Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk

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Sidewalk chalk is pretty darn easy to make, and by doing it at home, you can save money, create your own designs and colors, and have fun with the whole family.

Step 1: Materials


You can get everything you need for this project from a craft or art supply store and around the house.  You'll need:
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Water
  • Powdered Tempera Paint
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Molds
I used some fun molds that came with a plaster of Paris kit, and some of the neat ice tube trays from IKEA.  They even make tube-shaped ones if you want traditional chalk shapes. 

To make your own stick molds, try using toilet paper rolls.  To make them thinner, just cut a seam, overlap the edges, and tape together. 

Step 2: Mix It Up


For every cup of plaster of Paris, use 3/4 cup of water.  Add in as much powdered tempera as you like, and stir, stir, stir!

I found that the color of the chalk when using it on paper didn't come out as strong as it seemed like it would.  So be prepared to do some experimenting.


Step 3: Molds


Pour the mixture into your molds.  For fun, mix up a few different colors, and swirl them together!  

I used a wooden skewer to level off the tops of the molds so they'd have flat backs.

Step 4: Clean-up!


Clean up is very important - and you don't want to rinse this stuff down your sink.  See how it's setting up in those molds?  It's going to do the same in your pipes!

Take a container like a small waste bin, and line it with a plastic bag.  Pour in some water, and use this as a sink to rinse everything - all materials, your hands, everything!    Let the plaster set up in the bottom, and the water will rise to the top.  Once it's settled, you can pour off the water from the top, leaving the plaster undisturbed.   Dispose of the bag.

Step 5: Check Out That Chalk!


Drying time will vary, depending on size of the molds you use.  It's pretty easy to tell by look and feel when the chalk will be ready to de-mold.  Even if you pop it out and it's not set yet, you can let it air dry a bit more without worrying about it losing its shape.

Now get outside and make some art!!

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    23 Discussions

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    Owlflight

    3 years ago on Introduction

    When I work with Plaster of Paris, I usually put it into a ziploc with the water. It's easy to mix, and really easy for the kids to help me mix it too. When it's mixed, you snip on corner and pipe it into whatever mold you line. Clean up is a snap also - no need to worry about the pipes as it is all thrown out in the bag.

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    NCH 1

    2 years ago

    Would it work on diy chalkboard

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    NCH 1

    2 years ago

    Would it work on diy chalkboard

    I would think any water-based coloring agent would work...have used food coloring for homemade playdough...

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    NutandBolt

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Great Ible :-), I made something similar for my first baby's room. I used plaster and molds and after it was dry I painted them and siliconed them to the wall.

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    billhorvathJ-Five

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yah -- The pictures (in a different article on the same story) were pretty nasty too.

    Most people (notably including myself, until I read this) don't realize just how exothermic setting plaster can be.

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    J-Fivebillhorvath

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    They could have put here hands in some dirt, to make a mold. Then the TEACHER pours in the plaster of Paris.

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    billhorvathJ-Five

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    That's what they were instructed to do. About halfway down the story is this: "Jo Anderson, prosecuting for the HSE, said the girl had been told by her teacher to put her hands into clay to make a mould."

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    OlivePie

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I can not wait to try this with my niece and nephew...they are going to love it! :]

    Yay, chalk! Great 'ible! But to make it even better, add... GLOW IN THE DARK POWDER!!!

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    nightninja87

    8 years ago on Introduction

    omg!!! i love doing this it reminds me so much of being a kid! oh and if u want huge sticks of the chalk put plastic on the bottom of a paper toliet roll tube and fill :D thank you