How to Make Your Own Play Dough

(Here’s a guest post from reader Bailey Harris.  Use natural food colorings instead of chemical containing regular ones to make these recipes even better.)

Let’s face it–almost every kid loves to play with play-dough. This safe and non-toxic type of clay is the perfect medium for kids to use to create whatever they’ve dreamed up. What’s better? You can make your own play-dough at home! No more worries about replacing your store-bought play-dough when it dries up. You can save money by making your own, and most of the ingredients can be found right in your own kitchen.
Basic Play-Dough
To make a very basic play-dough, you only need a few ingredients. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, blend together 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of salt, and 1/2 cup of water. If you want to make a larger amount, simply double or triple the recipe according to how much dough you want to make. If you find that the dough is a bit too sticky to work with, just add a small amount of flour until the consistency is to your liking. Likewise, if the dough seems too dry and crumbly, add water (a teaspoon or so at a time) to make it more workable. If you’d like to color the dough, separate it into balls and knead food coloring in until the color is blended in. When the kids are done playing with the play-dough, store it in a sealed bag or air-tight container to prevent it from drying out.
Workable Play-Dough
Another play-dough you can make calls for only a few extra ingredients. The consistency is very soft and workable, and it keeps well if stored properly after use. To make this dough, combine 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, 2 cups of hot water, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and 1-1 1/2 tablespoons of cream of tartar into a pot. Cook the mixture over medium heat and stir frequently. Once the mixture is well-blended and the consistency of dough, remove the pot from heat and let the dough cool off for a few minutes. Once it’s cool enough to handle, place the dough on a layer of wax paper and knead it into a large ball. To add color, divide the ball into sections and slowly work the food coloring in by kneading it into the dough. As mentioned in the previous recipe, the dough should be stored in sealed bags or containers with air-tight lids.
Bouncy Play-Dough
For extra-bouncy play-dough that has a rubber-like consistency, place 2 cups of baking soda, 1 cup of cornstarch, and 1 1/2 cups of water in a medium-sized saucepan and slowly bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once the mixture has thickened and resembles dough, remove the saucepan from heat and allow the dough to cool before handling it. Knead in food coloring on a surface lined with wax paper, and it’s ready for small hands to play with!
Why Make Play-Dough?
Making play-dough is easy and cheap, and it will provide hours of entertainment for your kids. It’s a hit at parties and makes a great homemade gift for children to give each other. These simple play-dough recipes will undoubtedly spark your child’s creativity.
Guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey writes for

15 Responses to How to Make Your Own Play Dough

  1. kimmyc June 16, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    I like the consistency of the cream of tartar play dough and make it often. As a rule, when I boil beets, that means 'play dough time' because I have this great magenta food coloring that I must use! I add a tsp of vanilla and it gives it a playdough smell and I think helps preserve it a little but, of that, I'm not totally sure.I love this blog. Thank you for taking the time to help all of us.

  2. Anonymous June 27, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

    I put a packet of Kool Aid into the dough. It is a great way to get amazing colors- as well as great kid smells. Caution: Don't do this if you have a child that likes to eat the dough (although the ingredients are safe to eat, it's still not wise to eat too much)–this will only encourage him!

  3. Kat April 9, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

    We made your Bouncy Dough today and it’s not bouncy OR rubbery! Any ideas?

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