making dough

homemade playdough

I've never been much for buying things I can make.  Especially things that can be ingested by my kids. Play dough is just one of those things that always gave me the willies when my first babe was little.  I was fairly determined to make something that he could play with that would have a few "better" features than the store bought variety.  I wanted the dough to be more pliable and easier to work with, for small hands still in motor development stages.  I wanted it to be fairly odourless.  I wanted it to be non-toxic as I was pretty certain that some of it would end up in my little guy's mouth. 

homemade playdough

I stumbled upon a homemade play dough recipe about 9 years ago and have been making it ever since.  I've tried to remember the original source of the recipe over the years but I only draw blanks.  I'm not even sure how close to the original our recipe has remained as I've tweaked it over the years, out of necessity I might add, as I haven't had a stellar memory in remembering ingredients. 

homemade playdough

Well here it is for you to give a whirl.

Homemade Play dough

1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of salt
2 TBSP of cream of tartar
1 cup of water
1 TBSP of vegetable oil
a few drops of food coloring (or cake decorating pigment)

Whisk dry ingredients together in a saucepan then add the wet ingredients.  With a wooden spoon, stir and cook on medium heat until mixture becomes thick and pulls away from the sides of pot.  Remove the dough from the pot and let it cool; then kneed it a few times to give it a smooth consistency.  This stage also helps to set the colors of you are using the cake decorating pigments.   I prefer the cake decorating pigments because the colors are more vibrant.

homemade playdough

As for storing, I use plastic zip bags and then an airtight container.
The dough lasts forever and I usually don't have to make more until the
kidlets have mixed all the colors and it resembles army green. If you decide to make this drop a comment and let me know how it goes.   

homemade playdough

*On a side note: Thank you to those who left comments and sent emails wishing us well.  We are safely home from our sad little road trip.  My brother in law, who just retired last year, passed away after a very quick 'bout with cancer.  Life can really suck sometimes. 


  1. Where do you buy cake decorating pigment? We need new play dough. :)

  2. This is a GREAT recipe. I've been using the same one in my classroom for years...and it's the one my Mom used for us kids when we were growing up. So much better than the store bought stuff.

  3. Homemade playdough is the best. I have other recipes I love too, one for playdough that smells like gingerbread and one that calls for Koolaid (It doesn't taste good so my kids have never been too tempted to eat it).
    Love the bright colors!!

  4. I might have to try that for my niece.
    My thoughts and for your brother in laws family.

  5. Monica, I am emailing you with a place.
    Snapshots, oh that is good to hear. I guess the recipe is an oldie and a goodie!
    DeeLight, I would love to get the recipe for the gingerbread *yum* I thought of trying Koolaid sometime but I never have it in the house.
    Thank you Tinkerblue!

  6. I honestly can't stand purchased playdough. It never lasts more than 4 days in our house. I've resorted to making my own as well (the recipe I use is pretty much the same and it's found in Company's Coming - Gifts From the Home). I've bought decorating pigment at the bulkbarn. Great place for any ingredient! I find that you get brighter colours with the pigment than the drops.

  7. Great dough colours! I love homemade dough - it's always so soft and squishy.


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