mz kids Sylvia's Super Awesome Mini Maker Show: Sidewalk Chalk

We’re excited to bring to you our special summer kids video miniseries, Sylvia’s Super Awesome Mini Maker Show!

Subscribe to the MAKE Podcast in iTunes, download the m4v video directly, or watch it on YouTube, Blip.tv, and Vimeo.

SSAMMS_EP03_SidewalkChalk (1).JPG

By James (TechNinja) and Sylvia

Bored on a hot summer day? In the mood to let out your inner van Gogh and make something cool? Then lets make some sidewalk chalk!

For this colorful build, we will need:

  • Plaster of Paris
  • An old bowl you don’t mind mixing plaster in
  • Powdered Tempera paint
  • Warm Water
  • Wax paper
  • Some short cardboard tubes (or something else to mold the chalk in)
  • Some wide sticky tape for sealing the bottoms of the tubes

First, take your tubes and line them with some wax paper, then seal the bottoms of each tube with tape and put them in a safe container to catch any spill when pouring. Take note: once you mix the plaster, the clock is ticking to get it poured into your mold, as it won’t want to stay liquid for long! You have about 2-3 minutes before the plaster becomes twice as hard to pour, and anything after 5 minutes is almost a paste and will be very hand to get into a mold. Be sure and have your molds completely ready before mixing. Safety first: Plaster dust is bad for you! Pour it outside, or with a breathing mask and eye protection. Always read the safety warnings on the package before working with chemicals or other potentially hazardous materials.

Now mix in ¾ of a cup of warm water with 1½ cups of plaster of Paris, along with whatever colors you might want. The more the better, but not too much! If your paint has any water content it will offset the mix. We originally tried with wet tempera paint, but it never dried and turned to mush! Oh well, failure is always an option!

Now that you’re mixed, carefully pour the plaster into your molds. The mix should be enough to fill about 1 to 2 cardboard tubes, to make the other colors just repeat the previous steps. Once you’ve all poured, leave them out in the summer sun, or wait overnight and in no time they’ll be dry and ready to start drawing with.

And that’s it! Try experimenting with different colors, different molds, or different paint types, like neon or glow in the dark. There’s a million different ways to have fun with this one, so be sure that you do! And remember, get out there and make something!

SSAMMS_EP03_SidewalkChalk (4).JPG

More:

becky stern headshot Sylvia's Super Awesome Mini Maker Show: Sidewalk Chalk

Becky Stern

Becky Stern is director of wearable electronics at Adafruit Industries. Her personal site: sternlab.org


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