head continues to clog during use, your mixture is to dry and you should try adding small amounts of water.

Step 3: Testing and Posting

It is important if you have a desired goal for the Squalk other than to entertain kids, that you test it out on similar surfaces as your end venue, in order to get a good idea on application style and proper fluid consistency. The pictures for this step show not only a varying degree of skill with a camera but some of the many types of surfaces and marks that can be made with Squhalk. It is not depicted here but it can be used creatively with stencils as well.

If you are choosing to use any other color than recommended by me, be warned that if you apply it to a surface that has the ability to accept the pigment, meaning a porous material like wood, cardboard, brick, cloth, it may be almost impossible to clean off.

Step 4: Disclaimer

That's it!

Now there is presendence of chalk being labeled by a court ruling to be a non-destructive medium in the Josh Kinsberg Bikes against Bush case, so feel free to use liberally with the color caveat in mind. It dries fairly quickly, and the clean up is minimal, but as always people might jump to conclusions based on how you decide to apply the medium, so make sure that you don't look like your doing anything illegal, especially if you are.

Lastly, don't feel limited by the content depicted in this instructable, be creative, have fun, be careful.

Please send me a message if something is amiss in this instructable and comment in any great tales or new techniques that you discover. If you use this instructable, post pics to Flickr with a "Creative Discontent" and "Squalk" tag.




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    69 Discussions


    5 years ago on Step 4

    Nice! May try that someday, but on cardboard or something as a splatter painting.


    6 years ago on Step 4

    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!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    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...

    3 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I read a tutorial on 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....


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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 IV

    10 years ago on Introduction

    What happens if you use red(staining) will it stay there forever.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I made some squalk today, its so awesome. definitely going to use it more and try other colors.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    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


    11 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    2 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    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...

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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?