Finding mess-free art activities is a great way to entertain your kids. And while painting is a great way for your kids to express themselves with art, it’s not exactly a mess-free activity. But with the help of coffee filters and water, your kids can paint without making a mess! They’ll have a blast creating their own rainbows with this simple tie dye rainbow craft.

Creating a tie-dye effect on a coffee filter is a fun and simple craft idea that’s perfect for a spring day. Whether you’re trying to find an activity to do on a rainy day or need a fun way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, you and your kids will love this quick and easy craft idea.

Coffee Filter Tie Dye Rainbow

Tie Dye Rainbow Supplies

Making this cool kid’s craft is so simple. In fact, you probably have everything you need to make this project at home right now! To make your own rainbow craft, you’ll need:

  • Round coffee filters: To create the look of a rainbow, round coffee filters are the best option for this craft.
  • Washable markers: You’ll need to use water-based markers too create the paint effect on your coffee filters, so make sure your markers are washable as opposed to permanent markers.
  • Water: Instead of painting the coffee filters, you’ll need water to blend the markers, resulting in a tie-dye effect on your coffee filters.
  • Paper plate: Once your coffee filter rainbow is finished, turn it into a fun art project with the help of a paper plate.
  • Blue paint: Turn your paper plate into a blue sky with the help of blue paint.
  • Cotton balls: Use cotton balls to create clouds at the ends of your rainbow to finish this cute kid’s craft.
Rainbow crafts | Coffee Filter Tie Dye Rainbow

How to Make a Tie Dye Rainbow

Once you have all your supplies collected, your kids can start creating! The first step is to prepare your coffee filter. Fold the filter in half, then in half once more. Make sure the filter is completely flat before you start drawing.

Next, use the markers to color a rainbow in the filter, coloring the stripes in this order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Each stripe should be slightly filled in, but there’s no need to fully color each stripe.

After the rainbow has been drawn, fill a small bowl with water. Use a paint brush to paint the water onto the rainbow. Start at the tip of the rainbow and paint the water up toward the edge, allowing you to blend each of the colors together as you paint.

The water will create a tie dye effect on your coffee filter as it dries, so it’s important to give your coffee filter time to dry completely before moving on to the next step. Once the coffee filter is dry, unfold it halfway to form a semi-circle.

While the water is drying on the coffee filter, start preparing the sky for your rainbow. Cut a paper plate in half and use blue paint to color the plate.

When the paint and coffee filter are both dry, use a glue stick to glue the coffee filter to the plate. Then, place three or four cotton balls on each end of the rainbow to finish creating your craft.


Tie dye rainbow coffee filter craft

Coffee Filter Rainbow Variations

Making this craft is simple enough for kids of any age. And that means you can easily change it up to suit your needs and the supplies you have on hand. These variations are simple ways to create a cute rainbow craft with your kids.

Make multiple rainbows at once. If your kids want to make more than one coffee filter rainbow, there’s one simple change you can make. Start by stacking your coffee filters together and flattening them. Then, fold all the coffee filters in half. After that, draw the rainbow on the coffee filter and paint as you normally would. The colors from the markers will bleed down through all the coffee filters, allowing you to make several coffee filter rainbows all at once.
Coffee Filter Tie Dye Rainbow

Skip the sky. While creating a sky for your rainbow is a fun part of this cute craft, the best part about this project is creating a tie dye rainbow with the coffee filters. Instead of gluing the coffee filter to a paper plate, leave it as-is. You can even hang your coffee filters on a window to see the light shine through the colors on your rainbow.
Use construction paper. Instead of gluing your rainbow to a paper plate, try using construction paper instead. This will help you avoid the need to use messy paint and make the craft a little easier for young kids. You can glue the coffee filter rainbow to a piece of blue construction paper to create the sky, then cut cloud shapes out of white construction paper to make your clouds.
Enjoy this coffee filter tie dye rainbow craft? Check out these other fun and affordable kid friendly crafts.

Tie Dye activity for kids

Tie Dye Rainbow


Coffee filter

Washable markers


Paint brush

Paper plate

Blue paint

Cotton balls


1. Fold the coffee filter in half, then in half again. Use the markers to color a rainbow on the coffee filter.
2. Fill a small bowl with water and use the paint brush to paint the water on the coffee filter.
3. Allow the coffee filter to dry completely, then unfold the coffee filter once, so that it’s only folded in half.
4. While the coffee filter is drying, cut the paper plate in half, then paint one half blue. Allow to dry completely.
5. Glue the coffee filter to the top of the paper plate.
6. Glue cotton balls on the bottom of the coffee filter to look like clouds.
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