We're hiring an experienced UX Designer to join us in Boulder, CO.
Mountain Project Logo

Anyone ever make Friction Labs liquid chalk?

Original Post
Raymond Moreno · · Millbrae, CA · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 140

Got a quick question.

I was interested in making some liquid chalk to get a good base layer on my hands at the beginning of my bouldering session at the indoor gym.

There are a few YouTube videos out there, but I don't know if they are the best source of information on this.

I have a few bags of Friction Labs chalk laying around. And based on what they say about how "magnesium carbonate" surrounds the water molecules (verses "calcium carbonate" which the water molecules surround)...I was curious if using F.L. chalk had different requirements in order to make "liquid chalk"?

The YouTube videos recommend using rubbing alcohol. But I was curious if using 90% rubbing slcohol, verses 70% rubbing alcohol, was better?

Secondly...are those the only two ingredients in liquid chalk? (Rubbing alcohol and chalk).

Are there any other steps, or ingredients, needed to make liquid chalk from F.L. chalk?

Is that how the manufacturers make it?

Any good links?


In Christ: Raymond

Medic741 · · Red Hook, New York · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 265

90%. Why would you put more water in a solution that you're using to remove moisture?

Steven Groetken · · Durango, CO · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 390

I made some. I put the dry chalk in my nutri bullet to get rid of the chunks. Then I mixed it with 91% rubbing alcohol in a squeeze bottle. I started with a 1:1 ratio and added more chalk to get a good mix. Only two ingredients, add more chalk for a paste, or more alcohol for a liquid consistency based on your preference. Works great.

Mike Brady · · Van Diesel, OR · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 681

or you could buy their liquid chalk.

Will S · · Joshua Tree · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,053

Ideally, you'd get higher than 90%. Definitely not 70%.

When getting a kids comp team ready, we sourced some 99% from a specialty supplier. Shop around and you can find 95% or 99%, and if you can't find it locally you can always order some 99% off amazon, about $7/pint.

Medic741 · · Red Hook, New York · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 265

Any alcohol would work, you can get 100% EtOH from a chem supplier, but I have a feeling that you'll need some amount of water to make it soluble, as the MgSO4 in an organic solvent will just 'clump,' it's frequently used in synthesis to get moisture out of your product, but... if you're serious about this,

I'd start with a 100% EtOH or 'rubbing alcohol', and slowly add water until the chalk dissolves into the suspension

Raymond Moreno · · Millbrae, CA · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 140

Thanks for the feedback, folks.

After doing a bit more research, I found that the cheaper, 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol, was better.


Because chalk is soluble. And the lower percentage rubbing alcohol has a bit more water, hence helping with the solubility. (It's ability to dissolve and suspend the chalk in the liquid solution).

If I were to use the higher percentage rubbing alcohol (90+%), not only would it be more expensive, but I would need more of it to mix the chalk into a soluble form. And in the end, it was not needed, as the 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol worked perfectly. (They carry the stuff at Walgreens, and you can sometimes find them on sale for $1.50 a pint).

I had a few bottles of it in the closet anyways. :)

Bottom line, I used a small 1oz bottle with a screw-on cap and a flip-up spout.

I had a few in my 65L Gregory backpack. And if memory serves me correctly, they were only $1.00 each at REI.

I placed my finished "voodoo chalk juju" in a small, sealable, plastic bag...just in case the top should screw loose.

I also recommend making small batches. Like folks have said in other posts - It is stuupit fast and easy to make. And if you make small batches, if your container should leak or not be airtight enough, you will not lose too much.

And also, this way you always guarantee yourself the freshest batch.

Here's another little tip. Once the liquid chalk has been made and shaken, place it in medium hot water for a few minutes. The warmth helps it to dissolve a bit more thoroughly.

As a side note: the FrictionLabs chalk worked fine. It feels like it has a few clumps in the drops when placed on my palm. But once I rub my two palms together to spread it out, there are no clumps in the finished product. And if you have used FrictionLabs chalk before, you will notice that silky, chalky, feel on your hands. Awesome!

In closing, because you are using chalk with rubbing alcohol, it will really dry out your hands.

Make sure you take good care of your hands afterwards.

I use the red-labeled "Climb On!" skin salve. The BEST in my opinion.

Cheers. And thanks again.

(Maybe I'll do a DIY video sometime). ;)

In Christ: Raymond

Here is the 1oz container in the small plastic bag.

Close-up of the screw-on top, with the flip-up spout.

Another shot of the 1oz container. They are a perfect size. And you can pick them up at REI for about $1.00 each. Look in the backpacking section of the store.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply