This mosaic noodle craft was SO much fun!! We colored elbow noodles and I had no clue at first what we should do with them, and this is what we ended up with. It turned into a great craft to work on fine motor skills and complement our homeschool history lesson.
Educational Craft for the Whole Family
We stumbled upon a craft that is truly a gem for the whole family! When you are caring for four kiddos like I am, finding an activity that they can all do together is a major win. Well, the youngest didn’t participate since she’s only one year old, BUT three out of four is good enough for me! No matter the age of your child, toddler and up, this is an activity you will enjoy.
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This open-ended craft allows your kids to come up with their own design. They can make a pattern, create an actual image, or just scatter the noodles. As you can see, each of my 3 kiddos took a different approach, which was so fun!
An added bonus for school-aged kids: this can be used as a supplemental activity to any lessons involving this style of design. We had been learning about ancient Rome when I was inspired to try this craft out!
What You’ll Need
- Uncooked elbow noodles
- Food coloring
- Plastic sandwich baggies
- Rolling pin
1. Dye the noodles
*Plan ahead of the craft to color the noodles and allow time to dry* Choose what colors you’d like to use for the craft. We just did a handful of each color of the rainbow, leaving the noodles uncolored for yellow.
To dye the noodles, put a few drops of each color in separate baggies with about ½ cup of vinegar. The amount of vinegar will depend on how many noodles you put in it, so if it seems like too little then feel free to add more! Once the noodles are covered, let them sit for a little while, flipping them around occasionally for even coverage.
I let ours sit for about a half hour, then dumped each bag into a colander to rinse off excess dye with water one at a time. Put them on some paper towels and spread out to dry for an hour or so. Once the noodles are dry, you’re ready to craft with them!
2. Make the Salt Dough
Next we will make our base to press the noodles into. We went with a quick salt dough mix since it is so easy! Simply mix together 2 parts flour, 1 part salt, and 1 part water.
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Knead the dough so that it becomes smooth and not sticky or crumbly. If it is sticky, add a little bit of flour; if it’s crumbly then add some water. Once you’re happy with the consistency, separate it out into however many mosaics you’ll be making and roll them out to be about 1/2 inch thick.
The amounts we used were 2 cups flour, 1 cup water and salt. This provided enough to make the 3 rounds used as well as plenty more for seconds. So if you’re only working with one or two children, 1 cup/.5 cup/.5 cup should be fine!
3. Plan the Design
Now for the fun part! For younger kids, you can leave them to their own random placement and it will still turn out cool (see Mister 3’s in the picture below). But preschoolers and up will likely be able to follow at least a simple design.
If your child is interested in making an actual image out of their noodles, let their artistic side shine! Miss 7 really enjoyed making a heart.
4. Making the Mosaic Noodle Craft
To put it together, the noodles simply need to be pushed into the salt dough. To make it less confusing for the kids making a pattern or image, I suggest filling in one section or using one color at a time. In my daughters example, she made the outline of the heart all in one color before going back to fill it in.
Something else to consider is if there is a background to be filled in. Miss 7 made her heart all one color and then chose to do a scattered background. Another option would be to use a solid color background to help the image to really stand out.
In Mister 5’s case, he went for the patterned approach and followed his pattern until the end of the dough, with a few scattered around for fun. And of course Mister 3 just went for the abstract look. All were very pleased with how theirs turned out!
5. Drying the Mosaic Noodle Craft
Leave the craft to dry for awhile, or place in the oven at 200 F until dry. If you choose to put them in the oven, the noodle colors may darken or dull a bit, but it shouldn’t be too drastic.
This mosaic noodle craft is an excellent craft to keep on display. The salt dough should be hard at this point but it can break if dropped or snapped in half. Ask me and my oldest’s first Christmas handprint ornament how we know!
We really enjoyed making this craft. Our inspiration came from reading about mosaic floor tiles in Rome 2,000 years ago. They would make the flooring by putting colored glass or stone into plaster!
Connecting an activity like this one to a lesson is the best way to help them remember. I bet your kids will be so proud of their ancient Rome mosaic noodle craft!