We pasta-tively love this craft! Making macaroni necklaces is a great activity for kids of all ages. If you are a busy parent—having your child make these while you prepare your own pasta dinner is a good use of time and allows for family bonding in the kitchen.
For young kids, making pasta necklaces is an excellent way to build up fine motor skills by practicing threading. Even older kids can enjoy making macaroni necklaces by experimenting with tying the pasta to the string, or incorporating “friendship bracelet” knots and patterns.
There are many ways to dye and color your pasta. You can use the method detailed below, which is similar to dyeing Easter eggs, or you can use acrylic or tempera paint to paint each piece of pasta individually. You can also use a fine tipped paint brush to add details like stripes or spots to your finished painted or dyed pasta necklace.
Don't stop just at macaroni necklaces. There are tons of other crafts for kids that involve pasta. You could make bracelets, hair-clips, garlands, and shellfish. Let this necklace be a jumping off point for other art projects to try.
Equipment / Tools
- 1 jar or bowl filled with 2 cups water
- Cookie sheet or tray
- Paint brush (optional)
- Colander (optional)
- Assortment of uncooked pasta: macaroni, rigatoni, penne, ditalini, ziti (the pastabilities are endless!)
- Paint or food coloring
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- Clear acrylic finishing spray (optional)
Add Vinegar to Water
Start by dying your pasta. Dying pasta is a lot like dying an egg. You want to make a mixture of vinegar, water, and dye. Each jar will hold one color.
- Start the dying process by filling a large jar or bowl with 2 cups of water.
- Pour a 1/2 cup of vinegar into the water.
Make a Rainbow of Colors
If you want to dye your pasta multiple colors, you'll need to gather multiple jars or bowls of water and vinegar.
Add Pasta to Water and Vinegar
Add the pasta that you want to dye into the water-vinegar mixture.
Add Paint or Food Coloring to Mixture
Squeeze paint or 4 to 5 drops (or more for deeper color) of food coloring into your water and vinegar mixture. You want the mixture to be really saturated with the color you are planning on dying your pasta.
Soak Pasta in Jar or Bowl
- Have your pasta soak in the dye mixture for 20 minutes.
- You can take a piece out to check on how it is doing.
- If the color is too light, have it soak for longer or try adding more pigment to the water and vinegar.
Dry Pasta on Cookie Sheet or Tray
- Carefully pour the dye mixture out into a sink. You can use a colander to help make sure you don’t lose any of the pasta down the drain.
- Put the dyed pasta onto a cookie sheet or tray, and set out to dry.
- Wait about 30 minutes for your pasta to dry.
Use Scissors to Cut String
- Measure the string first to decide how long or short you want your necklace to be.
- Once you have decided, use scissors to cut the string.
Tie Knot in String
Thread your string through one of your pieces of pasta, and tie a knot. This will help keep your other pasta beads from sliding off the string.
Thread Pasta Onto String
- If you are using pasta with holes in them (penne, ziti, rigatoni, or ditalini), then take the untied end of your string and thread it through each piece of pasta.
- Continue adding pasta "beads" to your necklace until you feel that it's complete.
- If you want to space out your beads, you can try tying large knots in the string between them.
Tie the Necklace Closed
- Make sure you leave enough string on both ends to tie your necklace closed.
- To secure the necklace, use the threading end to feed the string through the first pasta bead you tied onto the string.
- Then tie the two ends of the string into a knot to close the necklace.
- Add painted details to your pasta necklace if you choose.
Make the Color Last
To have the paint or dye really stay on the pasta for longer wear, consider spraying the finished product with a clear acrylic finishing spray.