Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk!

April 17, 2013

Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk!

Heather from Poppy Haus is with is with us today with a great recipe for sidewalk chalk. I love the idea of children making their own art supplies. Yes, spring is in the air…

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 1 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!

We are honored to be a nominee for Martha Stewart’s American Made Audience Choice Awards. It would mean a lot if you could pop over and lend your support (+vote)… Thank you!

Martha Stewart - American Made 2013 - Nominee Badge



Heather Jennings is the creator of Poppy Haus, a blog about food, play, and design. Her clever DIY projects have been featured on Design*Sponge, Apartment Therapy, Bob Vila Nation, and in The Design Cookbook, a forthcoming home design guide by HGTV's Kelly Edwards. 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.

Latest posts by Heather (see all)


  1. Cerys said on April 17, 2013 #

    This is something that I’ve got to try – thank you for the recipe.

  2. ~ joey ~ said on April 17, 2013 #

    What a great summer science lesson that turns into fun art supplies! Thanks for sharing the recipe.
    ~ joey ~

    • Jodi said on April 26, 2013 #

      Great idea! I have a 9 yr old that would LOVE helping to make these!!! Thanx! :)

  3. Sarah M said on April 17, 2013 #

    oh my goodness, so interesting!
    I love the colors, too, they are not as ‘harsh’ as the general store bought kind!
    sarah M

  4. Heather from Poppy Haus said on April 18, 2013 #

    Thanks guys! They are a BIG hit this week now that the sun is finally out. I’m really fond of the dark gray color.

  5. twila said on April 19, 2013 #

    what is plaster of paris

    • Heather from Poppy Haus said on April 23, 2013 #

      Plaster of Paris is a non-toxic white powder (calcium sulphate). When mixed with water it forms a paste, then hardens. You can find it at craft and art stores, or at home improvement stores.

      • sydney said on August 25, 2014 #

        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!

      • Mariah said on August 26, 2014 #

        Hi Sydney – You might be able to find it at art or hardware stores… :-)

    • Jodi said on April 26, 2013 #

      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. :)

  6. Jen said on April 20, 2013 #

    Will this wash off of my driveway as easily as store bought chalk?

    • Heather from Poppy Haus said on April 23, 2013 #

      Jen, yes it will wash off just as easily as the store bought version. I wondered the same thing!

    • Jodi said on April 26, 2013 #

      yup… it does! :)

  7. Caroline said on April 24, 2013 #

    Waouuw I love it ! Thank you for this magical tip !

  8. [...] Un chwtt tuto pour réaliser vos propres craies, avec les couleurs qui vous conviennent le mieux !!! C’est simple et rapide, et ça coûte pas cher !! À découvrir ici. [...]

  9. Patti said on April 24, 2013 #

    Just remember not to clean up the Plaster of Paris in your sink – Pipes will clog.

  10. opal mck said on April 25, 2013 #

    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.

  11. DIY Sidewalk Chalk | said on May 1, 2013 #

    [...] Source: [...]

  12. [...] Here‘s a spring & summer science project that becomes instant sunny day play: make your own sidewalk chalk! They say it’s a recipe for success: firm, but not brittle. And I am extra excited about mixing my own colors. [...]

  13. Monica said on May 21, 2013 #

    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!

  14. Sabrina said on May 26, 2013 #

    You could remove the tubing as you use it to prevent messy hands. Just a thought :)

  15. [...] Chalk is always a good time [...]

  16. Melissa French said on June 4, 2013 #

    I have linked to this post here: Frugal Road Trip with Kids – Fun Stuff

  17. [...] Make and use sidewalk chalk. [...]

  18. [...] Make and use sidewalk chalk. [...]

  19. Dawn said on June 10, 2013 #

    Can a Toilet paper roll work just as well?

  20. Jennifer said on June 15, 2013 #

    This post is perfect for the Monday Kid Corner Weekly Linky Party. The next party goes live Sunday morning and this week’s theme is SIDEWALK CHALK. Be sure to brush off those archives as well and link them up at See you there! Jennifer

  21. [...] Decorate the sidewalk.  [...]

  22. [...] watercolors (we have a ton already or we would totally make these) Homemade Chalk Little house Grow a lemon [...]

  23. Ananda said on July 3, 2013 #

    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.

  24. Janel Hutton said on July 6, 2013 #

    this is fantastic!!! so awesome!

  25. [...] Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk via Playful Learning Ecademy [...]

  26. Heidi said on July 12, 2013 #

    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!!!

