How to Dye Rice (for Sensory Play, Home Decor and More!)

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How to Dye White Rice

Yesterday I posted a teaser pic on Instagram and many of you were intrigued!  You wanted to know how I dyed that rice (and why someone might want to dye rice in the first place!).  I have seen lots of examples of dyed rice over the years on Pinterest.  Often the rice is used in sensory bins for kids or in various pieces of home and holiday decor.

You will have to stop by the blog tomorrow to see my finished projects with this rice, but I’ll give you a sneak peek at the bottom of this post!

How do you dye rice?

It’s actually a lot simpler than you might think!  You only need 3 ingredients:

  • White rice (the cheap stuff from the dollar store works great)
  • Food coloring
  • White distilled vinegar

Ingredients to Dye Rice

How to dye rice:

1. Place your desired amount of rice in a glass container.  I don’t recommend using plastic containers because the food coloring will stain them.  I worked with the rice in 2 cup batches and used quart sized mason jars for the coloring.

White Rice

2. Add approximately 10 drops of food coloring per 1 cup of rice.  So for a 2 cup batch I used about 20 drops of food coloring.  You can use more or less depending on how dark you want the color.

Red Dye and Rice

3. Add 1 tsp of white distilled vinegar per 1 cup of rice.


4. Now you know that by now, the kids are going to figure out that you’re in the kitchen working on something that looks super fun.  Here’s the part that  they can help with.  Put the lid on your jar and let the kids shake to their hearts’ desire.

Dye Rice Red

5. Spread rice over a paper towel on a baking sheet.  Smooth out into a thin layer and let dry for an hour or so.

Red Rice

Red Dyed Rice

6. If you’re making more than one color, use a new jar (for each color) and repeat the process.

Rice Blue Dye

Batch of Dyed Rice

7.  If you’re not using your rice right away, you can store it in an airtight container or bag.

Here is the sneak peek that I promised of one of my projects using this rice!

Red White Blue Rice


how to Dye Rice

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