I love to celebrate holidays with my family! Doing something special for a holiday, even if it’s a small thing, can make the day a little brighter and create family memories that will last a lifetime. I try to keep my holiday plans on the frugal side, as I don’t believe you need to spend a lot of money to make a day special.
With that in mind, for St. Patrick’s Day my kids and I created a fun rainbow centerpiece made out of colored rice. It’s super easy, super cheap, and uses materials you can probably find around your house. If you don’t have any of the materials, they cost around $20 at Walmart. And you’ll have plenty of supplies left over for other projects!
Let’s get started!
Materials Needed for a Colored Rice St. Patrick’s Day Centerpiece
Gather your supplies. You will need:
- 3 cups of rice
- Liquid food coloring (I bought a box of red, yellow, blue, and green.)
- Rubbing alcohol
- Paper towels
- Cookie Sheets or other large flat surface for drying the rice
- Quart sized mason jar (or you could even use a clear drinking glass)
- Cotton Balls
- Gold glitter pom poms
- Wooden skewer (the kind you use for barbecuing)
- Old Irish Blessing (PDF)
- Green ribbon
Dye the Rice
Dying rice is easy, but time consuming. You’ll want to begin this process a day before you assemble your St. Patrick’s Day centerpiece to give the rice a chance to dry.
You’ll need to gather a jar with a lid (I used a pint sized mason jar), rice, food coloring, and rubbing alcohol.
Into the jar place one tablespoon rubbing alcohol and about 15-20 drops of food coloring (less if you want more subtle colors). Swish the liquid around a couple of times to mix it. Then add 1/2 cup of rice. Screw the lid tightly on the jar and shake the rice until it is colored.
If the rice isn’t as bright as you’d like it, add a few more drops of food coloring and shake some more.
Pour the rice onto a paper towel lined cookie sheet and spread into a thin layer.
Rinse your jar and repeat the process with each of the colors. Mix blue and red food coloring to make purple and mix red and yellow to make orange.
After you’ve dyed all the rice, put the cookie sheets in a safe place, so the rice can dry overnight.
Assembling the Colored Rice St. Patrick’s Day Centerpiece
When the rice is dry, you’re ready to assemble your centerpiece. In a quart sized mason jar, layer the rice in the following order: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red.
Fill the remaining space in the jar with cotton balls, so it looks like a cloud. At the very top of the jar, place a few gold metallic pom poms to resemble gold.
Print the Old Irish Proverb (linked in the materials section) onto cardstock. There are two copies of the proverb on the PDF. Cut both out. Glue them together back to back with the top of the wooden skewer between them.
Carefully push the skewer through the cotton and rice.
Tie a ribbon around the jar.
Set your Colored Rice St. Patrick’s Day Centerpiece in the middle of a table or on a bookshelf. Then grab a big plate of corned beef and cabbage and celebrate the day!
When St. Patrick’s Day is over, you can make further use of the rice by pouring it into a plastic shoebox to make a fun sensory bin for your children.