  27. Heidi said on July 12, 2013 #

    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.

  28. Kelly - Two Kids Cooking & More said on July 14, 2013 #

    Would this be ok to use on chalkboards to (My daughter has chalkboard paint walls). Or, would the paint stain? I’m thinking it would be fine…..? Just curious since we’re getting low on chalk and this looks super fun to try!

  29. Cindy deRosier said on July 16, 2013 #

    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!

  30. Diane Schulte said on July 19, 2013 #

    had trouble getting it to the consistency that you had. Had to use less water.

  31. [...] גירים צבעוניים, איך, כמה ולמה בPlayful Learning Ecademy' , תודה לה על [...]

  32. Melissa M said on July 26, 2013 #

    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.

    • Heather from Poppy Haus said on August 8, 2013 #

      Hi Melissa, I hope it finally dried! I don’t have a tip for speeding up the drying, other than letting it sit in a dry, warm place. I’m sorry to hear that it took so long!

  33. sarah frazier said on July 29, 2013 #

    Can u use acrylic paint instead of the tempera paint?

  34. Paint tubes « Unfantastic Plastic said on August 21, 2013 #

    [...] idea if you need to buy paint tubes is to recycle them to make chalk. See: Use the tubes as molds for the chalk. You could also fill them with sand, replace the lid tightly [...]

  35. Aaron said on August 22, 2013 #

    I heard that a drop of soap in the mixture helps it wash away better. Like during a healthy rain. Is this true?

  36. [...] 1. Make your own outdoor chalk from playfullearning 2. Party animal candles from thesweetestoccasion 3. Puppet fun from childhood101 4. A toddler, a box and crayons from berrysweetbaby 5. DIY rosettes from kimmelkids 6. Marker caddy from auntpeaches 7. Dentalsaurus from allthisforthem 8. Superhero party masks from cutesycrafts 9. Edible food paint from skiptomylou 10. Professor Figgy’s Glow Slime from sweetpaul [...]

  37. [...] 8. Tizas caseras. Perfecto para los pequeños que ya despuntan como futuros artistas. Eso sí, ¡tendrás que vigilar tus paredes!. (Vía: Playful Learning) [...]

  38. Stoepkrijt » Veetje said on October 15, 2013 #

    [...] Maak je eigen stoepkrijt via het recept op Playful Learning. [...]

  39. [...] Sidewalk Chalk at Playful Learning [...]

  40. [...] Homemade chalk.  Because giving artistic potential is a little awesome. [...]

  41. [...] Sidewalk chalk [...]

  42. [...] horse when I was a kid and played with it all the time. 2/ Build this modern doll house. 3/Sidewalk chalk! 4/You know how kids play with the box of the toy more than the toy itself? Put that box to good [...]

  43. Ki said on December 27, 2013 #

    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!

  44. Weekend. Landed. Ahhhhh @ bee + daddoo said on January 4, 2014 #

    [...] Also, this [...]

  45. [...] love how inviting this recipe for homemade sidewalk chalk [...]

  46. [...] Make your own sidewalk chalk (at Playful [...]

  47. [...] next day!  I found a fantastic recipe on Pintrest, which lead me to this nifty blog- check it out!   (She has SO many great ideas and DIY [...]

  48. [...] you’re waiting for the weather to clear, make your own chalk with these instructions from Mariah Bruehl at Playful Learning [...]

  49. [...] Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk Plan a Garden Design a Space for Your Child with Color Create Mandala Art with Nature [...]

  50. Brenda said on April 23, 2014 #

    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!

  51. […] your own sidewalk chalk from Playful […]

  52. Loraine said on May 27, 2014 #

    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.

  53. […] // Make your own rainbow coloured sidewalk chalk and let your toddlers express their creativity on a large-scale canvas. (Don’t worry it washes […]

  54. Ashley said on June 9, 2014 #

    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?

  55. […] Sidewalk Chalk What’s summer without some sidewalk art? You can whip up your own homemade chalk thanks to Poppy Haus (via Playful Learning). Sure, it’s a little extra work compared to […]

  56. En casa con Mamá said on July 1, 2014 #

    Hola! Me encanta tu blog! He enlazado esta idea en mi blog, para poder compartirla con mis seguidores. Espero que te guste mi blog! Y si prefieres que quite el enlace me avisas. Gracias!! Saludos desde Argentina!

  57. […] Source: […]

  58. Vicky said on July 22, 2014 #

    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?

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