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 colour 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. Try using a fine tipped paint brush to add details like stripes or spots to your painted or dyed pasta. 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.
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!
Gather the Materials
Ready to start? First you’ll need to gather a handful of supplies:
- 1 large jar filled with 2 cups water*
- 1/2 cup vinegar*
- Paint or food colouring
- Cookie sheet or tray
- Uncooked pasta: Macaroni, Rigatoni, Penne, Ditalini, Ziti (the pastabilities are endless!)
*If you want to dye your pasta multiple colors, you’ll need to gather multiple jars of water and vinegar.
Dye Pasta: Add Vinegar to Water
Dying pasta is a lot like dying an egg. You want to make a mixture of vinegar, water, and dye. 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.
Dye Pasta: Add Pasta to Water and Vinegar
Add the pasta that you want to dye into the water-vinegar mixture. If you plan to dye the pasta a few different colors, set up multiple jars with water and vinegar.
Dye Pasta: Add Paint or Food Coloring to Mixture
Squeeze paint into your water and vinegar mixture. You want the mixture to be really saturated with the color you are planning on dying your eggs. If you are using food coloring—add in several (at least 4-5) drops into the mixture.
Soak Pasta in Jar
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. You can also use this tied-on pasta to help fasten your necklace closed.
Thread Pasta Onto String
If you are using pasta with holes in them (penne, ziti, rigatoni, ditalini), then take the untied end of your string and thread it through that pasta. You can also experiment with tying your dyed pasta onto the string. Continue adding pasta beads to your necklaces until you feel that it’s complete. If you want to space out your beads, you can try tying knots in the string between them.
Tie Necklace Closed
Make sure you stop threading beads onto your string with enough room to tie it closed. Use the threading end to feed the string through the first tied on pasta bead. Then tie a knot in the string.