Making dyed pasta is nothing new. After making it a few times, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks to show you how to make the best dyed pasta. This is so easy, even a baby can do it =)
Since my usual sidekick is out with her Grandparents today, I involved the ‘help’ of the little boy. This is a great activity to do with him as it involved a lot of sensory experiences and it’s totally non-messy.
Before I went out and bought the pasta, I had an end goal in mind for what the dyed pasta will be used for.
Aside from a general sensory bin, I’d also like the kids to string the pasta (like a necklace), so I bought pasta with holes in it. We’ll also be counting with them so I need pasta that lies flat. Also, since the little guy likes to put things in his mouth, I had to carefully choose the size of the pasta – nothing too small he could choke on.
What You’ll Need To Dye Pasta
Since I have about 25 cups of pasta and I wanted to dye it to the colors of the rainbow, I know I’ll be dying 4 cups of each color.
This recipe here is what you’ll need for 1 color of pasta
- 4 cups of pasta in different shapes and sizes
- food coloring, gel or liquid (the amount depends on how dark you want the pasta)
- 2 tablespoons of hand sanitizer
- large zip lock bag
How To Dye Pasta
To dye the pasta, first I pumped about 2 tablespoons of hand sanitizer into a large zip lock bag. Then I used a toothpick and scooped about 1/2 teaspoon of gel food coloring into the bag. Then I sealed the bag with no air in the bag (make sure it’s sealed!) and let the little boy squish the liquids together.
There are 3 reasons why I want to mix the food coloring and hand sanitizer in the bag first:
- Dilute the color so when the pasta goes in the bag, it’ll have more liquid for coating which will result in evenly colored pasta
- Break up the clumps of food coloring
- Test if there is enough food coloring
In the pictures with the blue dye, you could see how dark the mixture is. Don’t be scared! When the pasta is dyed and dried, the color will appear much lighter (like the other pictures)
After the food coloring have been mixed, I scooped about 4 cups of pasta into the bag and sealed it well. You want to make sure this is REALL sealed otherwise you’ll have a big mess on your hands =)
The little boy went to town squishing and moving the pasta in the bag. When he was done, I gave it a few more shakes to make sure all the pasta is coated.
You want to be gentle with the pasta, especially if you have any shapes that are pokey. We have some slanted penne in the bag and it poked a couple tiny holes through the bag. If this happens, just sandwich the bag in between a hand towel to keep your hands and counter clean.
When the pasta have been coated with color, dump the contents into a tray and spread it out to dry. If you don’t like the smell of hand sanitizer, you could put the trays outside and it’ll dry within a couple hours.
Repeat this process with other colors.
Here’s another tip. If you want to be environmentally friendly and use as little bags as possible, dye a light colour first then use the same bag to dye a darker colour. I did yellow and orange in 1 bag, red in 1 bag (because the bag got little holes in it), green in 1 bag (again it got holes, so be gentle), and purple and blue in 1 bag.
Now that the pastas are dyed, I have lots of plans for these guys! I’ll be setting up activities for the little girl to do like colour sorting, counting, stringing into necklaces, playing reversed bingo and of course the tried and true sensory bin.
Be sure to watch out for these posts coming soon =)
If you liked this activity, you might also like to learn how to dye rice. It’s a similar process but involves a jar instead of bags. This is also GREAT for sensory bins.
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