Let's break it down - You'll need:
Pasta - any variety (not cooked)
Large plastic storage bags (like Ziploc)
A liquid measuring cup
A 1 cup measuring cup
These directions come from Real Life at Home, and are very easy to follow!
Pasta and measuring cup at the ready!
Either gel or liquid food coloring works just fine.
Step 1: Pour 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol into your gallon bag, and add several drops of food coloring.
Swish the bag around to mix well.
Step 2: Measure 1 to 2 cups of dry pasta and add to the bag.(I used 1 cup for the elbows because they're smaller, and 2 cups for the rigatoni)
Swish some more to cover the pasta in dye!
Step 3: Zip up the bag (push the extra air out first) and lay it flat. Try to make sure the pasta is in a single layer.
I laid my bags in foil-lined pans, just in case any liquid leaked out (None did!).
Step 4: Flip the bags over about every half hour or so until they've reached the desired color. This is not an exact science - the world will not end if you don't flip them at exactly the 30 minute mark. (Or, say, if you happen to be a very sleepy, pregnant librarian who fell asleep after only flipping them once, and realized it the next morning. Whoops!)
I made 6 different colors in about 30 minutes. Pink, orange, and yellow all dyed the fastest (within 2 to 3 hours), while blue and purple took quite a while longer (purple takes FOREVER). Green was somewhere in the middle.
Step 5: Line those same pans with paper towels or newspaper, and dump your finished pasta onto them to dry. They will probably need to dry overnight.
Miss Sue and I each did this at home on our own time, but you could definitely do it at the library if you have somewhere to lay the bags where no one will mess with them. It sound messy but it really isn't at all. You could even recruit some teen volunteers to help. It's kind of a fun science experiment!
Think of all you can do with that glorious dyed pasta!
This is great for practicing fine motor skills with preschoolers and Kindergartners!
It's also WONDERFUL for sensory play with babies and toddlers! Just make sure they don't eat it :o)
Now don't you want to go dye some pasta before your next story time? Try it out and let us know how it goes!