You have to try these easy, yet magical, floating chalk prints!
Floating chalk prints are a super cool process art activity that is great for kids of all ages and has magical, beautiful results!
“I remember doing this activity in art at school” I told my kids.
“My art teacher was really cool, kinda weird, and quirky, and the art room was always a mess, but we did all kinds of cool things like this.”
I have such fond memories of that art room at my primary school, back when I didn’t care if I could make art that was ‘good enough’, back when it was just fun to explore, and glue, and draw, and paint, and create.
I know my big kids have the same sort of memories about their school’s art room, and their wonderful art teacher, and I hope they hold on to them for a long time to come.
The way the chalk swirls around on the surface of the water is mesmerising, and you never know quite what you’ll get when you lift the paper to reveal your masterpiece.
This is a great art activity for kids of all ages that focuses on the process, but also has a beautiful product. There are lots of opportunities to learn about, and experiment with, scientific concepts such as floating and sinking, and surface tension with your kids while doing this art activity. Plus it’s also really satisfying to scrape flakes of colour and watch them scatter across the surface of the water!
The technique for this printing activity couldn’t be more simple, so even little hands can join in this activity with great results.
How to Make Floating Chalk Prints.
You’ll need a fairly large area to make these floating chalk prints, and lots of space to dry your artwork flat, but most of the supplies needed you will be able to find around the home.
To make your own floating chalk prints you’ll need:
- Some chalk pastels or regular chalk.
- Some paper
- A shallow tub that the paper fits in filled with around a centimetre or two of water.
- Something to scrap the chalk – we used plastic knives.
We used soft artist chalk pastels to make our prints, but you could also use regular blackboard chalk, just make sure it is good quality and has lots of coloured pigment in the chalk so you get bright, colourful prints.
You’ll need paper that fits inside the tub you are using, and most paper will work fine. We used regular A4 sizes printer paper.
Begin by filling your tub with water, it doesn’t need to be very full, just enough to cover the bottom of the tub. We used an Ikea trofast tub with a few centimetres of water in it. If you are having trouble with your chalk flakes sinking, try mixing a small amount of dishwashing detergent into the water to help the flakes float better.
Choose a chalk and carefully but firmly scrape chalk onto the surface of the water. We used a plastic knife to scrape down the sides of our chalk pastels which worked really well and was safe for little hands. You could try a variety of different tools for scraping to see which ones work best, but you are looking for something that makes a fine dust, not big flakes.
The coloured chalk dust should float on the top of the water, and you can add more layers of chalk dust in different colours. Don’t worry if a little chalk sinks to the bottom, as long as there is still lots floating on the top.
You can use a skewer to swirl and mix the colours if you like, but be quick and gentle, you want most of the chalk to stay floating on the surface of the water, if it gets too water logged it will sink.
After a minute or so gently lift the paper off the top of the water to reveal your beautiful floating chalk print!
The prints look magical!
The paper is covered in speckled, swirling, spots of colour, almost like old fashioned marbled paper!
We had so much fun making these floating chalk prints and we absolutely loved the results!
We’d loved to make a really big chalk print so we can frame it and hang it on the wall.
I wonder if we could make them in the bath???
Find more easy art activities for kids here, or try one of these: