A splash of colors, delectable sweets, and revelry in the air, the Hindu festival of Holi marks the end of winter and rings in the spring season in all its glory.

Holi is one of the prominent festivals celebrated in India and Nepal. It involves smearing each other’s faces with bright colors, letting go of all grudges and welcoming the New Year on a fresh note with your friends and family.

Since playing with colors is an essential part of the festivities, it is imperative that you use non-toxic and skin-friendly colors.

intro how to make DIY Holi colors
Enjoy the festival with non-toxic homemade colors

The vibrant hues available in the market are often laden with chemicals, such as mercury, lead, and sulfides. Not only do they leave nasty stains on your skin, but can also cause a rash, lead to puffy eyes, respiratory troubles and, in the worst cases, can cause blindness and skin cancer. On the other hand, the ‘natural colors’ you can find in the market come with a hefty price tag.

However, organic Holi colors are pretty simple to make. If you make them yourself, you can rest assured that your family will enjoy the festival without risking their health.

There are two simple ways to make your DIY organic Holi colors. You can either derive pigments from natural ingredients like flowers, spices, and vegetables and add them to cornstarch or use food coloring with cornstarch.

Choose the method that is most convenient for you, and enjoy a safe Holi with the splish-splash of DIY homemade organic Holi colors.

Method 1: Using Natural Ingredients

Traditionally the Holi colors were made using natural ingredients such as flowers, turmeric and dark-colored vegetables like beetroots. It is time to revive the tradition. Since these ingredients come from nature itself, they are safe to use on your skin.

Here we’ve described how to make a purplish-pink color using rose petals.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to make DIY Holi colors using natural ingredients

  • Fresh rose petals – 4 cups
  • Cornstarch – ¾ cup
  • Water – ⅓ cup

Step 1. Dry the rose petals

dry the rose petals to make DIY Holi colors
Spread rose petals on a plate to dry them completely
  • Spread 4 cups of fresh rose petals out on a plate.
  • Leave them on the countertop for a couple of days until they dry out completely. The petals will darken as they dry up.

Step 2. Grind the rose petals

grind the rose petals to make DIY rose petals
Grind the dried petals to a fine powder
  • Put the dried rose petals in your blender jar and secure the lid.
  • Pulse the petals for 30 to 60 seconds until they turn into a fine powder.
  • Pour the powdered petals into a bowl.

Step 3. Mix the powdered petals and cornstarch

mix powdered petals in cornstarch to make DIY Holi colors
Combine powdered petals with cornstarch
  • Add ¾ cup of cornstarch to the powdered petals. You can also use arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch.
  • Wear rubber gloves to avoid staining your fingers, and blend the two ingredients with your hand.
  • Slowly add ⅓ cup of water and mix everything well. The water will make the rose powder stick to the cornstarch.

Step 4. Allow the blend to dry completely

allow the powder to dry to make DIY Holi colors
Leave the powder on a plate to dry completely
  • Spread out the mixture on a plate.
  • Leave it overnight for the water to evaporate completely.

Step 5. Grind and strain the colored powder

grind the mix to a fine powder to make DIY Holi color
Pulse the dried mix and sift it to get a clump-free powder
  • Pour the dried mix into the blender and pulse it for 30 seconds to disintegrate the clumps.
  • Sift the powder into a container to get rid of any chunks. Your DIY homemade organic Holi color is ready to use.
final make DIY Holi colors using natural ingredients
Enjoy your Holi with natural homemade colors

Since Holi is all about vibrant colors, you want to make other colors as well. Use the information in the table below to make your chosen color.

ColorIngredients
RedHibiscus flower powder with cornstarch in a ratio of 1:1
YellowTurmeric powder with gram flour in a ratio of 1:2
GreenHenna powder with cornstarch in a ratio of 1:1
BrownHenna, Indian gooseberry powder, and turmeric in equal quantities
BlueIndigo powder with cornstarch in a ratio of 1:3
BlackMix the prepared red, blue, green and brown in equal amounts

Method 2: Using Food Coloring

If drying natural ingredients to make colors seems too much of a hassle, you can use food coloring to make your DIY Holi colors quickly. Food colors can smoothly be blended with cornstarch or any flour of your choice to create powdered colors. However, make sure that the food coloring is organic. Artificial food colors can lead to a host of other side-effects.

You can also use natural ingredients to make dyes for fabrics.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to make DIY Holi colors using food coloring

  • Organic food color of your choice – 2 teaspoons
  • Cornstarch – 1 cup
  • Water – 2 teaspoons
  • Gloves

Step 1. Dilute the food coloring with water

Dilute food coloring to make DIY Holi colors
Add water to food coloring
  • Pour 2 teaspoons of organic food coloring into a bowl.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of water.
  • Use a spoon to mix the two well.

Step 2. Blend the food coloring into the cornstarch

Mix food coloring with cornstarch to make DIY Holi colors
Blend the food coloring with cornstarch
  • Put 1 cup of cornstarch in a bowl.
  • Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from staining.
  • Slowly add the diluted food coloring to the cornstarch and keep mixing the two as you pour in the liquid.
Mix well to make DIY Holi colors
Mix well until you get a consistent color
  • Thoroughly mix the liquid and the cornstarch until you get a uniform color.

Step 3. Let the mixture dry completely

Dry the mix completely to make DIY Holi color
Spread the mix on a plate and allow it to dry completely
  • Line a large tray with parchment paper.
  • Spread the mixture out on the paper, and leave it overnight to dry completely. For faster drying, you can put the tray out in the sunlight.

Step 4. Grind the mix in the blender

Pulse the mix to make DIY Holi colors
Pulse the mix to a fine powder
  • Put the dried mixture in the blender and pulse it on high for 30 seconds to remove any clumps.
  • Spoon out the powder into a bowl.
  • Repeat the process with other coloring and enjoy the festival with a splash of DIY homemade organic Holi colors.
final make DIY Holi colors with food coloring
Celebrate your Holi with these easy-to-make dry colors

Tips

  • You can also add 2 or 3 drops of essential oils of your choice to give your DIY Holi colors a pleasant fragrance.
  • If you are preparing your Holi colors well in advance, store them in the refrigerator. Colors made with natural ingredients can spoil pretty quickly.
  • Red sandalwood powder can also be used to make a red Holi color.
  • Just like the dry DIY homemade organic Holi colors, you can also make liquid colors. Just boil the natural ingredients in water and strain out the liquid.
  • You can also make DIY rangoli colors using food coloring.