Published on July 24th, 2009 | by Julie Finn18
How to Dye Dried Pasta in Bright, Happy Colors
It’s a bit of a random craft, sure–perhaps a little church camp, perhaps a little preschool.
But your church camp and your preschool I’m sure didn’t have the same standards of artistic quality that I do. When I say that you can dye dried pasta, I sure don’t mean that you can dye it some pale color that’s all uneven, anyway, and looks like something a three-year-old should be stringing on elastic cord.
I’m talking about pasta that POPS. I’m talking about bright colors, jewel tones, gorgeous shades of emerald or hot pink that will inspire even you, you jaded crafter you.
Because you know there are some things you totally want to make with this beautiful dried pasta. A mosaic? Some biodegradable jewelry? a chandelier to hang in the kitchen?
You will need:
- dried pasta in whatever sizes and shapes you desire. Here’s where your Green Crafting Manifesto kicks in. Do you buy the cheapest pasta available since you won’t be eating it, or do you buy organic, even though you won’t be eating it, in consideration for the workers and the environment? We’re poor, so we bought the cheap junk. You buy whatever feels right to you.
- Liquid food coloring. NOT the nice professional-quality gel food coloring that you paid all that money for–you can use that in your play dough, actually, but for Easter egg dyeing and dried pasta crafts, stick with those little squeeze bottles of liquid dye. And the neon colors they sell? Are awesome.
- Old jars to contain the dried pasta. We use an assortment of old spaghetti sauce jars, jam jars, and peanut butter jars.
- rubbing alcohol. I’m not in love with the need for rubbing alcohol here, since I do this project with my girls and rubbing alcohol is neither particularly green nor particularly safe when consumed, and when what you’re doing is making food look pretty, that’s something to consider. But it is a non-water-based solvent that will keep the dye liquid yet not dissolve the pasta, and I can’t think of another solvent with those same qualities.
- Lots of newspaper or dish towels.
1. Fill each jar about halfway with dried pasta. Not that you care, but when I do this project with my girls, this is an exercise for them in estimation.
2. Squeeze in as much dye as you want into the jar.
3. Pour only enough rubbing alcohol into the jar to just cover the bottom.
4. Screw the lids tightly onto all the jars.
5. Shake really well.
6. Leave the jars out on the table all day, because they need to be shaken off and on–whenever someone walks by, have them shake a jar or two.
7. Before you go to bed, lay out a very thick layer of newspapers or dishtowels on a table or countertop.
8. Spread out all the pasta in a thin layer to dry overnight.
Do NOT eat this pasta, right? I’m telling you, though, it looks amazing. When my daughters and I were making this one afternoon at my parents’ house, my grandfather AND my mother each walked by and, without asking permission, popped one of these pastas into their mouths. My daughters looked at them like they were nuts, and I was all, “It reeks of rubbing alcohol in here! Does it LOOK like we’re making something to eat?”
But yeah, that’s my family for you.