How to make a permanent DIY Rainbow in a public space.
May 27, 2013 3:04 PM   Subscribe

I'm part of a large group of local families that are trying to get our local council to make a permanently outlined rainbow crossing in our local square for people to chalk and draw their messages of love, hope etc. (It's in a slightly historic place because it was a first, so we can't move it to a different surface.) We can't have it done in paint because they high-pressure hose the area daily to clean it. We're looking for not terribly expensive (ha!) safe options for a public space that gets a LOT of foot traffic. A photo of the space with the proposed outlines in chalk. There are currently large acid dipped pavers...not concreted in...that are about a foot square.

This is what it looked like completely chalked...but it's not what we want. Just the outlines around the pavers so people can chalk completely or not, if they like.

So.... what would be the safest, least expensive or disruptive way to achieve this look?

So far we've had removing some pavers and then shifting the remaining ones a bit and inserting coloured grout, or removing the big ones and inserting smaller coloured ones to outline/surround the current grey ones.

We're running a bit low on time as it goes to the vote tonight, but it would be great to give them some clever suggestions that they can investigate. Thank you in advance!

Oh, we're in the inner west of Sydney, Australia. (Summer Hill if it matters) so generic, international solutions would be fabbo. Also... even the name of the kind of trade who would do this... stonemason, tiler, builder.... suggestions would be great.

Bonus points for suggestions how to write #summerhill beside it, but that's just an idea, not the thrust of what we're asking for.
posted by taff to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I wasn't sure where to put this so I'm sorry if it's in the wrong category. I'd have said home and garden, but it's got to be a solution that ticks happy bureaucratic boxes in terms of safety and cost. A dodgey diy solution that we might try at home isn't going to cut it with a council (for American readers... I think a council is like a home owners association. with mayors and stuff.)

Sorry, I won't threadsit.
posted by taff at 3:08 PM on May 27, 2013

Grout was the first thing I thought of too. If the pavers are currently 12X12 then replace them with 10X10s and nice thick brightly colored grout lines. I can't imagine anything else that will hold up to the foot traffic and high pressure cleaning. Sadly, pavers don't really come in bright rainbow colors. I've seen muted colors, but I don't think that's what you're after.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 3:30 PM on May 27, 2013

dyed grout, not painted grout.
posted by tilde at 4:09 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Some suggestions off the top of my head - you could do a mosaic with colored tiles, or poured epoxy. It is also be possible to dye concrete, but I don't know if you'd get it bright enough.
posted by pombe at 4:11 PM on May 27, 2013

Response by poster: They're almost a granite... so I don't think they can be dyed. And how does one dye grout? They'd need to be reasonably bright. Is dyed grout a thing?
posted by taff at 4:19 PM on May 27, 2013

I was thinking of dying poured concrete (first google hit). Dying grout is probably similar.
posted by pombe at 5:09 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

How did the meeting come out?

Similar to dyeing concrete, you can dye grout before or after laying it, (after would be staining, though) though consult a professional.

What about some kind of insert? Rubber-dipped rods glued rather permantishly in that narrow space between the existing pavers? Easier to piece together than do as a whole overlay. I have done dip-sealing of metal strips with marine paint/dip (specalized) and it comes in some what bright colors.

I also have silicone .... well, everything. Baking dishes, rulers, jewlery - couldn't something be extruded directly in/or on there in that space?
posted by tilde at 10:31 AM on May 28, 2013

Response by poster: Well the excellent news is that it passed.
Made the national news because it's the first in Australia. It was the first ever #DIY rainbow to get a permit so there was a bit of pressure on them from the 500 million facebook newsfeeds (if Cortex and pb et al hadn't talked about data dumps here we would never have thought to get the numbers from the diyrainbow guy!) it was reaching.

Still looking for more suggestions. Now they are considering paint....but it's got to be strong. They're considering everything. So the more ideas, the better. The silicon sounded good to me. But I have no idea.

Thank you, and keep the ideas coming. Also for the kinds of professions that might do this.
posted by taff at 2:35 PM on May 30, 2013

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