How to Dye Rice the Easy Way!

rainbow rice lined up kinesthetic kid

Once I got into sensory bins I couldn’t wait to move on from corn and beans to more fun colorful fillers. I saw how people were adding colored rice to their bins and I fell in love. I immediately thought of all the fun themes and scenes I could create with the different colors. So I decided I was going to learn how to dye rice to use in my sensory bins.

How to Dye Rice the Easy Way. You'll have colored rainbow rice in no time after following these 6 easy steps.

Supplies Needed to Dye Rice

I went to the dollar store to buy the rice and just bought one large bag.

While I was there I also bought gallon zip lock bags that I would use to segment the rice to dye the different colors.

I decided to go the food coloring route since I have some good Wilton Cake Icing dye. It’s gel and the colors are very vibrant. It also meant that I didn’t need to mix the colors myself using the standard red, yellow, green, and blue package.

Toothpicks were necessary to scoop the dye into the bags. I didn’t use a lot so just one toothpick covered did the trick.

Lastly I ended up using white vinegar but I didn’t initially plan on it. More on that later.


How to Dye Rice In 6 Easy Steps!

1.First I separated my rice into 5 zip lock bags.

undyed rice

2. I picked the 5 colors I wanted to use. Since I was doing a rainbow I chose red, blue, green, yellow, and violet. You can see I used the Wilton’s 12 Icing Color pack so I had a lot of colors to choose from but I went with standard ones.

rainbow rice supplies

3. I added small amount of the food coloring in each bag using the toothpick. I put about one coated toothpicks worth in each bag. In the below image you’ll see how much I dipped each one in. If you are using the dropper style food coloring I would assume just a few drops of each color would do. You can always add more!

rainbow rice toothpicks

4. I closed each bag and shook it so the food coloring spread. I also massaged each bag to make sure I evenly spread the food coloring.

rainbow rice before vinegar

5. Here is where I decided that vinegar is the way to go. I added about 1 tsp of distilled white vinegar into each bag and shook it again. This is where the rice got coated consistently. Before it was almost like a watercolor/tie dye look (above). After the vinegar it was much more vibrant as you can see below. It’s the same bags just after I’ve added the vinegar and mixed and massaged thoroughly. Is that blue to die for or what!

rainbow rice after vinegar

6. I then laid the rice out on disposable plates to dry out. Within an hour they were dry and none of the food coloring came off when I touched it. 

rainbow rice lined up kinesthetic kid
You can see I ended up just putting it in a VOSS bottle and put the rest in a bin. Eventually we just poured it all out into the bin where my daughter proceeded to play for a solid half hour before it was time for bed.

rainbow rice in a voss bottle

I honestly was able to make this amazing rainbow rice in 20 minutes, half of the time while holding my infant (multi-tasking for the win!). It really was that easy once I learned how to dye rice. Let me know what you’re doing with your rainbow rice in the comments!

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