Sidewalk Chalk Painting

After teaching both yesterday and the day before, it was so good to spend the day with my girl today. (Two work days in a row was new for us… I missed her.)  We spent the morning at the aquarium visiting sea creatures, and decided to try something new this afternoon.

Sidewalk chalk is a usual thing around here, and we’ve done mess-free sidewalk painting a few times recently, but we hadn’t yet tried sidewalk chalk painting.  It was about time.

There are TONS of sidewalk chalk paint recipes floating around the internet, but we just went for it and mixed up our own version. I wanted more of a watercolour consistency rather than a paste in order to allow Miss G to make longer brushstrokes before having to reload her brush, so we used a lot more water than cornstarch.  And since I’ve read that the paint dries a lot lighter than it looks when wet, we amped it up by using generous amounts of gel colouring {hence them looking so dark in the photos}.

(FYI – The cool paint swirls are courtesy of my little lady.  Who knew a good swift bump of the paint tray right as the photo is being snapped equals awesome swirls?)

IMG 3446Gracen didn’t hesitate to get started.  The second I gave her the okay, she got busy dunking her paintbrush and creating her sidewalk masterpiece.

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She honestly LOVED it.  She was so focused and content that she did not put down her paintbrush once the entire time until the paint was gone.  And when it was?  There was a prompt, “More, Mama! More!” directed my way.  Sadly, I’d used all of our cornstarch and couldn’t whip up another batch, but I’m pretty certain that this will become a regular activity this summer.

The end result was a sidewalk {and toddler} covered in beautifully vibrant colours, a very happy little lady, and much needed bath.

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Sidewalk Chalk Paint

  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • 2 cups (or less, depending on desired consistency) of water
  • Several small globs of gel icing colouring

Using a muffin tin, put a little food colouring in each cup, varying the colour combinations and the amounts of dye. In a large measuring cup, mix together the cornstarch and water.  Carefully pour a little into each muffin cup and mix well.

Take the paint outside {preferably on a tray to prevent spills} along with paintbrushes and watch your little one(s) create a sidewalk masterpiece. Give paints a little stir every once and a while to prevent the cornstarch from sinking to the bottom.

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11 thoughts on “Sidewalk Chalk Painting

  1. So cute! Wayyyy too messy for my mommy-quirks about messy painting, but adorable. Perhaps when my kids are much older…but I really can’t commit right now. Hahaha!

    • jkossowan says:

      Hahaha – yes, totally not for those who don’t like messes. I won’t lie – Gracen’s legs were stained for days despite long, leisurely baths each night. Regular food colouring may not be as bad, but it would certainly still be messy. Regular sidewalk chalk or painting the sidewalks with water are probably more your style. 🙂

      • The water one was a hit! Hahaha, we’ve just been playing in a splash pool on the deck a lot lately.

      • jkossowan says:

        Oh, a splash pool sounds lovely! I’ve had my eye out for one, but I want one with a cover and haven’t had much luck… The crab and turtle sandboxes would work, but they’re so shallow. Must keep looking! 🙂

  2. Naomi says:

    That looks like alot of fun. I’ll have to try it with my kids!

    • jkossowan says:

      It was a tons of fun. Easy, cheap, and entertaining – the perfect activity, really (as long as you don’t mind messes and stained kiddos, that is!) 🙂

  3. meshfence says:

    Good Job,Baby!
    I was worrying about the clean problem,is it easy to remove the painting on the clothes?
    My baby is one year old,we have many clothes with fruit juice.

    • jkossowan says:

      This paint probably would have stained light-coloured clothing quite badly, but luckily we had dressed her in dark colours for the activity. Her little denim shorts were covered in it, but I’m happy to say that they came out of the wash perfectly clean! I’m not sure about juice because Gracen doesn’t have juice yet, but I do know that we’ve had several things stained with avocado and apple, and as long as I don’t let them sit too long, add some Borax to the wash, and wash them in cold water, they come out clean! 🙂

      • meshfence says:

        Wash timely is important,I always keep all the stained clothes until night,it’s too hard to clean them.So i \don’t try any painting.

  4. Do you know if this will work with liquid watercolors rather than food gels?

    • jkossowan says:

      Good question, Rachael! I’ve never tried making it with liquid watercolours before, but I have used liquid food colouring and it worked just fine. My understanding is that liquid watercolours are essentially liquid food colouring and water, so if that’s true, it should work. One thing to keep in mind would be that it does take A LOT more liquid food colouring to make the paint vibrant than it does when using gels, so you may have to use a lot. On second thought, maybe you could just add cornstarch straight to your liquid water colours?! I bet that would work really well!

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