Color Rice for Discovery Bottles

Why color rice? If you’ve started making discovery bottles, you’re probably looking for an inexpensive, colorful filler. The price of pom poms can really add up if you’re creating lots of bottles. Well, look no further! You can make vibrant, plentiful colored rice with this recipe in less than an hour.


4 cups of white rice

2 tablespoons of food coloring

3 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol


Put the four cups of rice into a zipper close bag. Add the food coloring. I used all of the little squirt bottle (McCormick neon colors), instead of making a mess filling up the tablespoon. Add the 3 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol.

 Next, you zip the bag closed, and work the liquid through the rice. If you happen to have white countertops, or floor, or any other kitchen surface that doesn’t need splashes of bright color, you might want to do this project outside.

After the colored liquid is worked all the way through the bag, pour it into a tray or pan or bowl to dry. Since it’s still in the high nineties here in San Antonio, even though it’s almost October, I think it will get dry in the bowls. If I was in a cooler place (as I am sometimes in my imagination) I would spread the rice out more in a flat pan.

If you plan to go out to dinner, or look normal at school the next day, you might want to wear some gloves while you do this project. I spilled just a few (many!) drops of food coloring during this project.  My students may think I’ve already started working on a Halloween costume!

But just look at these vibrant beauties, drying in the sun! This only took me about an hour (including stopping to wash my hands and pick up my camera to snap photos), and I think my students are gonna be intrigued by it. Now, are YOU ready to color rice for your discovery bottles?

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      1. I’m glad you tried it, Dee. Isn’t it amazing how the rice absorbs the color? But I’m curious about what kind of clear plastic you used to write your vocabulary words on. Was it something from the craft store?

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