We made these lovely green pasta necklaces for St. Patrick’s Day, but you can use the same method for any occasion!
In my opinion, this is best done as a two-day process. Dye the pasta, let it dry overnight, then create the next day. You can also dry out the pasta in the oven. Either way, prepare yourself and the kids that this isn’t an immediate activity.
I’ve often done the pasta colouring on my own and just let the kids make the necklaces, when I knew waiting would be too hard. Another approach is to have some pasta prepped and ready to go, but still do the dyeing step with the kids so they understand the process. Then you can bring out the pre-dyed pasta to create your necklaces while the new batch dries. Then you’ve got that pasta on hand for the next time!
NOTE: These instructions double as a how-to for dyed rice, too! You can use the same process and make lots of fun coloured rice to use in sensory bins, shakers, sand tables, etc.
HOW TO DYE PASTA FOR CRAFTS
- Food colouring
- White vinegar
- Bag or container that you can seal tight (and don’t mind if it gets coloured), plus one to store unused dyed pasta
- pasta (penne is a great choice, though any tube shape will do; I tend to grab a bag or two when it’s on sale and stash it aside for crafts)
- Cookie sheet/cutting board (flat surface needed to dry out coloured pasta; make sure it’s oven-safe if you’re doing the one-day method)
- yarn (or string or pipecleaners – whatever you want to use to make thread through the pasta)
Place a drop or two of food colouring and a teaspoon of white vinegar into a sealed bag or container. Give it a little mix.
Add your dry pasta and seal it up.
Toss it around until the pasta is covered. It’s okay if it gets a little soggy, but don’t get it super wet.
Spread the pasta out to dry. I usually do this on cookie sheets and leave it overnight. A half-hour in the oven on very low heat also works.
Now the fun part! Thread your dried, dyed pasta onto yarn to create fun jewelry. You can always add some beads or paint some of the pieces with glitter for extra bling!
This is a great activity for encouraging fine motor skills, as well as a chance to talk about science. For older kids, try experimenting with different amounts of food colouring, try using water instead of vinegar to see which helps the colour set better, keep a little lab report as to whether drying overnight or in the oven offered better results, and so on.
We love using this recipe to create pasta in all the colours of the rainbow, too; awesome for anytime of year, really, but there is something special about rainbows and St. Patrick’s Day, isn’t there?
Don’t forget to PIN this for future reference, and to share it with your friends! You might also want to check out some of our other St. Patrick’s Day traditions and crafts here.
Some other St. Patrick’s Day activities you might enjoy …