Looking for information about how to make washable sidewalk chalk paint? I’m sharing our experience with two slightly different recipes for DIY sidewalk chalk paint.
DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint
Hey all—hope you’re doing well cooped up in the house! It isn’t warm here yet, but it is warm enough to throw on a jacket and do some outdoor play once things warm up a bit. So last weekend we decided to try some DIY sidewalk chalk paint.
Ramona loves using chalk, but she isn’t super great at holding it and applying enough pressure to really draw yet (she’s 2). She LOVES painting, though—despite being the messiest indoor activity known to man. So I thought some sidewalk paint would be fun. However, we are limiting our visits to stores like everyone else, so I thought trying out some DIY sidewalk chalk paint would be a good substitute.
We tried two different recipes, but both used ingredients you probably have in your kitchen: water, corn starch, and food coloring or washable paint. One of the recipes turned out more like slime, while the other went on a lot like a thin water color paint and dried with a chalky finish. So let’s chat about both.
How to Make Sidewalk Chalk Paint: Attempt #1
For the first try at this, I should have known that this wouldn’t make the best paint because it was pretty difficult to stir. Especially if you let the paint settle. But it ended up making a cool consistency that was really fun for Ramona to pour and stir on the sidewalk.
Step 1: Measure and mix the cornstarch and water
I mixed roughly 50/50 corn starch and water in a bowl. Mixing with a whisk makes this much easier because it helps break up the chunks that form initially when you combine water and cornstarch.
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Step 2: Dump into cups and add colors
Once fully mixed, I dumped the mixture equally into disposable paper cups. To create the actual “paint,” I added food coloring to each cup and mixed it thoroughly. I absolutely love this food coloring—it’s very vibrant and has some gorgeous colors.
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Step 3: Dump out and play with it
So once we got outside, we realized that this was a lot less like paint than I’d imagined it would be. You couldn’t even really put a brush in it and “paint” it onto the sidewalk. I was bummed…BUT! Ramona still loved it because it has this unique consistency (kind of like slime, except you couldn’t really pick it up).
She really enjoy dumping the colors out onto the sidewalk and creating patterns in them using sticks. Honestly it ended up looking really cool and pretty. It was pretty messy, but everything was washable, so no biggie! Here’s what the consistency was like:
We were a bit worried about how cleanup would be with this colorful mess, but it wasn’t bad at all. We let it totally dry out, which just took a day or two with no rain, and it started cracking. I just used a broom and dustpan to sweep it up and toss it.
Here’s what it looked like…honestly, also kind of cool looking:
How to Make Sidewalk Chalk Paint: Attempt #2
A few days later, we decided to try another attempt. I waited for a warmish, dry day, and Ramona and I mixed up some more DIY sidewalk chalk paint in about 5 minutes. This time I used a different ratio of 2:1 water to cornstarch. The goal was to thin it out a bit.
Step 1: Mix cornstarch and water
You can make as much as you’d like. I mixed a bowl up and uses about a cup or so of water and a half cup of cornstarch. It was still a bit difficult to mix, but much easier than the 50/50 ratio. And a whisk made it an easy job.
Step 2: Pour into cups
Or, in my case, I used this silicone baking mold. Perfect to mix up six different colors! I poured the cornstarch/water mixture into the six compartments in roughly equal amounts. Then we picked some colors to mix in. I used the same awesome food coloring.
Step 3: And paint the sidewalk!
At first, I was a little disappointed. It went on just like water, and I wasn’t seeing much color as it dried. It turns out that painting on the asphalt driveway was the problem. The darker color of the driveway dulled the colors. Check it out:
Once we moved to our sidewalk, things looked much better! The paint still looked a lot like water going on, but it dried a lot faster. It also kept a lot of the vibrant colors we made. Though keep in mind that the chalky consistency of the corn starch does dull the colors as the paint dries, making them look a lot like stick chalk looks.
The chalk dried very quickly, though! In just a few seconds, the color started to show through. Ramona really loved it. And to be honest, I did, too. Because she is 2, it lost her attention in about 20 minutes…but I call that a toddler entertainment success!
DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint Cleanup
As you use the paint, make sure you continue to stir it. The cornstarch will sink to the bottom and the colored water to the top as time passes. Just give it a quick stir with your brush and it will be good to go!
You’ll notice the sinking during cleanup. As a grand finale, I let Ramona dump all of the remaining sidewalk paint down the driveway. Which was a very fun 3 seconds for her. But this was what was left at the bottom, some cornstarch that had settled. This just easily washed out in the sink! (The brushes all washed out easily as well.)