May Science: DYI Sidewalk Chalk

Summer is quickly approaching and one of the best activities to enjoy a sunny day is to unleash your inner artist with sidewalk chalk!  Sidewalk chalk is very simple to make and will save your some money, give your kids a project, and be fun for 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 (TIP: 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!

TIP: The color of the chalk when using it on paper doesn’t come out as strong as it seems like it will.  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!

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 your 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! (Source)

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Author Challenge Island

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