Preview: How to dye pasta with food coloring and vinegar or alcohol for kid’s crafts and sensory play!
Learn how to dye pasta for play or crafts! It’s super easy! Using uncooked pasta, food coloring, and vinegar or rubbing alcohol, you can make a rainbow of bright, fun colors to use in sensory bins, kid’s crafts, necklaces, and art projects!
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What can you do with colored pasta?
Disclaimer- Uncooked pasta can present a choking hazard and should only be used with adult supervision!
We used these to make toddler Valentine’s necklaces! It’s a super easy craft and sensory play idea that allows toddlers or preschoolers to make a Valentine’s Day gift all by themselves!
By using different types of pasta, the possibilities are endless!
- Uncooked colored pasta with a hole in it (such as ziti, penne, and rigatoni) is great for making friendship necklaces, bracelets, and lanyards!
- Small pasta (such as acini de pepe or orzo) is great for sensory bins! You can color the pasta and hide plastic animals, letters, numbers, or other items for children to sort through and find!
- Textured pasta (such as rotelle, shells, farfalle, and fusilli) is fun to use in art projects! They can be glued to construction paper or poster board for science fair projects or holiday crafts!
How to dye pasta
A few quick notes:
The process is pretty easy, but it can be messy! Be sure to use gloves if you don’t want to get dye on your hands and cover your work surface to prevent stains from splashes or spills.
Remember that you can mix colors to create more than just the red/green/yellow/blue that comes in the pack! Use your imagination to make vibrant and unique color combinations.
The pasta dyeing process is best left to adults. It can be messy and uses ingredients you probably don’t want your little ones accidentally spilling or ingesting.
I have tried coloring with plant-based dyes and the colors don’t stick well. I only use plant-based dyes in food but for these types of crafts (when the kids won’t be ingesting anything) the food coloring seems to work better.
I used red, yellow, and purple because we were making Valentine’s necklaces but you can use any colors!
- Shallow cardboard box lined with newspaper/paper towels (for drying)
- 2 cups uncooked pasta PER COLOR (pasta should have a hole if you plan to thread with yarn/string!)
- 10+ drops food coloring (per color)
- 3 Tablespoons vinegar or rubbing alcohol (per color)
- Large (gallon size) plastic bags (one for every color)
- Add about 2 cups of uncooked pasta into a large ziploc bag
- Add 10+ drops of food coloring. The more you add, the deeper the color will turn out.
- Add 3 Tablespoons of vinegar or alcohol. You may need to add 1 more tablespoon if the color isn't spreading well.
- Close the bag and shake it around to allow all of the pasta to become covered in the colored mixture.
- Allow the bag to set (closed) for about 10-15 minutes to let the color to soak in. Flip/shake once during setting
- Repeat the process with as many colors as you want to make pasta in
- Take your prepared box (a shallow cardboard box lined with newspaper works great) and spread the pasta out across the bottom.
- Add the next color (you can add a cardboard divider if you are worried about the colors bleeding together.)
- Allow the pasta to dry. I let mine sit overnight but alcohol dries faster so it may be ready in a few hours. Always make sure pasta is completely dry to avoid staining hands, clothes, and furniture!
Uncooked pasta can be a choking hazard. Always use under parental supervision!
Food coloring will stain hands. clothing. and furniture. Use gloves and table coverings when necessary to avoid staining.
What will you make once you learn how to dye pasta?!