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Project Thirty One: Take a Pair of Old Tights, 5oz of Chalk, and What do You Have?

March 17, 2011

…all the ingredients you need to make your own chalk balls, of course! Now I realise at this point that you are either thinking ‘ah, of course!’ (I know who you are) or you’re thinking ‘my God, the girl’s gone mad’, in which case I apologise and will explain a bit more at the end of the post. But first, please admire my chalk balls (no I didn’t accidentally post a photo of garlic bulbs, they really do look like this!):

To make your own chalk balls, you will need:

1 pair of old tights, not too thick, and preferably nylon and not wool

1 bag of loose chalk, bought from all good climbing and outdoor chops. I bought a big 5oz bag for £3

1 glass

1 Tablespoon

This will make about ten chalk balls, so that works out to 30 pence per ball, as opposed to £2.50 most retailers charge! With this kind of saving no one need buy chalk balls again!

Loose chalk and our old deflated chalk balls

To make your chalk balls, begin at the bottom of one leg of the tights, and put the tights over the glass. Then add about 2 tablespoons of your loose chalk, twist the tights closed, double over the tights if they are thin, and tie the tights in a tight knot encasing the chalk in a ball. For all the other chalk balls you make you will need to tie a knot in the end of the tights first. You should be able to get five balls out of each leg.




the first ball complete!

All our chalk bags with their new home-made chalk balls!

Right, now to explain what chalk balls are and why I was making them. All three of us are climbers, and climbers use chalk a lot, so much so that we have little chalk bags that we clip to our backs to put our chalk in. We like chalk, we use it to absorb the sweat on our fingers and give us more grip, and most climbers have a nervous habit of over-using chalk before particularly hard moves! There is a lot of controversy within the climbing community as to whether chalk actually helps or whether it is just in the mind, but regardless, most of us use it.

Almost all indoor climbing walls don’t allow the use of loose chalk, so we use chalk balls, which cost anything from £1.50 to £3.50, and look like this:

The chalk balls I made cost about 30 pence each, so I will definitely be making my own from now on. I made five in total, and the boy and I used them today when we went climbing. Maybe it was just my imagination, but they definitely felt better to squeeze than the bought balls, and I can’t be sure if the chalk balls had anything to do with it, but we were climbing on top form tonight!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 24, 2011 8:49 pm

    This is indeed so resourceful!! I wonder if we could just add some pigment and make those funky chunks of chalk kids use to draw on pavements with? What great ideas you have, I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve seen your blog! Here’s to many more brainwaves! (A mexican brainwave?)

  2. SoftSkinHead permalink
    September 18, 2013 2:34 pm

    Awesome, I had the idea to make my own chalk ball so I googlet DIY chalk ball and found your recipe.
    My idea was to maybe have a wad of polyfill that is kind of saturated with chalk, inside a fabric wrapping (like stocking, though I hadn’t thought of that myself). D’you think that might be functional? I was thinking that could make it almost like one of those that you buy..
    Heck, I might just try making it since I ave some polyfill lying around waiting to be used.. then we’ll know if it works as well as I imagine! 😉

  3. greg permalink
    November 2, 2014 9:46 pm

    I just made one of these then went climbing and it works amazing thanks for the idea

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