Making Colored Pasta with Vinegar

I love colors! Vibrant, beautiful colors. There are very few colors that I don’t like. I also enjoy sharing this love of colors with my children. I’ve been introducing more and more sensory and fine-motor activities for my pre-schooler and kindergartener and have fond memories of making pasta collages when I was their age. Making colored pasta with vinegar is a simple way to add some extra pizazz to a traditional collage.

girl looking at colored pasta

So, I decided to make them some colored pasta to play with and explore. I’ve made it before, but needed a quick refresher, so I headed to the internet.

Only to discover that there is a big trend going on to dye pasta with rubbing alcohol or even hand-sanitizer.

Total no-go for us. Shiloh still puts things in her mouth from time-to-time and being that pasta is a food she is familiar with I didn’t think it would be a good idea to tempt fate.

I was right. As soon as I handed her the finished pasta, she popped one in her mouth. Score one for mom being extra cautious.

Instead of rubbing alcohol or hand-sanitizer, I wanted to use vinegar. Non-toxic and still great at setting color in things like rice and pasta.

How much vinegar you need depends on how much pasta you use. Basically, you want the color to move freely in the plastic bag with the pasta so that even the insides of the pasta get colored. But not SO much vinegar that your pasta gets soggy.

Materials needed to dye pasta with vinegar:

3 cups of pasta
1/4 cup of vinegar
1 tip of a spoonful of gel food coloring

toddlers playing with colored pasta for sensory play and crafts

Mix the food coloring and the vinegar together and pour onto the pasta in a zip-top baggie. We don’t have zip-top baggies here, so I just tied a knot in the top of a generic sandwich baggie.

Gently, manipulate the bag with your hands, moving the pasta through the vinegar solution until all of the pasta is coated.

You can remove the pasta immediately or let it set for 5-10 minutes to get a darker, more vibrant color.

Lay the pasta on a lined-cookie sheet or cake pan and let it sit until dry. Usually an overnight job. You may want to stir the pasta a couple times during the drying process to ensure that the pasta doesn’t stick together and that all the surfaces are dry.

Ta-da! Beautiful, vibrant colored pasta for your little ones to play with!

The yellow ended up looking like macaroni and cheese…lol!

yellow dyed pasta for crafts and sensory play

We’ve been using the pasta to practice our fine-motor skills by placing the larger pieces onto a strand of spaghetti. I’d love to hear what you would do with it! Please share in the comments!

textured rainbow binThis Valentine Pasta Sensory Bin is so much fun with its bright, bold colors! Add some sensory exploration into your Valentine's Day!

girl playing with rainbow pasta sensory bin

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  1. It worked with regular food coloring which is all I had. The purple color is the only one that didn’t turn out very bright. No mess and my 3’s in preschool will love making noodle necklaces for the letter “N”.

  2. Great using vinegar as it makes it edible also… I found I could dry it in the oven at 140 degrees for 20-30 or so minutes turning it occassionally… but the colouring on my hands is shocking… I look like a rainbow zombie… My son is going to love making edible gifts and crafts with these… and of course I shall doubly enjoy it watching him have fun too.