Once I learned how to dye chickpeas with liquid watercolors and food coloring, my sensory bins were out of this WORLD. This quick, easy method is my go-to for stunning sensory play.
Do you know to dye chickpeas?
For YEARS I was thoroughly confused about how people dyed chickpeas.
I envisioned someone opening a can of chickpeas, adding color, and then watching the wet, soggy chickpeas getting stinky, slimy, and moldy.
But then, one day, I saw dried chickpeas on the dried bean aisle, cracked up, and took a few bags home to try.
Related: Looking for a fun activity for the whole class or family? Our giant 10-foot coloring banners are everything and more!
There are many methods for how to dye chickpeas, and this one is VERY easy
I have dyed chickpeas with acrylic paints, BioColor paint, and liquid watercolors. I’d give all three of those methods 10/10.
They all work wonderfully, and it’s convenient for families and teachers to use what they have on hand. If you have acrylic paints, perfect! If you have BioColor paints, perfect!
I know many people have liquid watercolors and/or food coloring on hand, and they make STUNNING colored beans.
Let me show you how!
Looking for more ways to use liquid watercolors? You’re in luck:
- How to Dye Rice Without Vinegar or Rubbing Alcohol – Friends Art Lab
- Egg Carton Chimes – Art Bar
- Ice Chalk – Gift of Curiosity
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- Dried chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
- Liquid watercolors or food coloring
- Large zippered plastic bag OR small container with lid + spatula
- Shallow tray – ex: baking sheet
If you can, do this step WITH your kids! Making the beans is just as much fun as it is to play with them.
- Add chickpeas and coloring into a bag, then zip and shake. Start with about 2 cups of dried beans and ½ tablespoon of color, adding more color if needed. If using a small container with lid instead of a bag, add beans + color, shake, then mix with spatula as needed.
As you shake, you’ll see the tan-colored chickpeas become hot pink or lime green or whatever color you choose right before your eyes. It’s mesmerizing!
- Lay the chickpeas out to dry in a shallow layer on a shallow tray. Occasionally, you can go by and move them around to make sure air is circulating all around.
- Once dry, it’s time to play! Pour your colorful chickpeas into a container, add props, and voilà, you have a beautiful, homemade sensory table.
The #1 question I get asked: Will color transfer to kids’ hands?
As long as your kids’ hands are dry, you should have no issues with color transfer to hands.
PLUS, you don’t want the beans getting wet anyway because it will dramatically decrease their longevity.
With that said, their hands could get stained while dyeing the beans when the paint is wet, and if that happens, it’s okay! Liquid watercolors stain for a much shorter time than food coloring, but neither is permanent on skin.
How do you store dyed chickpeas?
We store ours in zippered bags or airtight containers.
In fact, we have large, bulk-sized twist-top storage containers, and we store 25-50 pounds of dried corn, dried bean medleys, salt, baking soda, dyed rice, plain rice, lentils, oat groats, and more 24/7.
As long as your materials are stored correctly, you can use them year after year!
Sure! But, they won’t be able to be stored for long-term use.
Any age that won’t try to eat or consume the materials (though technically, if you use food coloring, this could be taste-safe with appropriate adult supervision).
Absolutely! Check out our chickpeas dyed with acrylic paints.
Now you know how to dye chickpeas and the fun can begin!
I share many sensory bin ideas online, and chickpeas are a consistent favorite of adults and kids.
They sound really cool, feel really cool, and are super simple to make.