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Wurmwood Photography

Tutorial - How to Make Your Own Color Run Powder (Holi Powder)

January 28, 2017

In this tutorial I teach you how to make your very own Holi powder, just like they use at color runs, for a FRACTION of the price. 

I made two colors, so this recipe is for both. However it would be totally fine to make more, or just one. 

First thing's first, you'll need to gather your supplies. For this powder, I used:
x3 - 16oz tubs of cornstarch (Around $1.30 each at Walmart)
x2 - aluminum pans (2 for $1 at Dollar Tree)
x2 - Wilton's gel food coloring ($1.75 each at Walmart)
5 cups - Water
x2 - Pairs of gloves
x2 - Plastic chopsticks *optional* (We used these to get the food coloring into the mixture)
 


We learned after making these that laying something down would have been a good idea. If you take a tall trash bag and cut it at the seam, you can tape it secure to the table and have a nice working space that's easier to clean. we did not do this, so the mess was huge. Luckily, corn starch is easy to clean up with water, and our table is sealed so the dye didn't hurt it. For certain kinds of tables however, I would absolutely recommend covering it because this dye is STRONG. 

1. The first thing we did was empty the corn starch evenly into the two pans. Putting about 22oz of corn starch in each. (If I had used bigger pans, I feel I absolutely could have doubled the amount of corn starch in each, and still be left with super bright colors.)

2. Second, we added the water. Now this can be somewhat tricky, because there is no exact science to this as the corn starch wasn't measured, nearly eyeballed. So we eyeballed the water as well. This is the part where you put on your gloves also!
I started with a cup and a half of water in each, which wasn't enough. Add a little at a time until the consistency is perfect. When it's perfect, it will be quite an anomaly. This mixture (often referred to as Oobleck or Gloop in classrooms everywhere) presents itself as both as solid and a liquid. It is called a "non-Newtonian" liquid since it's viscosity depends on the force applied to the liquid, or how fast an object is moving through the liquid.You'll notice that when you keep the mixture moving, it is solid. When it is still, it is liquid. Try poking the top of the surface quickly, and you'll notice that it'c completely hard and your finger bounces off. However, when you set you finger on the mixture, you finger will slowly sink into the liquid. Try balling it up, and then let it sit on your hand. Once you have this consistency, you are good to go. 

3. Next is the fun part, the dye! This step is the hardest, because this gloop is quite difficult to mix. I find that getting right in there with gloves hands is the easiest. Empty the entire contents of the jars of the Wilton's dye into the two pans, using one jar per pan. Once it's all in, mix mix mix! And remember, WORK SLOW. The quicker you try to blend, the more resistance you get back from the mixture. If you move your hands through the mixture slowly, it will remain more liquid and be easier to mix. 

This was our final mixture. We added a bit too much water to the yellow, but it didn't prove to be a problem at all. 

Beware, if your gloves rip like mine did, you will have dyed fingers!


4. Now it's time for the longest step; Waiting!
Find a warm, dry area where you can leave your mixture for a couple days. Make sure it is where no hairs will get into it, no cats, and spills aren't very possible. I am fortunate to have a locking studio in my home, where these mixtures sat untouched for two days. While they are drying (2-3 days), check on them once or twice a day and starting breaking up the mixture. It will be harder to break it all up later if you let the mixture dry as one solid brick. Here are two progression photos from the two days. At first the clumps would melt back in, until enough water was evaporated that the clumps were turning to powder when I crushed them, instead of melting back in. 

4. Once the mixture is completely dry, it's time to ground it to a fine powder! If you'd been doing this over the course of the few days waiting for it to dry, you may be able to finish the powder with your hands. However, if you find there are too many lumps, you can throw it into a food processor to make quick work of it. Then you just need to store it however you like. Make sure it's stored in such a way that it will be sealed from moisture, because moister will make it clump back up. This powder is fun because you throw it at others. It wouldn't be as fun to be throwing colored bricks at people. You can store it in ziplock baggies, mason jars, or what have you. 
Please note that the powders are VERY pigmented, and can stain light colored clothes. Below I've included a photo of how well the colors show up on dark fabric, to give you an idea of how very pigmented it is. 



And walah, there you have it!
Your very own Holi powder for use in photoshoots, color runs, and more! Typically Holi powder costs around $11 per small baggie, but with this recipe you can make it in bulk for less than $8

I will edit this post to include more photos after I have used these powders in a photoshoot. :)

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