Making Vibrant Dyed Rice

I’ve had dyed rice in my bank of sensory box ideas for a long while now, and since we had a giant bag of Kokuho Rose in our kitchen (the hubby’s favourite… yummy, but white rice) and our dyed pasta turned out pretty well a few days back, I figured we’d give it a go this afternoon. I knew I wanted the colours to be really vibrant, so I decided we’d use gel dyes and something a little more potent than vinegar (hence the jars this time instead of plastic bags).  While searching bloggyland, I found that several people suggested using hand sanitizer in place of vinegar or rubbing alcohol.  It couldn’t have been more perfect actually. While we didn’t have rubbing alcohol on hand, I did have some yummy-smelling hand sanitizer that’s just been sitting around as I’ve been working on getting my germaphob tendencies under control.
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With gel dyes and fruit-scented hand sanitizer involved, I decided I’d get our project started before enlisting the help of Miss G.  I collected some jars, put a couple of squeezes of sanitizer in each, and then added gel dye, toothpick and all.

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With the sanitizer and dye bottles safely tucked away, I filled a big bowl with rice and invited my little lady to help with the rest of the process.IMG 5253

She was quite thrilled with the giant bowl of rice, so I gave her a few minutes to play with it before getting started on her first job. When good and ready, Grae added about 1 cup of rice to each jar, which turned out to be the perfect amount.IMG 5255

First step complete. I’m just glad you can’t see how much rice is on the floor…  Next time I would probably have a wide-mouth funnel on hand just to make the pouring part a little easier / less messy.
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With everything inside the jars, I sealed the jars tightly and the shaking began!IMG 5265

Grae and I switched off, giving each of us little breaks and the chance to watch the rice slowly become coloured and more vibrant with time.IMG 5274

Not going to lie… It took quite a lot of shaking.  We probably could have stopped earlier, but I wanted the colours to be consistent, so we shook a little more.
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This was the end result.


Do you think Grae was happy with the results?

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Next, we headed out into the solarium, industrial-sized baking sheet in hand.  I poured the rice out, removed the toothpicks, and got rid of a couple of little rice/dye clumps while Gracen oohed, ahhed, pointed, and smelled her newest sensory bin filler.IMG 5300

Just look at those colours!  And the perk to using fancy shmancy sanitizer? Deliciously nectarine mint-scented rice (slightly reminiscent of high school nights plagued by cheap, 2 litre coolers, but shhh… Don’t tell Grae.) Now all we have to do is wait patiently enough to let our scented rainbow rice dry!

If youre worried that your little one may put the rice in his/her mouth, try using vinegar instead of hand sanitizer. It should have similar results and will be much safer.

17 thoughts on “Making Vibrant Dyed Rice

  1. I am so happy I found this post on Pinterest!! I just made some with my kids and it came out beautiful!!! I am making Hidden Letter, Number, or Words jars and this colorful rice is just the thing I needed to hide them in! Thank you! And my kitchen smells like “Fresh Picked Pears” :)

  2. Your blog is so inspiring…sorry i was wondering what the toothpick is for…and why is it in the jar…thank you…

    1. Wilton dyes are thick and sticky. You use the toothpick to get the gel out of the jar and its messy to try to get it off the spoon or the toothpick. So just drop it in there and put a few squirts of alcohol based hand sanitize in there. Make sure you don’t put any contaminates in your jell dyes.

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