To be completely honest, this is the first time I have tried doing this. When I taught preschool, I was always borrowing everyone else's dyed rice wishing I had what it takes to do it myself. I read about how to do it a million times but it was one of those things I just never actually got around to doing. There are a couple of different ways you can dye rice but I will share my experience with this quick and easy method.
For starters, I bought these Gel Food Colors at Target:
I'm still not totally sure what the difference between these and regular food coloring is but this is what they had so this is what I bought.
I started with one of these as my only ingredient. If you read about our valentine sensory play with rice here, you saw that I was not working with a ton of rice. I dyed about a half a cup at a time in a Ziploc bag.
Not knowing how far a drop of this magical stuff would go, I started with just two drops of the food coloring and mixed it all up in the bag. Two drops looked like this:
Clearly, not quite enough. I added 2-3 more drops until I had most of the rice covered. Some piece of rice came out darker than others and I didn't mind that but I'm sure more drops of the food coloring would have made it all a bit darker.
I ended up with a nice bright pink. I did the same steps, this time with the purple food coloring.
I had a little bit of rice left over at this point, so I dumped it into another baggie and decided to experiment with the colors. I did two drops of the pink, and two drops of the purple.
Here's how it looked when it was all dried and combined:
As I mentioned before, this was my first time doing this. I wanted to do it the quickest, and easiest way possible. I think it turned out great and I love the bright colors that I got with the food coloring, however, I realized when running my hands through it the next day, if your hands are not completely dry when touching this rice, the food coloring comes off a bit on your skin- even after a whole day of drying. Major bummer. This is fine I suppose, if you can be sure that your kiddos' hands will be dry... but for some reason, I feel like little ones' palms/fingers are always just the slightest bit sweaty/clammy. The coloring does come off with soap and water and lots of scrubbing, but! All of this being said, I found some vinegar in our cabinet which I know is another very popular ingredient when it comes to dying rice. I poured all of the rice back into a bag and added some vinegar to it in hopes this would coat the coloring a little better. It definitely helped. Next time, I will just do this from the start. ;)
If you have done this before, comment below with your favorite method for dying rice!