Hi Creative Mamas! In this post I want to show you how to dye paper using food coloring.
I use this method as a way to enhance naturally dyed or eco printed paper. It’s super easy and it’s very quick!
You can create amazing gift wrapping and gift cards by printing and dyeing paper using natural dyes, leaves and flowers and food coloring as well.
My daughter always likes to be involved in my natural dyeing practice and the use of food coloring was a way for her to start experimenting with naturally dyeing wool, fabric and paper in a child friendly way.
This tutorial is great to share with kids and it’s a lot of fun.
Just make sure that you wear gloves and that the surfaces are covered with plastic or paper to avoid the excess dye getting everywhere 🙂
Food coloring dyed paper tutorial
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Materials & Equipment
Preparing the liquid dye
The first step is to prepare the food color dyes. There is a huge variety of colors and for this tutorial I am using food color in powder form.
This allows me to be a little bit more creative with the technique.
Choose your colors and prepare different containers filled with warm water. For this tutorial I am using yellow, red and purple.
Dilute the powder in the water.
Mix well so that there are no lumps.
Once you have your food color dyes prepared you are ready to get started!
Food coloring on watercolor paper
The dye immersion method works wonderfully well with watercolor paper.
This is because the paper is thick enough to stay in the color dye long enough to dye properly without disintegrating.
Immerse your watercolor paper inside the dye liquid and leave inside for 5 minutes or so.
You can dye a portion of the paper or you can fully immerse it.
To do this you may need the help of a fork or a chopstick to make sure the paper is totally submerged.
These are the results of dyeing paper with food coloring using the immersion method.
This is the basic method of dyeing paper using food coloring but there are a lot of other creatives things you can do to enhance your paper crafts using food coloring.
Food coloring on Eco printed paper
I want to show you how I use these food coloring powders in combination with eco printed paper.
You can create amazing botanical prints on paper as long as you are using the appropriate flowers and leaves.
Download the FREE List of the best flowers and leaves to use in Eco Printing by completing the form below!
Adding some food coloring is a great way to further enhance your eco printed paper and to give it more layers of texture and depth.
They have already gone through 2 different processes so I am finishing them with this extra layer of color!
For this method you don’t need to dissolve the food coloring powder. Choose your colors and place them in a shallow dish.
Make sure your paper is wet. You can submerge them or spray them with water.
In the photo below you can see how I have layered my wet paper cards inside the shallow tray on top of each other.
Using the top end of a spoon, sprinkle food coloring all over the cards or on the desired area of your paper card.
In this case I have sprinkled yellow food coloring randomly. I like this effect.
Food coloring on tea dyed paper
For this example I am using a watercolor 300grams paper card which was previously tea dyed.
This is a great way to give the papers a vintage look or an aged look. You can also create an antique look on fabric by the way!
Wet the paper by spraying it with water and sprinkle the food coloring powder randomly.
You can place the cards on top of each other so that the color transfers from one paper to the other as shown in the photo below.
Tea dyed paper using food coloring and fabric
Another creative way to use food coloring is to place a piece of lace or other similar textured fabric on top of your tea dyed paper.
Place the paper on a flat surface and place the fabric on top. Spray the paper and fabric using your spray bottle.
Sprinkle the food coloring on top of the lace.
The fabric will act as a resist pattern and will stop the powder from reaching the areas where the fabric is touching the paper.
Leave for at least one hour and then remove the lace.
This is the kind of result that you can expect. You can play around with different paper stencils or textured fabrics.
I also like to use this method with paper gift tags as well as scrapbooking paper, brown paper and regular printing paper.
When you finish adding color to the cards, lay them flat on top of sheets of newspaper on your counter top or working table.
I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial! This is another a way of staining paper and dyeing paper.
One thing is for sure when you use the food coloring in powder form: The results are random.
But that’s the beauty of this method!