Recently you may have seen Trey and I playing around with colored powder for a fun photoshoot. I had saved the powder from a Color Run race I ran this past year because I thought it could lead to some fun photos one day. After those pictures, I started wondering if it was possible to make your own colorful powder at home. Good news—it is. And it’s completely nontoxic and cheap!
I researched a bunch of different methods for making your own powder, and the resource I found most helpful was this video, although I have my own tweaks and tips that I learned as I experimented with a few batches.
-1 cup corn starch
-1/3 – 1/2 cup water
-1 container icing color (1 ounce). I used Wilton icing colors, but any food dye can work well.
-blender or food processor
Step One: In the mixing bowl, stir together the corn starch and water. You want a consistency that feels like a thick paste but will ooze off your mixing spoon given enough time. Now is a good time to put those gloves on. Next, mix in the food dye. I used the entire 1 ounce bottle to get the vibrant colors you see (red and blue).
Step Two: Allow the mixture to dry out. I placed my mixing bowls high up on a shelf in our kitchen and left them there for two days. You’ll know the mixture has dried out when you see cracks in the surface.
Step Three: Place the cracking powder on a baking sheet. I heated up my oven to 350°F. Once it had completely preheated, I turned it off, placed the baking sheet with the powder inside, and left the oven door open just a crack. This dried the powder out even more, as it allowed moisture to escape out the (barely) open oven door. I allowed the powder to dry out in this way for 30 minutes. If you have pressed the powder into a thin, even layer before baking, you’ll begin to see cracks in the surface again, indicating that it has dried out.
Step Four: Pulse the dried-out powder in the blender or food processor until all the clumps are gone and you have a super fine and lightweight powder. Store in a ziplock bag until you are ready to use it.
You’re probably wondering how well this powder comes out of clothes. To be honest, it really depends how much food dye you use and how you wash your clothes after. Cold water helps. Not allowing stained clothing to sit too long is also a good rule of thumb. If you do decide to use colored powder with clothing that you really love, I would recommend dry cleaning it instead of washing at home. I’ve been able to get all the color out of clothing before, but the most difficult thing is probably shoes. My best advice is to quickly blot shoes with a cool, damp rag to try and remove as much colored powder as quickly as you can. Also, don’t wear your fanciest shoes. 🙂
Although this powder is safe to handle, inhale, and use outdoors (around trees and grass), it does make a mess. Of course! So be considerate when choosing an area to use colored powder in. And if you have to get in a car afterward, bring a towel to sit on!
Credits// Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Emma Chapman and Jeremy Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.