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Fourth of July Craft: Sidewalk Chalk Stars

Jun18

by

By Ellen Luckett Baker
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Feeling patriotic this year? This Independence Day celebrate our freedom from those British tyrants with some sidewalk chalk!
The fourth of July is always a nice time to be outdoors with friends and family. This is a simple summer project with many possibilities for kids of all ages. We made our chalk with a star-shaped candy mold, but you could make chalk in any shape or color. I think that these would make nice little party favors. My six-year-old pointed out that it might be easier to buy sidewalk chalk at the store — but with a large container of Plaster of Paris for $5, a mold for $1.99 and paint we had on hand, I think this is a pretty economical project. You could start a chalk factory!
WHAT YOU NEED:
-Plaster of Paris (available at art supply or craft stores)*
-Tempera or acrylic paint
-Plastic or silicone mold
-Containers for mixing
-Mixing utensil (disposable fork or chopstick)
-Water
* I would advise parents to mix the ingredients for this project when the kids aren’t around. Please be sure to read and follow the safety precautions for this or any product recommended here.

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HOW TO MIX IT:
1. Mix two parts plaster mix to one part liquid. Since I used regular paint (rather than a powdered mixture), I mixed two heaping tablespoons of plaster mix with one level tablespoon of paint then added a dash of water as needed.
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2. Stir until all the lumps are gone and your mixture is the consistency of toothpaste.
3. Spoon the mixture into the molds and wipe the edges clean. Tap the mold and poke out any air bubbles that you can see from the bottom.
4. Allow the mixture to dry for several hours, possibly 24-48 hours if using larger molds. Be sure to clean your containers at an outside faucet as you don’t want chalk in your pipes!
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5. Turn your mold over and gently tap it to release the chalk. Scrape off any messy edges. Go draw on the sidewalk!
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About the author

Ellen Luckett Baker

http://thelongthread.com/
Ellen Luckett Baker is the author of the long thread, a blog about handmade goods. She has always enjoyed making things, but the flexibility of staying at home with her two daughters along with the creative inspiration they provide has led her to craft on a daily basis. Combining her love of graphic design and sewing, she has created an Etsy shop selling machine embroidery designs and sewing patterns.

Ellen lives in Atlanta with her husband and two young daughters. She holds a B.A. in Art History and a Master's of Public Administration with a focus in Non-Profit Management.

Ellen recently wrote 1, 2, 3 Sew: Build Your Skills with 33 Simple Sewing Projects her crafting book. She is crazy talented!


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16 Responses to “Fourth of July Craft: Sidewalk Chalk Stars”

  1. Beth Jun 18 at 10:51 am Reply Reply

    What a fun summer project! I love them!

  2. Leslie Jun 18 at 11:37 am Reply Reply

    Wow I didn’t know you could make your own chalk!!! Neato.

  3. Amalah Jun 18 at 2:47 pm Reply Reply

    This. Is. Awesome. We are SO doing this.

  4. Traci Jun 18 at 10:18 pm Reply Reply

    These look fantastic. I have tons of those silicone molds that are hearts and other shapes. I am ready to try this one.

  5. kirsten Schueler Jun 20 at 8:22 am Reply Reply

    oh, if only we didn’t have a massive set of chalk that needs to get used up first! this is a fabulous idea and i love that star mold!

  6. Heather Jun 20 at 5:40 pm Reply Reply

    I love your blog and read it regularly. I was very excited to try this project. However, when I purchased Plaster of Paris, I found the warnings state this product contains cancer causing chemicals. This project is not acceptable for children to make or use. After a bit of searching, it appears that there is a similar product specifically for Hobby and Crafts. Hopefully, that product will be suitable for children.
    _______________
    Editor: Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. We are adding the following disclaimer to the body of the post right now:
    I would advise parents to mix the ingredients for this project when the kids aren’t around. Please be sure to read and follow the safety precautions for this or any product recommended here.

  7. Rachel Jun 22 at 1:23 pm Reply Reply

    These are fantastic! What a wonderful party favor. Thanks so much for the idea, I’ll be linking.

  8. TwoHeartsTogether Jun 24 at 2:13 pm Reply Reply

    Thanks for the neat tutorial! I posted this “recipe” on my craft blog http://www.twoheartstogether.com my visitors love the idea! Thanks for sharing :]
    ~Samantha

  9. Melissa Jun 25 at 12:27 pm Reply Reply

    What an awesome idea– and I love the chalks, too. I’m adding this blog to my daily reads!

  10. Heather Jun 25 at 4:45 pm Reply Reply

    What a fantastic idea–these will be the BEST party favors for all the little ones!

  11. the inadvertent farmer Jun 26 at 9:02 pm Reply Reply

    Totally cool! We are having a big get together for the 4th with lots of kiddos and I trying to come up with some great party favors….thanks, this is it! My kids will have fun making them for all their friends, Kim

  12. the inadvertent farmer Jun 26 at 9:06 pm Reply Reply

    Just adding another ‘must do’ to my list for the 4th…hmmm now to figure out if I possibly have time for everything on that list! Kim

  13. Lenetta @ Nettacow Jun 28 at 12:22 pm Reply Reply

    I don’t have the star molds, but I bet I could figure something else out. I linked to it in my weekly roundup (link to the post is under my name). Thanks for the recipe!

  14. spyra Jul 01 at 7:59 pm Reply Reply

    If the mixture contains chemicals that aren’t good for your children, chances are it’s not good for the environment either. What happens to the “chalk” after you’re done drawing and it rains? Think about your children when the same chemicals leech back into the ground that they play on. I hope, for the sake of our children’s futures, that we are all conscious enough to use biodegradable materials.

  15. Ellen Baker Jul 02 at 10:40 am Reply Reply

    This comment is from Ellen Baker, the author of the post:
    The three ingredients in Plaster of Paris are calcium sulfate hemihydrate, calcium carbonate and crystalline silica.
    Calcium sulfate is composed mostly of natural minerals (gypsum and anhydrite) and is used in food as a coagulent. This is the main ingredient in most chalk. Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_sulfate
    Calcium carbonate is found in rocks and is the basis for sea shells. It is used as a calcium dietary supplement and also found in antacids. Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_carbonate
    Crystalline Silica is derived from sand or quartz and is used in concrete, cosmetics, food and other applications. Read safety information here: http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/crystalline-factsheet.pdf
    Here is a link to the material safety data sheet if you’d like more information:
    http://www.dap.com/docs/msds/00079010_english.pdf
    Here’s one more article about inhaling chalk dust:
    http://www.wisegeek.com/is-chalk-dust-harmful.htm

  16. kathy yuen Feb 19 at 9:22 pm Reply Reply

    wow cool

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