5 from 2 votes

Dyeing Pasta for Crafts

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Dyeing pasta for crafting is one of the most simple and effective crafts you can do. Bright beautiful rainbow pasta, perfect for playtime, is actually super simple to do and takes just a few ingredients and supplies.

Great for sensory play, colorful pasta is a site to beyond and kids from all ages (even teens!) will be inspired to make and create. Plus, with so many plentiful pasta shapes and sizes, the PASTA-BILITIES are endless!

dying pasta with food coloring.

What type of pasta works best for sensory play?

Dyeing pasta is so much fun and having a variety of pasta shells that represent many shapes can make the full playtime that much more fun! Also, consider the reasons for playtime.

For example, if you are making necklaces, you may want to use shells with holes already in the middle like macaroni and rigatoni. If you are gluing the noodles, try something pretty like shells or bow ties.

  • Farfalle
  • Medium shells
  • Penne Rigate
  • Rotini

Dyeing Pasta Ingredients

  • 1lb box of 4 different kinds of pasta
  • food coloring
  • baggies

How to Dye Pasta for Play & Crafts

Dyeing pasta for play and crafts is fairly simple but it is not the same as dyeing pasta noodles to eat. Please do not mix up the two! This tutorial is learning how to dye for playtime, sensory play, gluing pasta, using in crafts, and otherwise simple fun!

  1. Divide a little bit of each uncooked pasta type equally into 5 separate resealable bags.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol and 10-15 drops of food coloring to a bag.
  3. Seal the bag and knead gently to evenly distribute color on all of the undyed pasta.
  4. Let the bag sit for about 5 minutes for color saturation.
how to dye pasta for crafts.
  1. Repeat the dyeing process in each bag with the remaining colors.
  2. Dry pasta on a baking sheet (adding a bit of wax or parchment paper on the cookie sheet makes for easier clean up) for at least 2 hours, or overnight if possible.
  3. To use your colorful pasta, simply mix together all the bags and play!
collage of sensory bin pasta dying.

Safety Note

Pasta can present a choking hazard in young children. Please do not let kids be unsupervised while playing with pasta of any kind. Also please note that this pasta is dyed with alcohol, which produces the best colors.

Alcohol is not safe to eat so only choose this craft for kids of an age that do not put items in the mouth. As pasta is a food item, it can be easily confused for young children.

Playtime Pasta Questions

Can colored pasta be boiled?

I am not sure why you’d want to boil these play noodles, because there is rubbing alcohol on them, so they would not be edible. However, if you are boiling them for additional sensory purposes, it’s important to note that most of your color will come off in the hot water.

If dyed noodles are boiled, this is the end result – most of the color is removed.

what pasta looks like boiled.

What is the best dye to dye noodles for sensory bin fillers?  

I use standard McCormick Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, and then the Neon Purple for the purple. I swear by the McCormick Neon Purple food coloring for the purple. Additionally, Wilton’s COLOR RIGHT is fantastic for bright slime and likely would be just as good for colored pasta.  

What types of crafts use colored pasta?

Colored pasta is fun to glue on paperwork, add onto yarn or twine for necklaces, create little people, add to a bin, and place in little toys like dinosaurs – really your imagination is your only limit! I find colored pasta just beautiful and fun to make in and of itself.

How to Store Dyed Pasta for Play  

Store dried pasta in places that have no moisture like gallon-sized baggies that are carefully sealed, mason jars, and Tupperware containers. Keeping bright colors of pasta around is not only fun for motor skills and sensory play activity but wonderful for kids crafts and pasta crafts to glue to sheets and make necklaces.  This activity is also fun a themed birthday party like our TikTok birthday party here!

colored pasta in a mason jar.

Related Sensory Play Ideas

Nothing we love more than creativity, so if you are looking for awesome amazing fun, try one of these other crafts for kids’ ideas.

Sidewalk Chalk Paint – You won’t believe how easy it is to whip up sidewalk chalk paint that rinses off with the hose when you are done.

DIY Spin Art – Kids of all ages will love adding acrylic paints to canvas and tossing it across the yard for a super fun art experience.

How to make Salt Dough – once you learn how to make the salt dough it’s fairly easy to create custom holiday ornaments.

Rainbow Spaghetti – Over on our other site, we have edible dyed spaghetti, and it’s gorgeous! Check out this step-by-step on how to make rainbow pasta over on Salty Side Dish

colored pasta in a white bowl.
5 from 2 votes

Dyeing Pasta for Crafts & Play

Prep Time 20 minutes
How to Dye Pasta with food coloring to create the brightest variety of pasta, excellent for kids crafts and sensory bins, EASY way to dye!


  • 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol
  • food coloring
  • 1 pound pasta 4 boxes of varying shapes – suggested farfalle medium shells, penne rigate, rotini, macaroni


  • Divide pasta equally into 5 separate resealable bags.
  • Add 1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol and 10-15 drops of color to a bag.
  • Seal and knead gently to evenly distribute color Let set for 2 minutes.
  • Repeat with remaining colors.
  • Dry pasta on a baking sheet for a minimum of 2 hours, or overnight to ensure full drying of food coloring.
  • To use, mix together pasta and play!


Store pasta in a dry environment like a mason jar, sealed Tupperware, or gallon-sized plastic baggie. If it gets water in it, it will bleed dye. 
This particular recipe is not for eating. Please see the full article to a link of dyed spaghetti that you can eat with different ingredients. 
Substituting 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol for vodka or vinegar is widely used, however, the results can be soggy or less bright, therefore I do not recommend it at this time for these results. 

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

Sharing of this recipe is encouraged and appreciated. Copying of full recipe to any social media is prohibited.

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