making pasta threading beads

Colouring Pasta to Thread

Threading is generally considered a pre-school activity and large wooden or plastic beads are available, however suitably shaped pasta can used and can also be painted or dyed to excellent effect.  Prettily decorated rigatoni (little tube shapes) or rotelle (the cartwheel like shapes) are great for threading and easy to paint or dye.  

Older children may enjoy painting pasta whilst younger children will enjoy threading!   

We painted the pasta with poster paint, and a couple of odd knitting needles to hold the pasta while drying. 

We threaded the pasta onto a few odd knitting needles (dowel or pea sticks would also do the job) and painted the pasta with poster paint.
Once the base colour had dried we decorated the beads with spots!
Do remember knitting needles are very pointy, and not suitable when crafting with children. 
Dying the pasta is also effective and a lot quicker, although the result is a little less decorative. You will need a ziplock storage bag for each colour, add a couple of teaspoons of vinegar and sufficient food colouring to colour the vinegar fairly brilliantly.  Add the pasta and seal the ziplock bag. Move the colour through and around the pasta keeping the bag firmly sealed at all times.  Once you are happy with the colour of the pasta, tip onto a baking tray and place in a cool oven (100C) for about 30 minutes to dry. Alternatively dry in a warmish spot out of harms way (if air-drying you could protect the baking tray with clingfilm or kitchen paper towel).
Bags of prettily decorated pasta beads would make  party favours for a pre-schooler and are a good standby activity generally.  A bag of prettily decorated pasta beads and a couple of leather beading thongs (available from your local beadshop) or some medium length shoelaces could be a fun addition to the dressing-up box!