Noodle Train


By Caitlin Murray Giles


Next time you come across some nearly empty boxes of pasta in your cabinet, give this “noodle train” project a try.


  • Various dried pastas: You'll need some flat lasagna and rotelle (wheel-shaped) pasta to construct the base of the train cars. All other embellishments are up to you, so use whatever pasta shapes you already have on hand. Good options include penne, shells, rigatoni, farfalle, ditalini or other small pasta.
  • Hot glue gun
  • Paints, paint brushes, glitter or other embellishments


  1. Work on your "design" first. Lay all the pieces out before you begin securing them together.
  2. Begin by breaking flat lasagna noodles into 4- to 5-inch pieces to create the train engine. Use a hot glue gun to join three pieces together. Note: A hot glue gun gets very hot and should only be used by an adult.
  3. Next, use tall, straight pasta, like rigatoni or penne, to add height to your engine car. Add another piece of lasagna noodle to create the "roof." Stack rigatoni or penne to create an "engine" up front. Finally, glue on several pieces of rotelle (wheel-shaped pasta) for "wheels."
  4. Once you have the engine constructed, use your imagination to create more "train cars." Start with layers of flat lasagna noodles to build the base and use rotelle for the wheels. Beyond that, get creative with your food! We stacked rigatoni to make a "crate" to haul cargo. Glue together layers of shells to make "piles of lumber."

This project is meant to inspire variations. If you plan ahead, you could paint the individual pasta pieces the day before and let them dry overnight before you assemble your train. Consider using small pasta pieces to build "passengers" for your noodle train. Make trees and other landscape elements to set the scene as your noodle train travels through a cityscape or countryside.


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