Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Homemade Sidewalk Chalk Experiment #3

The third time's a charm, right? I think that I did, in fact, nail it this time. My first sidewalk chalk experiment was successful, but time-consuming due to the large size of the chalk. Also, I was concerned that the cost of the powdered tempera was a deterrent for some people. I wanted to find a more cost-effective solution that would also allow me to mix colors as I pleased. Then, I thought about the second experiment, and how it was good for color mixing, just not setting up as "chalk." I realized there must be a way to combine the Plaster of Paris from experiment #1 with the food colors from experiment #2 in order to get the best of both worlds. So, I looked online to see if anyone had done this before. Bingo! I found directions from this blogger, who also happened to share my dream of making shaped sidewalk chalks.

I used approximately 2 1/2 bags of Plaster of Paris mix. The box contained 4 bags and cost about $4 at Wal-mart. After two go-rounds, I made a total of 22 egg-shaped chalks, which works out to under 12 cents apiece if you are only taking into account the cost of Plaster of Paris. (I did not try to figure in the cost of food coloring. If you don't have some, get it because it is a super craft investment. Today, I saw that it was on sale at Kroger and 2 boxes were only $4.) This is comparable to the cost of store-bought sidewalk chalk, and this gives you the bonus of making it whatever shape you like! You can see that my egg-shaped chalks nest very nicely in a re-used egg carton. Wouldn't that make a cute gift for some of your favorite little people? So, now that I know how to make chalk with this method, I am way more excited by homemade chalk, and I can actually see myself doing this again and again.

{Homemade egg-shaped sidewalk chalk! Just in time for Easter!}

  • molds (I used 2 Jell-o Jiggler egg-shaped molds.)
  • 1 cup Plaster of Paris
  • 3/4 cup water
  • container to mix in
  • spoon
  • funnel
  • food coloring
  • cake pan (optional)

  1. In a container (preferably something you aren't worried about "ruining"), mix 1 cup Plaster of Paris with 3/4 cup water. Tip: I used an old margarine tub.
  2. Add several drops of food coloring. You can use any color or combination of colors that you like. For my first batch I used 15 drops of yellow. Stir until color is well blended.
  3. Snap together your egg-shaped molds (or whatever molds you have -- I have not tried it, but I am sure you could do this in muffin tins, cake pop pans, or even Dixie cups. Or try toilet paper tubes as I did in experiment #1.) Tip: If desired, set the molds in a cake pan or on a cookie sheet to help catch the inevitable drips and dribbles.
  4. Using a funnel, pour your Plaster mixture into the egg molds (or whatever mold you are using). Once filled, tap to get rid of air bubbles. I found that one batch filled about 3 and 1/2 of my egg cups. Tip: A skewer was occasionally helpful for getting some of the lumpier bits to pass through the funnel.
  5. Set aside to firm up. You can remove from the molds after 24 hours. Tip: I used a butter knife to help loosen up the edges of the molds in order to get them open. Then, let them continue to air-dry for about another 48 hours before using the sidewalk chalk.
  6. Repeat as desired. The first time I made these sidewalk chalks, I did three batches: yellow (15 drops), blue (15 drops), and green (15 drops). Once the molds were emptied and cleaned out, I made 3 more batches: orange (8 drops yellow + 7 drops red), red (20 drops), and neon purple (10 drops).
  7. Enjoy your shaped sidewalk chalk! Note: In the photo, you can sort of see how my original batches have some color that has sort of risen to the tops as they dried. I am not sure why, but I don't think if affects how well the chalk work. The colors appear to be distributed throughout the whole chalks, and more importantly, I tested these out and they work beautifully! Plus, they are not dusty.

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