Colored Rice/Pasta

1 Tablespoon of Rubbing Alcohol or Vinegar
Food Coloring or liquid watercolors 
2 cups of Dry Rice or Pasta
*Gel food coloring and liquid watercolors will produce vibrant colors.


Add rubbing alcohol/vinegar and color to a quart size bag and mix.  Add 2 cups of rice and mix again.
After they are completely mixed, spread the rice out on a piece of wax paper to dry.    Make sure the rice/pasta is completely dry before you store it or it will get moldy.  It will smell a bit of alcohol or vinegar but it will get better over time.
You can also color the rice or pasta with Kool-aid.  Dissolve the Kool-Aid packet in a small amount of hot water and mix.  
To color cooked pasta… Just cook the pasta as you normally would (we like to cook al dente), place in a ziploc bag and add food coloring/liquid watercolors with a tiny bit of oil to prevent sticking.  

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28 Responses to Colored Rice/Pasta

  1. Jen B says:

    I would love to say thanks as well. I made a bin with 10lbs of colored rice on Friday and my kids absolutely LOVED it. It is the first activity that has kept my son’s attention for any amount of time. We poured, dug, buried, scooped — you name it. :)

  2. @Jennie… yes, can be done with liquid watercolor. You don’t need to add alcohol if you use that. However, it probably would be more expensive for you as that stuff is not cheap and you would need to use more!

  3. Haley Studio says:

    Isopropyl alcohol is the same as rubbing alcohol: it is used as a disinfectant (say, for a scraped knee, or before getting a shot) and can be found at most drug stores.

  4. GondolaQueen says:

    My kids LOVE this. I used pasta rather than rice- the wee teensy pastas, not the big chunky ones. Maybe next time I’ll use some of the larger pasta shapes. Thanks for sharing.

  5. happynik says:

    It’s so fun with different pasta shapes. My son was stoked when I found Thomas the Train pasta. We make all sorts of colors. Then glue it on paper, foam or felt and make pictures when we are done.

  6. KL says:

    Ok so I coloured rice yesterday using kool aid (well, a no name brand). Let it dry for 24 hours and it’s one big sticky mess. What did I do wrong? I used just enough hot water to dissolve the drink crystals, poured it in the baggie, laid it out on wax paper on a cookie sheet to dry and it’s super sticky. So frustrated. Can anyone help?

    • Lana says:

      The hot water probably released some of the starch from the rice. You need it hot to dissolve the drink mix, but if you try to repeat, you’ll want to let it cool down before mixing. Also, be sure the drink mix you use doesn’t come sweetened (directions should tell you to add sugar), as sugar could make it sticky as well.

  7. Sherri says:

    What did you use to get those vibrant colors in the pictures above? Liquid watercolors or gel food coloring. If food coloring, did you use neon or regular? I LOVE your BRIGHT colors.

  8. Pingback: Colored Rice Sensory Tray | Butterbees and Bumbleflies

  9. Gina Mccloud says:

    Thank you so much for this post. My almost 3 year old daughter has sensory issues and loves to feel everything. I can’t wait to try this :) I too love your bright colors…what did you use in the rice? It looks like my neon food color that I use to make her bath soap pain. Also what did you use in the cooked pasta? I can’t get my daughter to try anything new…but she may love this bright colored pasta! Thank you you again :)

  10. Sherri says:

    In the pictures you posted above, did you use gel food coloring and if so, was it the neon or regular? Your pasta is SO bright!

  11. Linda says:

    My daughter is getting married in August and would like to throw something colorful when leaving the church. If it’s raining or if the guests are holding the colored rice in their hands while waiting for the bride and groom, will the colors run. I certainly wouldn’t want their hands to be colored or my daughter’s dress to be stained.

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