Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk!

Posted In: Arts & Crafts

Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk!

Since I started making my own play dough last year,  I’ve been wanting to try out more homemade versions of childhood favorites. Sidewalk chalk is a Springtime favorite for us.  We could spend a whole sunny afternoon coloring on the ground.

Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk!

I found a few recipes,  and cobbled together a recipe that yields a firm, but not brittle, quick-drying chalk.  I used wrapping paper tubes rescued from the recycling bin as molds, as they have a smaller diameter than toilet paper or paper-towel tubes, better for small hands.  You could also use the tubes found inside aluminum foil, plastic wrap etc.

Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk!

Gather your materials:

  • Tempera Paint (use primary,and mix secondary colors)
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Water
  • Wrapping Paper Tubes
  • Wax Paper
  • Masking Tape
  • Sandwich baggies (for piping bags)
  • Scissors


Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk!

Cut the tube into 5 inch segments.  Line the interiors with wax paper, tape the base to seal one end, and set aside.

Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk!

The following is the recipe proportions for one color:

Mix 2-3 tablespoons of tempera paint with 1/2 cup of water.  Stir in 3/4 cup of plaster of Paris.  Spoon the mixture into a sandwich baggy and snip the end.  Squeeze the contents into the tube. Prop straight up (I used the masking tape ring to support my 6 tubes).

Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk!

Allow to dry at room temperature for at least 12 hours.  Enjoy!



Heather Jennings is an interior stylist and the editor of the site Make+Haus, where she writes about food, play, and design. Her work has been featured on Design*Sponge, Apartment Therapy, Martha Stewart, Curbly, and Epicurious.  Heather earned her BA in Psychology and Gender Studies from The University of California, Davis, and has continued her studies in Interior Design.  She lives in Petaluma, CA, with her husband Adam and their two sons, who gladly serve as the official taste-testers for all of her family-friendly recipes.



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      1. where can I get plaster of Paris? would somewhere like rite aid or Walgreens have it? or if not walmart? please let me know! thanks!

    1. Twila? Plaster of Paric is a sort of “soft cement”…it can be bought at any craft store.Even Walmart sells it. It’s not expensive either… AND water- soluble.It comes powdered,you add your own water to mix it. 🙂

  1. I did this for years for my children. I used chocolate candy molds. They loved the animal ones. You can mix the powdered paint directly into the plaster of paris powder before adding the water.

  2. I am so glad to find this! With five kids we eat through the jumbo chalk in a matter of days!!!! Yea! Now we are set! Always wanted to find a use for my paper towel tubes!

  3. I absolutely love the idea. And your pictures are beautiful! Thanks for the recipe Heather! I will have to try with my little girls now.

  4. I have been using the drop in baby bottle bags for years.
    I stand 3 or 4 of them up in a can or bowl. I mix everything in a zip lock baggie, snip the corner off to pour into the bottle bags. I also like to use up those small left over chalk pieces by putting them in the bag as I fill with new chalk mixture. The kids like getting multicolored drawings. When dry, I can just slide the bag off and usually get several uses from a bag. I am the ultimate re-user–family joke!!!

  5. Oh and I have found that instead of the plaster of paris, I use regular plaster wall compound from the hardware store and it is quite a bit cheaper….pretty much the same thing.

  6. I’m the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts and I wanted to let you know that we have featured your chalk! You can see it here:

    If you have other kid-friendly crafts, we’d love it if you would submit them. If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above. Thanks for a wonderful project idea!

  7. Do you have any tips for if it’s having trouble drying? My chalk has been sitting out for almost twenty-four hours, and it’s still rather moist–it wouldn’t hold it’s form if I took it out of the toilet paper roll.

  8. I love this! Chalk is very high in lead, which is a big no around here. I’ve been buying chalk made only from edible materials to be sure it’s safe, but it’s very spendy! I love that I can do this for much less $$. Thanks!

  9. Can I use acrylic paint instead of tempera paint?
    I don’t even know what tempera paint is, in my country is not very common.
    Thanks for share!

  10. I did this years ago with Girl Scouts at daycamp. We used Powdered Tempera paints and toilet paper tubes. We made over 300 tubes of chalk and the kids had a great time. I like the idea of using the regular tempera paint and the smaller tubes.

  11. Ours was runny and ran out of the bottom of the tubes, soaked between the tube and the wax paper…must have done something wrong. What is the desired consistency of this?

  12. Can I ask what the benefit of this chalk would be? I find sidewalk chalk isn’t really that expensive and I’m not sure the cost of those first couple materials. Does it work out to be cheaper?

  13. So I recently tried making sidewalk chalk. I was on my 7th batch when my husband pointed out that the side of the plaster of paris box indicates that it contains a chemical known to cause cancer. Does anyone know of another/safer way to make it?

  14. Have you tried mixing this straight in the baggie? That is how I make my deviled eggs. Place ingredients in baggie, push out extra air at top of baggie, seal baggie, squeeze and mush till mixed, cut tip of baggie. It would be faster and easier to clean up. Just a thought.

  15. I did this with my 2nd grade class today…. so much fun! We ended up pouring the chalk mixture in the wax-coated Dixie brand kitchen cups instead of toilet paper rolls.

    1. I am getting ready to do it with first grade. Was going to use silicon molds, but wondered if Dixie cups would work out. You were happy with the results? How many pieces of chalk can you make from one recipe? We have 18 students.

  16. Great and easy recipe for making homemade sidewalk chalk! I love it! I’m going to make a bunch for my granddaughter’s first birthday party. Party Favors to give out to her little friends 🙂

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