Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Homemade play dough

My kids love play dough.  When Vivienne was little, I was hesitant to have her play with it, as she thought it was some sort of food and the thought of her eating it grossed me out.   Fortunately, I got over it & gave her some Play Dough to play with.  I bought all of our play dough at the store ... you know, the play dough in the yellow container with color tops.

Recently, I discovered play dough recipes.  I had heard it was easy to make and was better than the store bought stuff.   We gave it a try and found, yes, these things are true!

We made a few colors in about an hour.  Once you get started, it is a bit addicting.  The orange and purple were made with Kool-Aide and the others were made with liquid food coloring.  According to my oldest, the Kool-Aide play dough smells good & the other is stinky.  It is true, there is a pleasant scent   from the Kool-Aide.  The other just smells like play dough.

We used recipes that require boiling water.  I understand there are "no cook" recipes.  We just haven't tried them.  The first one I used is from MOCHA The Museum of Children's Art in Oakland.


2c all purpose flour
1c salt
3t cream of tartar
2 1/4 c water
4T vegetable oil
food coloring

Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Combine oil & food coloring in a small bowl.  Put water in a pot & boil (2qt or larger size) after it is boiling, put in oil / food coloring.  Turn off heat & mix in dry ingredients.  After it is mixed put on a flat surface & knead.  

Here is our red before kneading.  It doesn't look too smooth, don't worry.  It will look great after you kneed it ... but be careful!  It is HOT.  I took it out of the pot & then let it sit for about 10 minutes before kneading it.  This recipe makes almost 4 c of dough.

Kool-Aide dough

1c flour
1/2 c salt
1 1/2 t cream of tartar 
1 package Kool Aide - the color of the play dough will be the color of the punch.
(The orange & purple in the picture above were make w/ Kool-Aide, orange & grape.)
1 c water
2T oil

Follow the directions above except:
Add Kool-aide to dry ingredients
Makes almost 2 c dough

Do you have a favorite recipe or tips?  Please share!  $$ saving tip:  If you think you will be making more than one or two batches, buy your cream of tartar in bulk from a store like Smart & Final.  


  1. As a PreK teacher and now in-home child care provider, I can attest to the awesomeness of homemade playdough. There is even a recipe with peanut butter that they can eat but I never do it because then they'd be eating dough all the time, whether edible or not. We do the cooked dough but I don't get all fancy with the separation of ingredients. Each child has an ingredient to dump in the pot, Each child stirs it up, the pot is removed and cooked on the stove top, the dough removed and placed on wax paper, and then divided while still quite warm so they can experience temp and texture changes. We try to do a different color each month. We are actually overdue for a batch. You can add flavored extracts for smells too. Peppermint with red dough at xmas, we do pumpkin pie spices with orange dough in the fall, I have done lemon extract with yellow dough, etc. SUPER FUN!
    Michelle Dibb

  2. Thanks for the ideas!! I love them!! I did all of the ingredients seperate as I put the pot of fast boil, then too much water evaporated on my first batch & I spilled the oil .... anyway, love the idea of including the kids! Thanks Michelle!!

  3. The top recipe is the one I use too :)We play just about every day around her!