Coloring Rice with Paint

This is one of the easiest, fastest ways to color rice and one of my favorites.

HOWEVER – it’s not mouth-proof, so if you have a kiddo that likes to put stuff in their mouth, I recommend the food coloring + vinegar method.  Then at least it’s all food-based ingredients.

img_0407To use the paint method, all you need is white rice, paint, a plastic bag, wax paper and a cookie tray.

Today I grabbed some washable paint because that’s what I had on hand.  I also knew that the final product wasn’t going to be handled much (I was going to use the rice for a craft project and sensory bottle), so I wasn’t worried about the washable aspect.  In the past, I’ve used nontoxic acrylic paint for larger batches that will go in a sensory table, just so it lasts longer and doesn’t come off on little hands that might be wet from hand-washing or something.  I have been able to find both this washable paint and acrylic paint at the local dollar store, which helps keep costs down.  Plus the acrylic paint rice can be reused over and over.  Once I dye rice, I’ll put it in a large ziplock bag and store in the closet so I can just grab it when I need to throw an activity together.

So here are the instructions (and they are ridiculously easy): put a bag of rice and paint in a bag and shake.  Pro-tip: don’t use the kind of slide closure bag in the picture – it opened on me and I had to switch to a regular ziplock.


Shake the bag until everything is evenly coated and the color you want.  Add more paint if needed.  Then put wax paper on a tray and dump the rice out to dry.


The rice doesn’t usually take too long to dry, but I typically leave it overnight.  You can stir it around to help everything dry (it moves the stuff on the bottom), but you don’t have to. This particular batch I didn’t need the rice fully covered in green because I was using it for our cactus crafts and I like my cactus to be lighter green.

When it’s dry, it’s ready!  Bag it up, dump it in the sensory table, or use it in a craft – it’s good to go.  Some of the rice kernels sometimes stick together but I kinda like breaking those clumps apart (and I know the kids do too!).

Happy playing! xx

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