I love doing fun things with my kids, but I don’t do stuff as often as I’d like because of time and the mess. The Lord knows I have enough messes to clean up as it is without purposefully adding to it!
I look on Pinterest and see all those cute craft projects and ideas for kids. I pin that glitter project that’s momentarily caught my eye and for a fleeting moment, I contemplate actually attempting it. And then the realist in me takes over and I know it ain’t gonna happen.
How many of you do the same? Come on, admit it. We’d all love to be those fantastic crafty moms but the simple truth is most of are just too tired with too many other things to do.
If that’s you – or even if you are an amazing crafty mom (my hat’s off to you!) – then this post is for you.
This is such an easy recipe for making homemade playdough. I found this recipe online about 2 years ago and since then, made a couple modifications. It uses common kitchen ingredients, is cheaper than store-bought playdough, and takes less than 10 minutes to make. I made 6 batches in 30 minutes. Pretty awesome, huh? And in my experience, it doesn’t crumble and make as big of a mess as the stuff from the store. It’s also hardier and lasts longer – I have a batch from well over a year ago that’s still going strong! And did I mention it’s non-toxic?
Click here for: Easy Homemade Playdough FAQ
*Note: I get so many comments and questions that I can’t answer all of them. I recommend checking out the link above for frequently-asked-questions and my answers. And if you still need help, you can email me. Thanks for reading!
scroll to the bottom for the printable recipe
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup salt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- food coloring
This recipe makes a large amount, probably equal to 2-3 containers from the store. So you might want to halve it or make it in 2 saucepans. I made 6 batches of the full recipe because with 3 kids wanting to play with it, it’s good to have more to go around. More to go around = less fighting.
In a 2 quart saucepan, add 1 cup of flour, 2 teaspoons of cream of tarter, and 1/3 cup of salt. Yup, that’s 1/3 cup of salt. Don’t make my mistake and misread it to mean teaspoon. I could blame my toddler because he was hanging on my leg. Yeah that’s it. That resulted in a stickier ball of playdough. The salt keeps it from sticking and also helps preserve it, so you definitely want that in there. If you make more than one batch, feel free to play around with the amount though. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup and that made it a little too much of a salty texture for what we wanted so I decreased it to 1/3 cup and that worked much better.
Add 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. You could probably use canola oil if you don’t have vegetable oil, but as I haven’t tried it, I can’t make any promises.
Turn your burner on medium/low and stir. It will be a little lumpy. That’s okay.
Keep stirring until it starts getting a little solid. If there are still a few lumps, that’s ok – you can work them out later. If your stove is already hot, this may only take 20-30 seconds, but it may take 2-3 minutes if it’s still heating up.
Once it reaches that point, add the food coloring right away. It will be much easier to mix up if you do it now. I showed the regular food coloring you can get from the grocery store in the ingredients picture (because it’s easier to identify) but I used my favorite AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste Food Color - this food coloring is amazing – a little goes a long way and you get such rich colors easily. I rave about this every chance I get.
Stir in your food coloring – my kids wanted orange here, not that can you exactly tell the color from the picture below:
Stir that color in!
Now the dough will start getting thicker and a little lumpy. Just keep stirring.
Once the dough starts gathering together around the spoon you know it’s done. This may be 20 seconds or 2 minutes from the time you put the food coloring in, again depending on how hot your stove is. My first batch was longer, but once I whipped together more batches, it literally only took a few seconds and a total of 2 minutes on the stove from start to finish.
Take it out of the saucepan and put it on some waxed paper or a plate to cool.
Once it’s cooled, I like to knead the playdough for a minute or two to get out any lumps and to get it to a better consistency. Then again it could just be my excuse to squish it myself before handing it over to the kids…but I’m not admitting anything…
Doesn’t it look fun?
See all the colors? Now don’t you want to make some and squish it?
For storage, I just have the kids put it in a ziploc bag. It seems to be hardier than the store bought stuff and doesn’t dry out as easily. If it does get dry, you can work a few drops of water into it.
I have an old batch I made over a year ago and it’s still going strong!