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
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.