Kid’s Craft: Coloring Pasta

I don’t know how it is possible, but my children seem to catch the same cold week after week. Runny noses, watery eyes, projectile sneezing, shortness of breath… excessive whining (a symptom they don’t list in the medical books).

These symptoms last for at least a week… and then, hallelujah, it all seems to clear up. Unfortunately, we only get two or three mucus-free days before it all starts over again. What I wouldn’t give for one whole week with two healthy boys!

Today, Ike skipped preschool because, this go-round, the cold symptoms include a fever. Instead of listening to whining all day, I was prepared with an activity (how I got lucky enough to have all of the needed supplies, I will never know). We decided to dye pasta to make noodle necklaces for Valentine’s Day gifts.

I had never dyed pasta before, and only vaguely remembered the instructions. I suppose I could have looked it up, but that would have taken more energy than I had. We collected our pasta, baggies, isopropyl alcohol, food coloring, and paper towels.

Ike’s favorite color is blue, so we started with that. We also tried green, red, pink, purple, orange, and yellow.

coloring pasta - waiting while it sits

We put our pasta in quart-sized zip-top baggies, added enough alcohol to cover the pasta, then added food color. I zipped up the bags, and Ike squished and shook them to mix in the color.

Then, we set all of the baggies in a big glass bowl (just in case any spilled – and some did because the pasta poked a hole through it after a bit too much squishing and shaking).

We let them sit for over 30 minutes, then strained the water and laid the noodles out on paper towels to dry.

Some colors worked better than others (green was the best), and the smaller penne pasta held the color better than the larger noodles. I think that I let them soak for too long, because hours later, the pasta seemed to have small cracks in the surface, thus marring the overall appearance.

coloring pasta-drying

It is a fun and inexpensive craft project. To string the pasta, you just need yarn or twine. I find that the hemp twine you buy in the jewelry section of the craft store is great for smaller kids because it is stiffer and easier to thread. However, yarn works too – especially if you use the trick my friend, Beth, taught me of wrapping a bit of tape around one end to create your own aiglet (the plastic or metal end of a shoelace).

We had a great time stringing our pasta necklaces. Unfortunately, Ike’s list of friends, family, and teachers who need to get one keeps getting longer… I guess I better get more pasta, food coloring, alcohol, and paper towels!

As a woman who tends to excel in the more “practical” areas of life rather than the “creative” areas, I am quite proud of my foray into crafts. I plan to continue to try new things – and luckily, I have some very crafty friends to give me ideas and tips!


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