Without fail, someone is forever forgetting to put our sidewalk chalk away. Sometimes it gets rained on, and sometimes it simply gets misplaced under a tree, only to surface later when the leaves need raking. It’s hard to use after all that time in the elements, but it also seems like a waste to throw it away – particularly when, as the parents of two young kids, we know that would just mean going out to buy more.
During a recent beach trip, my wife, Rachel, discovered a super-easy process on Pinterest by which even weather-ruined sidewalk chalk can be turned into chalk paint – just add water! Soon, someone had the idea to paint the car, so we did. I mean, hey – why not?
You may have kids, so you may have been through the same thing with sidewalk chalk being left out in the weather. And you may not have kids, but you may like the idea of art cars, but not the permanence of actually giving your car a whimsical paint job. Whatever the case, here’s a way to both salvage broken or weathered sidewalk chalk and give your car a fun makeover that hoses right off.
Put several pieces of sidewalk chalk in a resealable 1-gallon bag. If you have the larger chalk – the thicker kind that is a few inches long – two or three pieces ought to do. You can mix colors together, which naturally leads into lessons on blending primary colors.
Close the bag. In your driveway or on a sidewalk surface, use a hammer to smash the chalk into powder. Shake the bag and look for larger chunks, then smash those as well. The more consistent and fine the powder, the better.
Empty the bag into a small pail or similar container. Slowly add water until it has the consistency of paint. If your mix ends up too watery, no big deal – just crush up another piece or two of chalk and add the powder.
Let the kids stir it. Then let them paint your car. If you’re concerned about its finish, use soft-bristled brushes.
Have a hose handy. Rinse and repeat.
Many crayons suffer the same fate – they’re broken, often into pieces too small even for kids to use. Like with sidewalk chalk, there’s no sense throwing these away if it can be helped. Artistic kids need to make art same as they need to eat or sleep, after all.
The beauty of crayons is that a broken crayon is still a crayon – all it needs is a little heat and a mold and it can be returned to a useful shape. To make coloring cubes of your broken crayon shards, all you need is an oven (preferably a toaster oven, for energy efficiency’s sake) and a silicone ice tray.
Gather up the broken pieces too small to color with. Fill the ice cube tray with them. Some will need to be broken further to fit. You can try to match colors if you want, but it looks a lot cooler (and makes for an interesting coloring experience) if each cube is made up of a variety of colors.
Place the tray in a toaster oven set on low heat – 200 degrees or so – or on a cookie sheet in a traditional oven if you don’t have a toaster oven. From what we’ve observed, some crayons melt at different speeds, so you’ll want to keep a close eye on it. When all the crayons have been reduced to liquid, carefully remove the tray with an oven mitt or pot holder and let it cool out of little kids’ reach.
When the crayons have returned to room temperature, pop them out as you would ice cubes. Repeat as necessary using the same silicone tray, as you shouldn’t use it to make ice again at this point.
The cubes can be used as both crayons and as blocks. Let the kids decide which.
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