One of the funny things about the cycling “world” is that you never know who you are going to run into and what will come of it. While out spectating at the Monarch Pass stage of Pro Cycling Challenge this year we ran into Emiliano and Daniel from Manual For Speed doing what they do: Shooting pics and generally bemoaning the lack of good coffee available on an 11,000′ Colorado mountain pass. We got to talking and they mentioned that they wanted to put together a street painting team for the Denver stage of the race but still hadn’t nailed it all down. Street painting team? That sounded like something Rodeo would enjoy, so we volunteered and got to work planning. The first plan was to use spray chalk and a SPEED SPEED SPEED stencil to mark up as much of the road as possible, but the stencil’s size was not adequate for large scale coverage. We knew we needed to add resources to the mix. We researched liquid chalk paint but couldn’t find any in the time we had available. Lacking for other options, we decided to make our own paint.
A few quick trips to the hardware store and grocery store gave us adequate inspiration and we cobbled together this home made (biodegradeable!) chalk paint recipe.
Chalk Recipie v1 (WIP):
1. 5 Gallon bucket.
2. 2.5lbs of powdered marking chalk. http://low.es/1wsfY8W The brighter the better. Blue was the best color. Neon orange was also very good. Red not so much (looked like brick color).
3. Thickening agent to suspend chalk powder in water. Otherwise chalk separates from water and won’t spread. we used roughly 10 lbs of flour. 15lbs may have been better for added thickness. Corn starch might be even better. Plaster of paris might also be great, but we are unsure of how quickly it would wash away over time.
4. Add ingredients to bucket, add water until bucket is almost full but leave room for mixing and adding flour or more chalk if desired.
5. Use power drill and power mixing bit to mix. http://low.es/1t6AtFP
6. During transport be sure to seal buckets with fresh lids in order to prevent mass spillage in car.
7. We eschewed paint trays and dipped rollers stright into buckets for maximum paint saturation.
Burley trainer is best for transport. Low low gearing is advised for hill climbing.
Warning: Paint is slimy and slick while wet. Be nice to fellow cyclists and slow them down if they are riding across your art while it is drying.
Bonus: The paint solution smells like pancake mix while you paint!
Note: Paint may seen translucent while going on but as it dries out it gets brighter. At times we had to use two coats, but as the recipe is dialed in perhaps coverage will improve.