This past Mother’s Day, I decided that I wanted my preschool co-op class to work on a project for their Moms. Many of the kids have never been to traditional school, so their Moms had never been the recipients of handmade projects.
I really kept wavering about what I should make with them, but then I thought of the fun, inexpensive, and educational (great fine motor practice, as well as math for patterns) craft of pasta necklaces.
Here’s what you need to dye your own pasta for a variety of crafts (you can also dye rice with this same method for crafts or sensory tables):
1. Pasta — there are lots of great shapes that can be used. Just keep in mind what you’re doing, and that will help guide you.
Because I was doing necklaces with young kids, I went with only rigatoni noodles.
(After a comment on this post, I wanted to point out two quick things. It was suggested in the comments that this could be an even more frugal project if store brand pasta is used. That is definitely true, so keep that in mind! However, also be sure to check out the brand name boxes too. When I bought these, they were actually on sale and were cheaper than the store brand.)
2. Rubbing Alcohol — You’ll need around 1/4 cup of this for every cup or two of pasta, so make sure you have enough rubbing alcohol at home.
3. Large Ziploc bags — make sure you have a brand that seals well. I actually double up my bags to even further reduce the risk of leakage.
4. Liquid Food Coloring — Make sure you have a few different colors, if you are dyeing a variety of colors of pasta. (And, remember, you can mix colors to create new ones.)
Get your zip bag and add 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol and around 10 drops of food coloring (can do more, if you want) and swish it around. Then, add 1 – 2 cups of pasta into the bag.
Truth be told, I think I added about 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol to these bags (plus double the amount of food coloring) and then just filled the bag with pasta.
Really move the pasta around in the bags, then lay them out flat (still in the bags). I put the bags on a foil lined cookie sheet, just in case there were spills.
Allow the pasta to sit in the ziploc bags. I flipped them over every 30 minutes for a couple of hours. I probably could have let them sit for longer and flipped them over less, but I loved looking at the colors as they got deeper and more vibrant.
The longer you let them sit in the bags, the deeper and more vibrant they will become.
When you have your desired color, drain the colored alcohol out of the bag, and then set the pasta out to dry.
I put newspaper on my aluminum foil lined cookie sheets, and then put the pasta down on them in sections. (You know, a green section, an orange section, etc.)
I let them dry like that overnight, and then packed them up to take to co-op in baggies the next day.
The kids loved making necklaces for their Moms, and every Mom had to ask me how to dye their own pasta. (Quick Tip: When making necklaces with young kids, it is easiest for them if one side of the yarn is taped down to the table.)
Each child also decorated a paper bag for their Moms to use as “gift wrap.”
Having never received these kinds of handmade kid gifts, I actually even had several Moms who told me that they wore their beautiful and bright necklaces to Mass on Mother’s Day!
This is a fun, easy, and frugal craft for Moms (with the dyeing) and kids!
Want to try some more fun crafts?
Join 10,000+ Other Awesome People
Subscribe to the Real Life at Home weekly newsletter to get our latest content, exclusive free printables, learning activities, and ideas for celebrating with your family all year