Embrace Your Inner Graffitist With This Sidewalk Paint Recipe

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Hey hey, you crazy, creative, inspired monkey! How would you like to just go to town and paint all over your sidewalks? If you have kids you can pretend you’ve mixed the paint up for them, but we all know you secretly want to grab a brush or 5 and get to painting. I did. We did. We sidewalk painted as a family, and it was a hoot.

We brushed and splattered and dripped and spilled, and I do believe our creations gave our house 1,000 times more curb appeal. The best part about sidewalk painting? It washes off after a rain or 2.

Sidewalk paint recipe

Sidewalk Paint Recipe

  • 1 part water
  • 1 part cornstarch
  • liquid watercolor or food dye

I mixed up 6 cups with 4 Tablespoons cornstarch, 4 Tablespoons water, and about 10 drops of liquid watercolor each. You could also mix up a giant batch of cornstarch/water and divvy it up into individual cups and then add the color. I use liquid watercolor for this because it is so concentrated, the colors are lovely, you can mix colors if you want, and we essentially use the hell out of liquid watercolor. It’s the art supply I didn’t know I needed until I bought some, and now I don’t know how I would live without it. (Does that sound dramatic?)

This is the liquid watercolor I use, and I nabbed it from Amazon. I’ve heard good things about the liquid watercolor at Discount School Supply as well.

Painting the sidewalk is a pretty cool alternative to chalking, because you can lay down a lot of color quickly and you don’t run the risk of dragging your knuckles across the sidewalk like when you get to that last nub of chalk but you still have a tiny bit to fill in so you keep using it and it doesn’t pay off and then you have chalk-filled, roughed-up knuckles and you cry.

So, some tips here

  • If you’ve ever done crafty things with cornstarch, you know it’s sort of a bear to mix up with water. I actually enjoy the gloppy sensation, but it does take a little time.
  • Sidewalk paint takes 2-3 rains to wash off.
  • Liquid watercolor and food dye can and probably will stain your hands for a couple of days, so wear gloves while you’re mixing if you want to avoid this.
  • The paint looks different when it dries. It turns lighter and brighter and looks more like liquid chalk.

sdiewalk chalk gets lighter and brighter as it dries


Here’s what we did with sidewalk paint


Dripped it down the big ugly rock in our front yard

Splattered it down the sidewalk

Puddled it

Painted a face on the front of the steps as an optical illusion exercise!

sidewalk chalk paint project

Here are some more ideas

Paint a tree trunk

Paint a giant hopscotch board down your entire sidewalk, and fill in some of the squares – ooh, pretty!

Mix up a batch for kids at a block party

Whip it at cars as they drive by (What?!)

Paint his and hers parking spots in your driveway

How to make sidewalk paint

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  1. Survivingit
    07/11/2014 / 6:46 pm

    Paint bedbugs with it. Hahahahahahahahargh

  2. 07/11/2014 / 6:49 pm

    We love sidewalk chalk…but I don’t think our neighbors would appreciate the whipping it at cars suggestion (sounds like fun though 🙂

    • 07/22/2014 / 8:10 am

      Ha! Yep, I have an evil mind. I have some neighbors currently whose house I’d like to sidewalk chalk paint-bomb, but that’s a whole different post. 🙂

  3. 07/12/2014 / 12:32 am

    Lovely colors! I love the toes in the pic :). Such nice awesome colors when it dries! Pinning… like now!

    • 07/22/2014 / 8:11 am

      Thanks for the pin!!! It’s funny how many people in social media land have commented on my glamorous toes in the photo, and they were sorely in need of a pedicure….

  4. 07/14/2014 / 10:16 am

    I like how it dries to look like chalk. And cornstarch with water is it’s own messy, cool thing to play with.

    • 07/22/2014 / 8:12 am

      Oobleck! I just saw somewhere that you can add colorants or kool-aid or whatever you want to Oobleck (or gak?) to make it even more wonderful to play with, so I think we might be doing this today.

  5. Michelle V
    07/18/2014 / 7:28 pm

    M is for Monster shared this on Facebook today and it was the perfect activity for my 3.5 year old this afternoon. Thanks.

    • 07/22/2014 / 8:13 am

      Oh, how nice! I love hearing about shares. And I especially love hearing about people actually doing the stuff I post! Thanks so much.

  6. 07/19/2014 / 6:56 pm

    We don’t have a sidewalk or driveway yet but it would be fun to mix this and paint the ground when we do.

    • 07/22/2014 / 8:14 am

      Now I’m sad because you don;t have a driveway and I was just rubbing it in your face with this post. 🙂 Get one soon and then you can have a giant chalk paint party…

  7. 06/14/2015 / 7:34 am

    Yet another great art supply idea from you! Thanks. I’m working with the fabric paints/inks you suggested which worked out great for my project. Despite not having even a grandchild under the age of 18, I WILL be doing this on my driveway. In fact, I’m making all the guests do it at our next cookout.

    • 06/17/2015 / 10:22 am

      That is the best thing I’ve ever heard, seriously. I’m working toward more projects that adults want to do, so it’s always so fun to hear from adults who are like, “kids? what kids? I’m doing this!” If you get a photo of your guests painting, I’d LOVE to see it!

  8. 06/14/2015 / 1:49 pm

    What fun! Adding it to my summer idea list to keep the kids outside!

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