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Easy DIY Sidewalk Chalk and Paint Recipes

Girls with chalk coloring American flag on sidewalk

Sidewalk chalk drawings are a fun way for kids to enjoy the outdoors and express their creativity. It's also a great activity for bored children who are stuck at home when school is closed. It's washable as well, so children can have fun with their outdoor canvases over and over again.

How to Make DIY Sidewalk Chalk

Homemade sidewalk chalk is easy to make, and you can store the chalk in a plastic container with a lid for using time and again.

Ingredients for DIY Sidewalk Chalk

  • 1-3/4 cups of water
  • 2 cups dry plaster of Paris
  • Tempera craft paints
  • Plastic cups
  • Silicone molds, such as for cookies, muffins, ice cubes, candy-making or crafts
  • You can also use cardboard tubes, such as those found in toilet paper rolls or aluminum foil or cellophane tubes. If you do this, include some masking tape to seal one end of the tube.
Four children drawing with chalk on pavement

Making Sidewalk Chalk Step By Step

  1. Add the water to the plaster of Paris in a mixing bowl. Add the water in slowly as you mix the dry ingredient with a spoon or paint mixing stick.
  2. Stir the mix gently until you get a consistency like cake batter.
  3. Split the mixture up into your desired numbers of portions and put them in the plastic cups.
  4. Add a few drops of paint into the portions and mix until blended. You can add as many drops as you like to achieve the color you want, or blend in more than one color.
  5. Pour the mixtures into your molds and allow them to dry.
  6. If you are using cardboard tubes, take the masking tape and seal up one end of the tube. Then pour the mixture in the other end and make sure the tubes remain "standing" with the taped side on the bottom to keep the mixture from leaking out.
  7. It can take 24 to 48 hours for the chalk to harden enough to be removed from the molds. Carefully pop them out of the molds. If you use cardboard tubes, simply make a cut in the top of the tube and roll the cardboard away from the chalk and discard.

Sidewalk Chalk Without Plaster of Paris

If you don't have any plaster of Paris on hand, you can make sidewalk chalk using baking soda and cornstarch or flour. However, your chalk will not be as solid and sturdy as the plaster of Paris-made chalk.

  1. You can either substitute 3/4 cup of baking soda and 3/4 cup of cornstarch for the plaster of Paris or 1-1/2 cups of flour.
  2. Use 1-1/2 cups of water instead of 1-3/4.
  3. When you put your mixture in the mold, you will need to freeze the chalk to get it to harden. It will take about six to eight hours to firm up fully.
  4. Because this recipe uses freezing to solidify the chalk, the chalk will begin to melt if you are using outside on a hot day. Any remaining chalk should be stored in the freezer.

How to Make Sidewalk Chalk Paint

You only need a few simple ingredients to make sidewalk chalk paint at home:

  • 1 cup of warm water (you can add more if you want a silkier paint consistency)
  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • Liquid (not gel) food coloring or watercolor paint (your choice of colors!)
  • Container for the paint - You can use a muffin pan, plastic storage containers, plastic cups, mason jars, or hair dye mixing bowls.
  • Small paint brushes or sponges

Making Sidewalk Chalk Paint Step By Step

  1. Mix the water and cornstarch together in a bowl. Use a whisk to get the mix to be smooth and free of lumps.
  2. Depending on how many colors you want to make split up the mix into your containers. For example, if you want to make three colors, split the mix into thirds and fill three containers with each portion.
  3. Drop a few drops of the food coloring or watercolor paint into each portion and mix until well blended.
  4. To make a lighter color, use fewer drops (2 to 3) and darker more drops (up to 10).
  5. You can also be creative and mix colors to make new ones.
  6. Your sidewalk chalk paint is now ready to use! Just add in some small paint brushes and you're ready to go! The paint colors will appear stronger as the paint dries on the surfaces.
  7. The paint is also washable and can be removed with water, even after it dries.
  8. If you have extra paint, you can store it in an air-tight plastic or glass container. You may need to stir or shake them well before using again.

Other Ways to Make Sidewalk Chalk Paint

If you don't have cornstarch on hand, you can use flour as a substitute. You may need to add more water as the flour will not dissolve as well as the cornstarch. Another option is using store-bought sidewalk chalk. Put the chalk in a sturdy bag and break up the pieces as small as you can by applying pressure to the bag or using a hammer. Then mix the pieces into the water. This is a good option for when you have smaller pieces of chalk that are hard to hold to draw with, but you don't want to throw away and waste.

How to Make Sidewalk Chalk Spray Paint

The steps to make a spray paint version are the same. However, you will make a few slight changes:

  1. Add more water to the mix until you have a light, watery consistency and all the cornstarch is dissolved.
  2. For your containers, use empty spray bottles. Larger bottles are better than smaller ones as the paint may be too thick for a smaller bottle's nozzle and you'll have to rinse them out often.
  3. Pour a portion of the mixture into each spray bottle.
  4. Add your coloring element to the bottles and stir in the color. Or put the cap securely back on and shake the mixture until the color is well blended.
  5. Your sidewalk spray chalk paint is now ready to use!
  6. You can store the paint in the same bottles by turning the nozzles in the off position. You should rinse the nozzles first though so they don't dry with any paint clogged inside. Shake the containers well before using again.

How to Make Puffy Sidewalk Chalk Paint

"Puffy" sidewalk chalk paint has a thicker consistency and "puffs" up away from the surface to create a three-dimensional look to your artwork. For this project you will need:

  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap
  • Liquid (not gel) food coloring, watercolor paint or pieces of crushed sidewalk chalk
  • Empty plastic squeeze bottles, such as the type used for holding condiments

Making Puffy Sidewalk Chalk Paint Step By Step

The process for making puffy sidewalk chalk paint is similar to regular sidewalk chalk paint.

  1. Mix the flour and water together until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps. A whisk is helpful for getting the right consistency
  2. Add in the dish soap and mix.
  3. Split your mix up into the desired number of portions and place them into the open squeeze bottles.
  4. Add your coloring to the portions and mix by stirring, or securely close the lids and mix by shaking them til the color is blended in completely.
  5. Your paint is now ready for use.
  6. Unlike regular sidewalk chalk paint, you should not store any unused paint as the ingredients will separate overnight. In addition if they are kept in a tightly closed container the ingredients can actually produce enough pressure to move the cap off and damage the bottle.

Have Fun With DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint

Letting kids make their own sidewalk chalk and chalk paint is a wonderful activity because it not only gives them a creative outlet, it also encourages them to be outside and get some fresh air. It's also washable and environmentally friendly and a very cheap project for you and your kids to indulge in on days when you all need something fun to do!

Easy DIY Sidewalk Chalk and Paint Recipes