Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday's Art Adventure: Pasta Mosaics

Welcome to another Art Adventure!
Today we are making Colored Pasta Mosaics.

A Mosaic is a picture or pattern made from small pieces, usually tile or glass. (Don't be afraid to teach kids the word and definition. Just mention it while you work. Kids really like picking up the lingo.)

First, you will need to do a little prep. People are always asking me how to color pasta for crafts. It's so simple, you'll find yourself doing it all the time.

To make colored pasta:
  • dry pasta and/or rice, any shape(s) you like
  • food coloring
  • rubbing alcohol
  • ziploc type bags
I like to open my bag and put it into a tall glass because then I don't have to worry about spilling or holding onto the bag while I work.

Add about 1/4 cup of alcohol to the bag.
Add about 10 drops of food coloring and swirl a bit to mix. (Remember that pasta is already yellow, so I wouldn't bother coloring. You can color rice yellow though.)

Add a cup of pasta or 3/4 cup rice to the bag. Zip the top closed and shake it up to mix.
Lay the bag on the counter for about and hour and then flip the bag over and leave set for another hour. This will be sure the pasta colors evenly on both sides (or you can forget it and have one side turn darker than the other like me, but it's all good.)

If your pasta is not colored to your liking, let it sit longer. The longer it sits, the darker it gets. Do this with as many colors and as many pasta shapes as you want. I used rotini and rice because I had a bunch extra on hand.
Lay out some paper towels. Pour out the contents of one bag on the paper towel to drain the excess liquid off. 

Then I put the drain pasta on a plate. Do this on separate paper towels and plates for each color. Leave to dry overnight. 

This will keep forever! So make as much as you want. You can just save the extra for another day.

Mosaic Time!
  • school glue
  • colored pasta
  • paper (any size or color)
  • pencil (optional)
  • brush (optional)
There are two options. For my youngest, I just gave him the choices of pasta and let him glue things down randomly. 

He really loves doing that, and even though I don't really see what it is supposed to look like, he often makes up a story about what it is (usually a castle for some reason). 

For my oldest, I give him a pencil and have him draw his scene first.

I encourage him to draw something that is large and not very detailed because the bigger spaces are easier to fill in with the pasta pieces. I also encourage him to see if the shapes remind him of anything, and can he use that as inspiration for the picture? Then working section by section he adds glue and uses the different colors and shapes to fill in the image.

If it is hard for your child to squeeze the glue, just squeeze some into a bowl and give them a clean paint brush to use for spreading the glue. When you are done wash the brush with warm water and a dab of soap, and it's good to go again. (Just don't let the glue completely dry in the brush. That's a pain! If it happens, try soaking the brush, or estimate that it only cost a bit of money and pitch it. You have a life after all.)

When the picture is complete, let dry completely.

If need be, your child can add some details with markers once it is dry. Gabe picked his up before it was completely dry and exclaimed, "Help! The sky is falling!" That was a good laugh. Thanks, Chicken Little!

Gabe made sunflowers with a large orange setting sun. The sky is darker at the top and goes to red closer to the sun. The moon and stars are coming out because this scene is dusk, he informed me. :)

Linking to some of these great parties and:


  1. Coming over from Creative juice! Terrific tip about the glue!! Definitely will use it!


  2. Awesome, Kerri! It makes my day when people want to use these projects and tips. :)

  3. Great tips for kiddo art! I can't wait til mine stop eating the dang art supplies...so we can get our art on.

    Thanks for linking to Creative Juice. Hope to see you back again this week...


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