Saturday, January 26, 2013

How to Dye Pasta for Kids Crafts

Last week we dyed a bunch of pasta for a project for Ginger's birthday party, so thought I'd post the how-to while I'm thinking of it.

I'd seen colored pasta before, but didn't know if you buy it somewhere or if it's easy to do at home.  A couple pokes around the blogosphere assured me it's easy peasy.
One thing that's obvious, but I didn't necessarily consider until mid-dye, is that you're not starting with a white product; the pasta is yellow.  So attempts at red will be orange, blue will be green, purple will be brown.  To make true red, add more red dye than the proscribed 10 drops.  For purple, I made one with more red than blue (turned out a pretty rose color - second from top, above), and one with more blue than red (a deep purple some kids called black - bottom, below.)  For blue, I added a ton of blue, but it was still just a deep greenish teal - I bet a drop or two of red may have blued it up.  I'm no color theorist.  But it was fun to play with the colors!
Dyed Pasta for Crafts
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
10 drops food coloring, all one color or mixed
1 to 2 cups pasta, whatever shape you like

1.  In a gallon-size Ziploc bag, add the alcohol and food coloring, swishing to mix.  Add the pasta and seal the bag, pressing out the air.  Swish the bag around with your hands to coat the pasta, and place on a surface covered with newspaper (or I did a baking sheet covered with foil, just in case of leaks.)  Flip and swish the bag(s) every 30 minutes or so for a few hours or until you like the color.  It fades a little, but not much, as it dries.

2.  Drain the pasta in a colander and spread out on thick layers of newspaper or paper towels to dry.  Now your pasta is ready for stringing, gluing, or whatever craft you want!

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