Monday, February 16, 2015

Chalk Labyrinth

Making a labyrinth on concrete with chalk is easier than spray painting one in a field of grass.  For one thing, it's easier to fix mistakes.  And being able to tape to the surface of the lab makes marking the lines a lot easier.  The good/bad thing is that rain washes a chalk lab away. But with a forgiving landlord you can paint a permanent one using the chalk version.

Here is what you will need:

  • a full roll of painter's tape
  • a bold sharpie
  • a length of rope (for the exact length see below)
  • a piece of corrugated cardboard 1 foot by 2 feet
  • tape measure
  • 3-4 pieces of sidewalk chalk.  (the rougher the concrete, the more chalk you will use)
  • either a spray bottle of water and a dry rag or a very wet rag to erase mistakes

To figure out how much rope you will need you can approach it two ways:

First, understand that you will be drawing 12 lines.  The first line is 2 path-widths because it forms the inner circle.  So think in terms of 13 (12+1extra for the inner circle)

If you have limited space and need to adapt your lab to that exact space, take the shortest length and divide by 26.  For example, if you have a space that's 26 by 30, take the shortest length (26) and divide by 26 and this will give you the width of the path.  Your paths, in this case, will be one foot wide. You will need a rope that is at least 12X1foot plus a second foot for the first line (basically 13 times the path width.)  You will need 13 feet of rope

Or, if you have all the room in the world and are not limited by space, decide how wide you want your paths to be.  If you want two-foot wide paths you would multiply (13 times a 2-ft path) 26  by 2 and know that your lab will cover 52 feet. Your rope will be 2 feet wide times 13. That equals 26 feet of rope.

To make a jig for the rope take the cardboard and make a hole in the center of one half.  The hole is for the rope to go through.  Tie a knot at the end and thread the rope through the hole until the knot stops it.  Fold the cardboard in half and tape it shut.

Once you know the width of the paths, mark the rope with the tape.  The first mark will be TWICE the width of your paths.  All the others will be one path width.

Here's a snap of the cardboard thingy-

Decide where you want the center to be.  With painters tape mark a beginning.  It's best if you have someone to help hold the tape and make sure it's straight.

figure 1
Piece of cake, right?

Now lay tape parallel to the cross--one path-width on either side.
figure 2
Easy enough.

In this example, I had a limited amount of space and it measured 25 by 40 feet.  I made the paths one foot wide.  The first mark is two feet from the where the rope emerges from the cardboard.  I put some tape at TWO feet and marked the tag "1".  The next tag was ONE foot after that one and I marked the tag "2"....and so on until the 12th tag.

Here's a picture of what the rope should look like:

Now tape the rope thingy to the center of the taped lines on concrete or floor. Then make some marks on the lines

figure 3

OK!  Are you with me?

Now it is getting a bit harder.  Using the following diagram mark each circuit according to the diagram.  This will be the most crucial step.  Look at the diagram carefully.  Talk out loud to yourself.  Get a friend to check behind you. Compare the numbers on the diagram with the numbers on the tape.  You could print this out or enlarge it so you can see it better.  This is the key step.  Careful attention to this step can avoid messing it all up. 

Now take your rope and make some more hash marks between the North, South, East and West lines.
figure 4

figure 5

 Mark the curves of what I call a "wrap-around" where lines 5 and 7 will curve around line 6

Then fill in the voids that the wrap-arounds create.  With chalk, you can just make hash marks instead of solid color.  The goal here is to smooth the lines out and solidify the path.

Now you pull the tape off. Voila!  You have a labyrinth!

Stand at the entrance for a quiet time and pray over your creation.  Ask God to set this space aside as holy ground and bless the ones who will walk here.

Go home and stand by your mailbox waiting for the Noble prize for labyrinths to arrive in the next post.

This can also be the basis for a permanent one by going over the lines with paint.  To take it to an even higher level, paint it in Glow in the Dark paint.