Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Crafting with Homemade Colored Pasta & Rice

This was one of those jackpot Pinterest finds -- I don't recall a website, I just remember seeing a photo of colored rice with the caption "2 Tablespoons alcohol and a few drops food coloring."  I thought that sounded simple enough, if not a little stinky and messy. 
I bought some pasta with a coupon - penne, rings, bow ties, rotini, etc.  One box was the veggie kind - so they were already yellow, orange, and green.  I dyed a few of those anyway, they turned kinda orangey/brownish.
I used sandwich size ziploc bags and just went crazy with the food colors - we have primary colors and neon.  I mixed colors, let some soak longer and turn more vibrant, lots of different colors in the end.  I didn't measure the rubbing alcohol, just guestimated - but don't overdo it because you don't want soggy noodles.

Seal bag with alcohol, pasta, and food coloring and shake it to coat evenly.  Allow to sit for an hour or more (I ran out of counter space to dry noodles so a few baggies soaked overnight).  Pour into a strainer of some kind - I used a cooling rack placed over the sink.  They only need to dry about 20 minutes.

I made several more batches to get some more colors and this bucket ended up being too small - needed to use a larger storage bin, which Dean was happy about!

Drying a batch of colored noodles.

There is SO MUCH we can do with these noodles!  Dean is obsessed with rainbow order, so he filled jars with layers of noodles in order of the colors of the rainbow.

We filled empty water bottles - the small kid kind - with each color - a red bottle, a green one, etc. Glued the top on to keep sealed.  The baby loves these - he shakes them and throws them across the room then crawls after them!

Dean has been practicing his fine motor skills by making pipe cleaner bracelets and necklaces on a string.  He mostly makes rainbow patterns, of course, but also does other patterns.

We have also been gluing them on artwork.  I need to take a photo still, but we made some cool pictures!  Ring noodle eyes, elbow macaroni arms, bow ties for, well, a bow tie.  Also glued the little rings to butterfly wings - so pretty!!

Dean also stuck the noodles in playdough, drove a toy dump truck around in the bin of noodles, and poured them from jar to jar.

Awesome, cheap craft with endless ideas - what are yours?? I love how clean up is a breeze and the mess is minimal.

I went through the same process with white rice (the cheap, longer-cooking kind works fine).  I used a tad more rubbing alcohol than with pasta, and I used neon food coloring because, well, it's pretty.

To strain, open the Ziploc bag just a teeny bit and pour.  Spread on a cookie sheet covered in paper towels and allow to dry for a few hours or overnight.

We are using this to glue on paper for crafts, put on the sticky side of clear contact paper, or pour in a bin (as shown above) and use as a sensory bin.  Dean hides small toys like Dominoes in it and then searches for them.