Rice Art Mosaics

Have you ever seen a mosaic at a museum? Artists take small pieces of broken tile and arrange them to make beautiful designs. With a little imagination, you can create your own mosaics using materials from your kitchen.

Part 1: Wash Your Rice

Gather

uncooked white rice
large bowl
spatula
fine strainer or sieve
baking sheet
paper towels

Go

1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F.
2. Pour 1 cup rice into large bowl with 1 quart of warm water.
3. Gently mix rice with a spatula for 1 minute. (It’s OK to use your fingers.)
4. Let the rice settle, then carefully pour off the cloudy water.
5. Wash the rice several more times, until the water looks almost clear.
6. Strain rice, getting out as much water as you can.
7. Line baking sheet with paper towels, then pour washed rice onto paper towels.
8. Gently spread out the individual grains to prevent clumping. Rice should cover the baking sheet in a single layer.
9. Bake until dry, stirring rice every 10 minutes.
10. Repeat process until you have washed all the rice you need for your mosaic.

Part 2: Dye Your Rice

Gather

disposable gloves
pint-sized jar with tight lid
rubbing alcohol
food coloring
washed rice (see Part 1)
fine strainer or sieve
old newspaper
zip-top plastic bags

Go

This next part gets messy, so change into old clothes and put on disposable gloves before you begin. You may even want to dye the rice outside.

1. Pour 1⁄4 cup rubbing alcohol into clean jar.
2. Add 5-10 drops of food coloring. Adding more drops will create a more intense color (except for red, which comes out pink). For additional shades, combine two types of food coloring. Red and yellow make orange; red and blue make purple.
3. Add 1⁄2 cup washed rice.
4. Close lid tightly and shake jar for 1 minute.
5. Let jar sit for 5 minutes. Longer dye times, like 30 minutes, will produce deeper colors.
6. Over the sink, drain rice through a strainer. Press the rice with a spatula to squeeze out excess water.
7. Spread dyed rice on old newspaper and allow it to dry. Stir occasionally to keep rice from clumping.
8. Once completely dry, store in plastic bags.
9. Repeat process, using a different color, until all of your rice has been dyed.

Part 3: Design Your Mosaic

Gather

colored pencils
foam board or thick paper
string
glue
cotton swabs or small paintbrush
dyed rice (see Part 2)

Go

1. Lightly draw a picture with colored pencils, using colors that match your rice. If it’s your first mosaic, start with a simple shape, such as a rainbow or flower.
2. Glue string to the back so you can hang your picture later.
3. Mentally divide your picture into “patches” of a single color.
4. Carefully dab several drops of glue onto one patch. Use a cotton swab or paintbrush to spread the glue evenly, reaching the edges.
5. Sprinkle dyed rice onto the glue, using the same color as the patch. Pat down with your fingers to help rice stick.
6. Let patch dry for 10-15 minutes on a flat surface. Gently shake off unused rice and pour it back into storage bag.
7. Repeat steps 4-6 with a second patch of color. Keep adding rice until you cover the entire page.
8. Let dry for several hours before displaying.
9. No matter how good it looks, do not eat your artwork!

Photos © Focus on the Family/Jenny Dillon.

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