Once you learn how to dye pasta, the options for sensory and crafts are limitless! Dyeing pasta is probably simpler than you think, AND it lasts for years.
I learned how to dye pasta from my mom 30 years ago
That woman was ahead of her time and dyed pasta with me long before Pinterest, Instagram, and the like.
I fondly remember making and playing with the pastas we created together.
From gluing the colorful pastas to photo frames with glittery hot glue to sticking my hands in it and enjoying the texture, it’s been a love affair for nearly my whole life.
Related: Our giant 10-foot coloring page banners are a dreamy activity to do with your family or class, too!
I’m thrilled you’re here to learn how to dye pasta!
And guess what?
IT. IS. SO. EASY! AND, you can use any shape you want. Alphabet, macaroni, bowtie, stars, ruote (the wheel kind)…ANY kind.
*the crowd goes wild*
You need simple supplies, very little waiting time for it to dry, and once it’s made, you can use it for many, many years to come.
Looking for more ways to use pasta with kids? I love these:
- Spaghetti Cutting Bin – Scissor Skills Activity – Busy Toddler
- Spaghetti Sensory Play – Teach Preschool
- Straws, Pasta, and Playdough Activity – Raising Dragons
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- Dried pasta – ANY kind, shape, or size (this is the very best part!)
- Liquid watercolors or food coloring
- Large zippered plastic bag
- Shallow tray – ex: baking sheet
No matter how often I dye pasta (and it’s a LOT), I never stop loving this process!
- Add pasta + coloring into a bag, then zip and shake until the pasta is completely colored (takes about 30 seconds). Begin with about (no need to get measuring cups or spoons) two cups of pasta and one tablespoon of coloring. Add more coloring if needed.
- Once colored, lay it out on a shallow tray and let the pasta dry completely. During the Summer, we lay the trays outside in the sun, and they dry almost instantly. However, if drying inside, it still doesn’t take long until it’s dry enough to play with.
- Time to play! Once it’s dry, add open-ended toys and props and invite your kids to have the time of their lives.
How to store and save dyed pasta
You can store your dyed pasta in zippered bags or airtight containers, whichever you have on hand.
BUT, you must ensure the pasta is bone-dry before it’s enclosed. If you zip up or put dyed pasta in a container with a lid before it’s completely dry, you’re in for a stinky, yucky mess.
Here’s what we do: We leave our freshly-dyed pasta in an open, unzipped bag or a container without the lid on for several days before we close it up. Then, after several days, we close it. Allowing it to have a few days to breathe and dry ensures it will last for YEARS to come!
Can you dye pasta without cooking it?
Yes, that’s this method!
This method uses dry, uncooked pasta for sensory play and crafts.
If you want to dye cooked pasta, that’s a different (and equally fun!) technique. I’ll share that soon!
What do you do with dyed pasta?
We use ours primarily for sensory play and art.
We like using it as a sensory bin base with fun, open-ended props thrown in, such as:
- Mini figurines
- Small toys
Colored pasta makes for a fun addition to collage and art projects! If gluing dyed pasta to something (ex: cardboard, picture frame, etc.), use strong glue.
Do you use dyed pasta another way? I’d love to know how!
Any age that won’t try to eat or ingest the materials.
Yes you can! Make sure to break up the pasta every few minutes so that it doesn’t dry in a clump (this doesn’t happen with liquid watercolors or food dye).
You sure don’t.
Your kids will love learning and seeing how to dye pasta
And who knows, it might be something your kids make throughout their lives, too!
Dyed pasta is quick, easy, colorful, fun, open-ended, and always such a blast to make and use.