Street Chalk Recipe

Traditional Street Painter's Pastels Recipe

The following recipe has a very high beeswax content and low alkali content:

1/4 cup boiled linseed oil
3/4 cup (liquid measure) beeswax
5 oz. (1/2 cup) ivory bar soap
wall paper paste solution (follow directions on package) wheat paste
electric skillet and microwave oven,
2 1-2 cups water

1. Melt the pieces of beeswax in a microwave oven if available. Otherwise, heat the beeswax in the electric skillet until liquid. Remove excess beeswax from the skillet. Measure 3/4 cup of the liquid beeswax and combine in skillet with 1⁄4 cup linseed oil. and heat to 350 degrees.

2. Grate Ivory bar soap and place in a pan with 2.5 cups water. Over medium high heat, bring to a rapid boil and stir with a French whisk until dissolved.

3. Pour boiling soap solution extremely slowly into 350 degree wax solution, beating rapidly with the French whisk until well combined.

4. Pour emulsion into metal pan or bowl and place into ice water bath still whisking constantly. Stir until room temperature. The emulsion should be smooth and free of grains. The consistency should be like a heavy cream. You can add more or less boiling water in Step #3 to adjust the consistency.

5. Prepare wheat wallpaper paste solution. Must be wheat paste, can get at most home improvement stores.

6. Combine an equal part of soap solution/beeswax & oil solution/ to an equal part of wall paper paste solution for a waxier chalk.
* One part emulsion to 2 parts wall paper paste solution creates a normal chalk. Stir with French whisk until combined.
*Best for street painting!

When I am making my colors up, I generally begin with mixing the emulsion, saving it in a air-tight container. I store it in a cabinet, away from direct sunlight., as it will mold if left out.

Different combinations of the emulsion and wallpaper mixtures can make almost any pigment usable. The pigments that weigh less generally need more emulsion to make chalks that match the more waxy colors such as titanium and cadmium produce. One part emulsion to 2 parts wall paper paste glue solution creates a normal chalk. A half and half mixture makes a waxier one. The less emulsion/binder used, the softer the chalk.

For my pigment colors, I add marble dust as an extender, (considering the large amount of colors used on the asphalt of a 12'x12' square. As stated previously, every pigment will need a different proportion of binder. An experimental chalk should be made from every pigment to determine its properties. Once the binders are added to the pigment, I mix with painter's putty knives.

Care on forming the pastels will yield a better product. My pastels are formed by placing pigment in center of smooth marble surface, adding marble dust (up to 50% proportion to pigment). Carefully blending the dry color and filler using painter's putty knives, I make a "volcano shape" with a small well in the center (This is for approximately a 1/2 cup dry powder). I then place the emulsion into the center of well, using about 1/2 teaspoon emulsion, and small drops of water to begin blending process, adding small amounts of water until stiff. If pigment does not accept water, one or two drops of denatured alcohol will help disperse the liquid into the powder.

I use the putty knives to mix the ingredients, a dding drops of water as necessary to form a shape. It is easiest to work with when pastel is a "pie crust" consistency. I prefer shaping large rectangles of anywhere in size about 2.5"X2"X1"

Pastels can be formed between the fingers to the appropriate shape, and only rolled back and forth in one or two passes to round them. Rolling the pastels too much will make the glue leach out to the outside, forming a shell or crust, which is undesirable.

Remember, the less emulsion, the softer the pastel. If very little emulsion is used, it can crumble as you touch the surface!

Recipe provided by: Alice Scott Crittenden

Warning: when working with pastels wear a dust mask and gloves in order to minimize the exposure to pigment dust. Do not eat, smoke or drink while working with powdered pigments and do not allow children to use pigments unsupervised. Do not use powdered pigments if pregnant or contemplating pregnancy. Please read additional warnings on selected pigments.