How to color pasta the easy way for kids crafts and sensory play! No mess, no waste and no rubbing alcohol!
Here in my day care center I always have a large amount of colorful pasta ready for the children’s handicrafts and handicrafts.
It is ideal for threading necklaces, for sorting activities and especially wonderful as a base in our sensory containers.
Today I’m going to show you how to color pasta using the easiest method I know. (We also color our rainbow rice this way, so check that out too – it’s great for sensory containers and crafting).
No mess, no rubbing alcohol
It’s quick and fun, there’s no mess, and unlike other recipes, it doesn’t contain alcohol.
To color pasta you need:
- different types of dry pasta
- Food coloring (we use Wilton Icing Gels for their bright colors)
- White wine vinegar
- Small bowl
- Container with a lid
- Baking sheet
To keep the little hooligan busy while I set up the activity, I filled a compartmentalized container with the noodles we would use. Happily, she explored the pasta and scooped it up and poured it into a couple of different bowls while I got everything ready. This in itself is a great activity for the little ones.
We color our noodles just like our colored rice for the sensory game. Ours is a neat way to color rice or pasta. There are no wasteful ziplock bags and we don’t use alcohol to dilute and set the paint. We use vinegar.
So we do it.
Color your pasta:
Needed time: 15 minutes.
- Put pasta in containers with lids
Pour your pasta into a container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Add color
In a small bowl, mix a generous dollop of food coloring with a teaspoon of vinegar. This helps to evenly distribute the color across the pasta, especially if you are using gel paint, which is quite thick compared to liquid paint.
Put the lid on (make sure it’s tight!) And let your little ones shake it like crazy!
- Check ink coverage
Open the lid to check the cover. If your paint isn’t evenly distributed, sprinkle another teaspoon of vinegar on top. Don’t worry if your pasta looks wet or mushy. It will dry quickly. The smell of vinegar also evaporates when it dries.
- Dry your pasta
Pour onto a baking sheet and let dry in a warm, sunny place. Ours only took a couple of hours by the fireplace. Depending on the temperature of your house, you may need to let your pasta dry overnight.
Dry, colored pasta has an indefinite shelf life in a sealed container such as a plastic food container or large jar.
That’s all there is to it!
When ours was ready, the little one shoveled all the colored noodles into a storage container.
How do you store your colored pasta?
Your colored pasta has an indefinite shelf life as long as you store it in a dry place. I keep mine in a storage container with a lid or a large jar with a lid. Just make sure it is completely dry before packing it away for storage. We still have a little bit of pasta left over from a batch we made two years ago!
Ways to use colored pasta to play with:
Mind play on a mirror
Pasta necklaces for Mother’s Day
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Jackie is the mother, wife, daycare and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in children’s crafts and activities, simple recipes, and education. She started blogging in 2011 and today Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and young professionals around the world.