Color your sidewalk with homemade chalk
Liberate young imaginations – parents will be pleased with an easy cleanup!
• Plastic containers such as recycled take-out containers or old bowls
• Mixing stick like popsicle sticks or one-time-use chopsticks
• Plaster of Paris or gypsum powder – 石膏粉 (shí gāo fěn) – available at any local craft or hardware shop
• Modeling clay
• Toilet paper roll or cardboard box
• Rolling pin or something cylindrical
• Tempera paint or food coloring
30 minutes preparation; a few hours to dry
Easy to intermediate
Making Your Mold
For Square Chalk
Using a rolling pin or other cylindrical item, roll modeling clay into a rectangular slab measuring at least 1/4cm thick. Using a rectangular-shaped cardboard box, fit modeling clay around edges, pinching the corners to ensure they are sealed tight.
For Round Chalk:
Wrap one of the open ends of a toilet paper roll with tin foil to close the opening.
Making Your Chalk
1. Pour approximately 1/2 cup (125 ml) of water into an old bowl or plastic container.
2. Starting with a small amount, mix in plaster and stir until completely dissolved. Continue adding small amounts slowly until the water has been absorbed into the plaster. The batter should be smooth and thick.
3. Add tempera paint or food coloring to tint the plaster. Begin with a small amount and a
continue adding to achieve the desired color. Mix until the color is evenly distributed. If necessary, add more plaster until the material reaches a proper consistency.
4. Pour the plaster into the molds, smoothing out the top.
5. Allow the plaster to sit in the mold for a few hours until it hardens.
6. Peel away the mold and let the chalk air-dry. Modeling clay may be reused to make more colors.
7. Hit the pavement!
Note: Don’t pour liquid plaster into drains or toilets, as this may cause clogging. Wash all mixing materials outdoors. Chalk should be used within a week, as color may fade.
Rebecca Kanthor has been living in China since 2002. She invites all who love knitting and crocheting, or those who want to learn, to join the Beijing Yarn Appreciation Club. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.