Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk

It's long-lasting, cheaper than the sidewalk chalk you can buy, and easy to make - though potentially messy. Only grown-ups should mix the plaster, as plaster dust is caustic. Protect your work area with old newspapers, and don't rinse plaster down the drain!


plaster of Paris

water for mixing

liquid tempera paints

measuring cup and spoons

disposable mixing containers (paper cups)

disposable stirring sticks

disposable molds

You can mix this in 8-oz. disposable cups. The recipe is easily doubled if you have larger containers.

Pour 1/4 cup of cool water into a cup. Add 1-1/2 tablespoons of liquid tempera. Stir. (Buy a set of tempera paints for this. Each jar contains about 4 tablespoons - 2 oz. - of paint. Or experiment with powdered tempera, which makes brighter colors.)

Add 1/2 cup of plaster, and mix well. Pour the mixture into a mold. The plastic trays from frozen manicotti work well. You can also use toilet-paper tubes with aluminum-foil bottoms. Try putting layers of colored plaster in the molds to make multicolored chalk. Remove from molds when chalk is completely dry.

- Adapted from 'The Tightwad Gazette II,' by Amy Dacyczyn (Willard Books, 1995)

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