Homemade Playdough

There is no Fearless Friday this week. Enjoy this guest post from Candice of Ragamuffin Design.

Candice says:

Yesterday was a beautiful day outside, but I was determined to stay inside and clean. My 4 year old despises when I clean so I knew he needed to be set up with a project. So, I took aside 30 minutes and we made some homemade playdough!

It requires a quick minute on a high heat stove, but every other step is child friendly.

Homemade Playdough:

1- 1/2 cups sifted flour
3/4 cup salt
3 t. cream of tartar
1-1/2 c. plus 2T. water (yes, I know I’m annoying for halving the recipe)
1- 1/2 T. vegetable oil
food coloring
gloves or calm parent (i chose the gloves)

To start you will sift the first 3 dry ingredients together. To save a bowl you may put it directly into your pot, but leave it off of the heat. This is a perfect time to let “the kid” help you. I’m typically a “just let me do it” kinda mom, but baking(or kitchen crafts) is where I have patience.

playdough 1
(and as you can see I like being wasteful so I used a separate bowl. “do as I say….”)

Sifting the dry ingredients should take care of the lumps. Add your 2 wet ingredients(food coloring is for later) and whisk until smooth. When your child thinks its frosting let him have a taste and add it to his “chocolate powder” is deceiving lesson. Hey, I warned him!

Once the “frosting” is free of lumps, and your child isn’t near the eye, turn the heat to high. Stir with heavy duty spoon until it forms a big clump of dough. It’s supposed to take 3-4 minutes, but it usually takes me only a minute. It will smell funky and will leave residue on your pot, but the smile on your child’s face is all worth it, but they are probably whining about something so just add some water to your pot while you finish the recipe!

playdough 2

Plop the dough on some kind of surface. I used a cutting board, but keep in mind food coloring is involved. I do have a tip for you that helps keep the food coloring in order, but ya never know!

The dough stays warm for a bit so test it before you let your little ones help. Knead it a few times if for no other reason than just having fun with playdough! There is no “knead” for flour.(haha, get it?!?!). I cut this size recipe into 4 separate balls. A little trick/tip to keep your food coloring from making a mess is to press an indention into the middles and drop the color there. Then you will fold the clean dough over the color a few times so it’s trapped inside…But, only do this AFTER struggling to get over sized gloves on your child!

playdough 3

Then you just knead, knead, knead until the color is the way you want it! Once it was worked in quite a bit I let my guy take his gloves off and he remained unharmed. My cutting board was also safe(well, ignore the red spots in the picture that follows…we strayed from our rule when the purple needed more red), but I won’t be held responsible for stained children, clothing or cutting boards. Sign the waiver….

playdough 4

THEEEEEEN, you cheerfully grab all the Moe’s and Wild Wing cups and lids that fall on your head when you open your cabinets and shove those balls of playdough right on inside. Score one for the hoarder!

Serve with sunshine and cookie cutters…

Quickly snap your photos to remember the parent/child moment because in a matter of minutes the playdough will all be back into one large ball, dark puke green in color, and full of dirt and gravel.

playdough 5

Thank you for the great guest post, Candice! If you would like to submit a guest post, please send an email to Heather@Home-Ec101.com.


  1. deneicer1 on September 11, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    I LOVE this play dough recipe! It is the best, ever! If you keep it in zip lock bags in the frige it keeps for a long time, too.

    I add the food coloring to the water. I start with yellow. Then I move on to blue. Then I make green. Or I start with yellow then move on to red and then orange. Its not perfect but I like it better than having food coloring dye all over (which is EXACTLY where it’d be in my house…all over!) I also half the recipe so as not to make too too much.

    Loved by children and adults alike!

  2. DIY – Make Your Own Playdough | The Mom's Cheat Sheet on December 31, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    […] Homemade Playdough [Home Ec 101] Share via: […]

  3. Carly on September 29, 2009 at 1:16 am

    Playdough is the best… and it is even better when you can go right over to Candice's (the best playdough maker in the world) house and pick some up!!!!!

  4. Caroline on September 28, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    I took a child psychology class in college and part of the requirement was to volunteer in the local nursery school for 2 hours a week. Play dough is a great stress reliever, I'd go in all ticked offf about something and sit down at the playdough table and pound away with a couple of kids, and feel much better. I'm sure all the hugs I got from the 3 year olds helped too. 🙂

  5. alex on September 28, 2009 at 1:19 am

    Making playdough is the best fun! Have you tried making it with scents? Our favorites are chocolate & vanilla extract. We have also used cinnamon. A bit of teacher knowledge for those who might not know… Playdough helps kids with fine motor development since it strengthens their hand muscles. Fine motor is needed for writing. Letting your child measure and mix the ingredients, while making play dough, is a Math & Science lesson. Help them mix food colors and you've got an art lesson too. Thanks for the fun post & pictures. : ))

  6. Angela on September 26, 2009 at 3:42 am

    I have been meaning to make this for my kids… might have to do this tomorrow as I will not have a car and the weather here has been unpredictable. I will have to make sure the kids don't see that you can add colors though… I do not have food coloring and well it dough colored is just as fun, right?

    • Heather Solos on September 26, 2009 at 1:18 pm

      You can use kool-aid packets but make sure it's the unsweetened kind and that it is thoroughly worked in before handing it off to the kiddo.

  7. Stacy on September 25, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    I need to get some food coloring, but I will try this very soon. I've thought about making it in recent months but never got around to looking for the recipe. Thank you!

  8. Melissa on September 25, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    I'm not sure if I just can't read today…but where it says "1 1/2 c plus 2 T", what is the ingredient?
    Thanks – this looks like fun!

    • Heather Solos on September 25, 2009 at 8:06 pm

      The post has been edited to include the all important ingredient. . . water. 🙂 Thanks for pointing out the error.

  9. Lady on September 25, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Great timing on this one. I've got my 3 year old nephew coming over this weekend and not a clue how to entertain him. This will be great.

  10. Julie on September 25, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    I used to make this with my mom when I was a kid! I always loved making it and it was always softer than the storebought stuff. The recipe was pretty much the same I think except she always added a few drops of almond extract to make it smell nice. I can't wait until my nephew is old enough for this.

    • Heather Solos on September 26, 2009 at 1:20 pm

      Almond is probably one of my favorite scents, thank you for the tip.

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