Today, I wanted to share with you how we dye pasta! For our Letter of the week, we are currently on P, and let me tell you, we’ve been hitting the pasta crafts hard since N is for noodle week! There’s just so many fun things you can do with pasta!
This is actually the same process we used to dye rice too! The only difference with rice, is I used my stand mixer to mix it up, making it even easier!
What you’ll need:
- rubbing alcohol (or vinegar, see below)
- food coloring
- large ziploc bag(s)
- cookie sheet(s)
- safe space to dry away from littles
Vinegar vs alcohol. I’ve done it both ways, and they both work. I’ve read lots of blog posts about the difference between the process, the vibrance of the colors, etc. and I’m going to save you some headache. If you’re doing this with or for toddlers, lets just assume that alcohol and vinegar are the same. While I think vinegar smells clean, I know some people are not fans, so if you’re sensitive to vinegar, then just use rubbing alcohol. Once the pasta is dry, the color doesn’t bleed, even when they get wet, and they don’t smell like either!
I use the Kroger Store brand food coloring. The gel doesn’t work. I have the regular and neon sets, and they work really well. You have your basic colors, and don’t forget you can mix colors for even more fun combinations!
Last time I dyed pasta, we went to town. I bought rigatoni so we could make adorable noodle necklaces for letter N week, but I decided to dye all the random dried pasta leftovers in my pantry! (which, turned out to be a lot, I actually ran out of color options!)
I used approx 1/4 cup of alcohol (or vinegar) per 2 cups of pasta. So, for this amount of pasta, we put about 1-2 tablespoons of alcohol in our ziploc bag. It wont look like much, trust me, that’s okay! If you use too much, your pasta will end up soggy, and then they stick together and take forever to dry. If you don’t use enough alcohol, your pasta will soak up the coloring in some areas, but not all. (This happened to us once, and K definitely didn’t care, or even notice, don’t waste your time making it perfect, your little is going to love it regardless!) Next, add 10-15 drops of food coloring (you can use more for brighter more vibrant pasta). Swirl up your liquid, then toss in your pasta and shake it up! From experience, I would suggest sticking to 1 type of pasta in the bags. We mixed macaroni noodles and rigatoni in our blue bag, and lots of the macaroni noodles ended up stuck inside the rigatoni, so we couldn’t use them for our noodley necklaces.
Now, this is where I stopped following the rules. Some articles out there say you need to let the pasta soak in the bag of colored liquid overnight, others say 2 hours for vibrant pasta. Well, I have next to no patience for all that, so, we shook up our bags, laid them on the table while we made the rest of the bags, and then immediately emptied them onto our cookie sheets for drying. I spread them out into a single layer on a cookie sheet and put them outside on my deck to dry for a few hours.
Dry time totally depends on how much alcohol you use. When we dyed linguine noodles, they stuck together really bad, and once they dried, it was basically impossible to get them apart. So, if you’re dying long spaghetti style noodles, I would definitely spread them out a little extra. Dry time totally depends on how much alcohol you use, but ours usually dry in a few hours. We recently made orange dyed pasta, for O week, K shook the bag for a couple minutes, and immediately dumped it out to dry. They took 2 hours to dry in the sunlight, and were vibrant and K was able to play with them later that day. and everyone was happy. (the end.)
Just kidding. here’s some fun ideas for things you can do with your dyed pasta:
- Noodle necklaces. Use a popsicle stick as the “needle” so little hands can thread the noodle beads easily.
- Noodle sensory bin, toss in anything fun, trucks, numbers, shovels, whatever you have and let their imagination run wild.
- Noodles and playdoh
- Crafts- curly noodles are great as hair on a lion or an octopus tentacles!
Have fun and let me know how it goes! Have a super day!