DIY: Liquid Chalk

Besides the sports bra, chalk is probably one of the most beloved pieces of climbing equipment.  These days every climber has a bag full of chalk.  Not much has really changed since those hot, humid days at Devil’s Lake when John Gill rubbed some gymnastic chalk on his hands and changed the sport of climbing.  Gymnastic chalk is pretty much unchanged; put it in a sock or don’t, grind it real fine or leave it chunky.  It’s still just Gymnastic chalk.  Until a few years ago when someone came up with the idea of liquid chalk.  In Rockmans opinion, it’s a pretty good idea for two sets of climbers, the super sweaty and boulderers.  This stuff will not replace your chalk bag. All its users will tell you this stuff makes for a great base layer of chalk.  It really packs a one, two punch on your hands; removing oil and moisture and replacing it with an even coat of chalk.  Kinda cool, hey.  The problem is a 4 oz. bottle can cost you up to $11.95.  Just on the wrong side of a sawbuck to give it a try.  Rockman is here to help.   Here is a recipe to make  ~8 oz. for $4.00.
Ingredient list:
1-8 oz block of gymnastics chalk ($1.50)
1-16 oz bottle of rubbing alcohol ($2.50)
1-Empty bottle
1-mixing dish
1-mixing stick
1-measuring cup
  1. Break up your block of chalk.  Rockman uses a fine screen to grate the chalk through; it creates a very fine dust which makes creating a smooth mixture much easier.  Depending on how much liquid chalk you want to make, grind about 2-4 cups of chalk.  Put it into your mixing bowl.  Make sure you measure how many cups you put into your bowl.
  2.  Add your rubbing alcohol to your mixing dish at a ratio of 1:2 (1 part alcohol to 2 parts ground chalk).  Rockman likes to work in smaller batches of 1 cup alcohol to 2 cups chalk.
  3. Use your mixing stick to mix your mixture until it is really smooth.   If your mixture is slightly dry add in small splashes of alcohol until it is suitable consistency.
  4. Add your mixture to its suitable container.
  5. Clean up and head out to do some climbing.
Directions for use
  • Shake bottle before each application.  Squirt a nickel sized glob into your hand.  Don’t use more, because unlike hand lotion you can’t just rub this on your elbows to absorb the extra; it will give you really chalky elbows.
  • Rub your hands together,vigorously.  When you first apply this stuff you you will think to yourself,” ugh, this is totally disgusting.”  Don’t fret, it gets better. Keep rubbing your hands together.   One thing Rockman should tell you is this is rubbing alcohol, the stuff you freaked out about your mom putting on your scraped knee; it will burn (while disinfecting) any cuts on your hands.
  • You will notice your hands will start to get cold.  This is the alcohol evaporating off your skin, taking with it moisture and oil.  Your hands will start to look chalky.
  • Voila, liquid chalk.  Go send some boulder problems, Sweaty.
    1. If you don’t want to make your own LC or if you just want to see what it is like, next time you are in the gym ask one of the friendly desk staff to try a squirt of Rockman Sezs Liquid Chalk.  Give it a try and let the staff know if you like it.
      In The Spirit Of Adventure,

      8 Responses to “DIY: Liquid Chalk”

      1. Roberto says:

        Genius! Will try.

      2. Roberto says:

        Well it didn’t go as planned. I think I added too much alcohol, is there a way to fix it?

      3. cara says:

        it works thanks my gym has been looking for a way to make liquid chalk for at least a year.

      4. Dustin says:

        works pretty good. made up a batch for traveling, seems a little more tsa friendly than a baggie of white powder. ratio wasn’t exact, but I imagine the kind of chalk you use will affect that.

      5. Joshua says:

        This is AMAZING! THank you so much! I use almost equal parts alcohol and chalk and it works wonders! Thank you for posting this article; liquid chalk changed my climbing forever!

      6. Taylor says:

        I had to add a little more alcohol than the recipe called for but it works great. Even if you put too much on just wait till it dries and clap out the excess.

      7. Jaime says:

        Fantastic! Thank you. I was about to embark on figuring this out on my own. Super sweaty hands here. Liquid chalk has made me go from chalking up every 2 holds to being able to make it halfway to the whole way up a route without re-chalking!

      8. Dave says:

        Thanks for the write up!

        I gave this a go tonight and it was very easy. I used 2x 2oz Metolius Chalk blocks and 20oz of 91% isopropyl alcohol. It’s important to note the chalk is measured by weight, while the alcohol is in fluid ounces. Each 2oz block crushed up to be a hair over 2 cups (1 cup = 8 fl oz). The initial 2 cups chalk to 1 cup alcohol mix was quite pasty, so another 4 ounces of alcohol was added to make the mixture shakable for dispensing out of a small bottle.

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