Glow in the (Edible) Dyes workshop

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Glow in the (Edible) Dyes

Light travels faster than sound; which is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak. Edible dyes used to illuminate the fickleness of human minds. What does the process of life sound like, if we took the time to really look into what would we see? We look to fermentation for insight into living colour. With UV we explore the flavours of light and fluorescence, with a quick dive into fermentation and fluorescence.

As a hands-on activity we’ll look at ingredients common to most kitchens and examine their transformation under UV light. Participants can expect to have a hands-on session where they will create their own edible dyes at home, and watch them glow in the dark. We will be discussing how to use these DIY edible dyes in a range of artistic mediums and methods, looking at how quickly do these dyes grow, and other colours that can be created using common ingredients

Material List

Green Leaves, for example, Spinach (for Chlorophyll)


Tonic Water

Source of UV: eg Black Light, nail lamp, UV led

Gelling agents: gelatine, agar-agar

About Edible Makerspace

Edible Makerspace (EMS) is a Singapore-based multicultural group that explores the viability of thinking critically through food prototypes within the food – agricultural system in the Southeast Asian context. They target local and regional grassroots communities engaged in agricultural and food livelihoods, but also to curious individuals keen to explore alternative ideas via food as a medium. At the heart of the makerspace lies tinkering; making machines to explore the range of flavours, to studying the environment, and deconstruct food sources. It will has a strong emphasis on the DIY Biohacker approach to food futures.


Quinine Jelly (Blue Fluorescence)

1) Mix 300ml of tonic water and around 6g of agar-agar

2) Boil the mixture

3) Pour into moulds. The jelly should be ready once it cools at room temperature, around 20 mins

Honey Jelly (Yellow Fluorescence)

1) Mix 100ml of honey, 100ml of water and 2g of agar-agar

2) Boil the mixture

3) Pour into moulds. The jelly should be ready once it cools at room temperature, around 20 mins

Spinach Jelly (Red Fluorescence)

1) Blanch 2 spinach plants in boiling water until it becomes limp

2) Blend the spinach with 100-120ml oil of your choice for around 3 mins to extract chlorophyll into the oil

3) Filter the blended oil and set aside

4) Add 5g of gelatine (bloom gelatine sheets beforehand) in 50ml water and boil

5) Put the gelatine solution in a metal container, then add the spinach oil slowly while whisking the mixture.

6) Pour into moulds and leave in a refrigerator overnight.


Q: Can I paint with these dyes?

A: Because more light can be produced with more depth of the fluorescent material, it's more difficult to show the fluorescent colour if it is incorporated into media that tend to be applied in a thin layer e.g. water colour. Oil paints might be more suitable for this. For chlorophyll, you can blend the leaves in a drying oil. For quinine, you can purchase it in a solid powder form and mix into the oil. Take note that most oils already have a fluorescent yellow colour, so that might affect the overall colour composition of your work.


A video of the workshop is available on the 2600 YouTube channel: