How to Dye Rice With Food Coloring

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Rice dyed with food coloring is a safe and nontoxic alternative to colored sand and glitter. You can use it in craft projects and stick it together, if desired, with all-purpose glue or paste. This recipe yields approximately 4 ounces, or 1/2 cup, of dyed rice. Use it as many times as necessary to make as many different colors as you desire.

Dyed rice is wonderful for craft projects.
(Santy Gibson/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar
  • Jar
  • Spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Liquid food coloring
  • Uncooked white rice
  • Fine sieve
  • Old newspaper
  • Sandwich bag or container
Step 1

Pour 1/4 cup of undiluted white vinegar into a clean, empty wide-mouth jar. Add three or four drops of the food coloring of your choice, and stir to combine them.

Add more or less color to make the rice as dark as you choose.
Santy Gibson/Demand Media
Step 2

Pour 1/2 cup of uncooked white rice into the jar containing the colored vinegar. Seal the lid as tightly as possible.

A wide-mouthed jar makes this easier.
Santy Gibson/Demand Media
Step 3

Shake the jar vigorously until all of the rice appears to be dyed evenly. Place the jar on a flat surface, and allow it to sit undisturbed for about five minutes.

Make sure the lid is tightly sealed before shaking.
Santy Gibson/Demand Media
Step 4

Pour the contents of the jar through a fine sieve over the sink to drain out the colored water. Spread the rice in a single layer on large sheets of old newspaper. Place it in a sunny location to dry for at least 30 minutes, or until no more moisture remains.

Tap the jar to get all the rice out.
Santy Gibson/Demand Media
Step 5

Store the dry dyed rice in a plastic sandwich bag or an airtight plastic container. Repeat the process to make additional colors. Use the dyed rice in craft projects.

The dyed rice will keep indefinitely.
Santy Gibson/Demand Media

Tips & Warnings

  • You can combine primary food coloring colors to create new colors, if desired. Simply add two drops of each color to the vinegar, instead of three or four drops of one color. For example, red and yellow will make orange, red and blue will make purple, and blue and yellow will make green.

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