Featured Editorial

Natural Color Dye for Hands-On STEM/STEAM Learning Experiment Activities

Adding pops of color to the world around us has such a tremendously positive effect on our everyday experiences. As a nature lover myself, the lively palette of the scenery, greenery, and wildlife found in our environment fills me with peace and appreciation. Creating eco-friendly colorful dyes to use in science and art projects allows little learners 
an earth-friendly way to celebrate nature. Natural colored dyes from foods are an interesting, educational way to experiment with the science of developing colors from fruits, vegetables, and spices. Hearty earth color tones of natural foods display fun arrays of all of the different colors created with common ingredients, including red cabbage, turmeric, onion skins, and even splashes of coffee. Natural food dyes are a safe way to color paper, fabric, and even eggs using fruits, vegetables, and spices. Here's what you'll need to know when getting creative with natural color dye for hands-on STEM/STEAM learning experiment activities.

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Natural Color Dye for Hands-On STEM/STEAM Learning Experiment Activities

Experimenting with natural color dyes from foods can reveal  unexpected results, so take note and enjoy the process. It may be helpful to wear gloves while handling dyes to prevent staining hands. 

Try these ideas for natural color dye from foods-

Yellow - Turmeric, Onion Skins, Carrots, Paprika
Red/Pink - Red Cabbage, Raspberries, Cranberries, Red Onion Skin
Blue/PurpleBlueberries, Blackberries, Beets
Green - Spinach, Kale
Brown - Coffee, Tea

You may also need-
White Distilled Vinegar (per cup of strained dye)
1 Saucepan per color
1 Bowl per color

Carefully dice or grate your selection of vegetables, fruits, or spices.  

In a saucepan, allow to simmer in water for 15-30 minutes to achieve preferred color intensity. 

Pour colored dye liquid through a strainer into a bowl. (Red cabbage with 1 teaspoon of baking soda in water will turn blue!) Adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar per cup of dye will help to brighten the shades of colors.

 Let the dye cool slightly. Remember that the longer amount of time soaking in dye, the more vibrant the colors will become. 

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