The Best Playdough Recipe

Play dough is the perfect rainy day activity, and we love making it in our kitchen.  When you make your own playdough with the best playdough recipe ever, you get way more dough  for your money than when you go out and buy it.

Plus, this homemade playdough is so much softer and easier to mold than the store-bought stuff!

The best playdough recipe you will ever make! You can make green, blue, yellow, and red DIY playdough.

Homemade Playdough

At Kids Activities Blog, we love making playdough and have several different recipes for you to try. This DIY playdough recipe has been around forever and there is good reason why it is a favorite recipe.

When I was teaching kindergarten, another preschool teacher passed it down to me as a “trade secret” but I didn’t think it was fair not to share (what I think is) the best homemade playdough recipe with you guys.

Oh, and it is an easy recipe!  So, here it is!

This article contains affiliate links.

How to make playdough using the best playdough recipe! You can make 4 big balls of yellow playdough, red, green, and blue playdough.

DIY Playdough Ingredients and Supplies

  • 2 Cups of Flour
  • 2 Tbsp of Oil (any oil will do, coconut oil, vegetable oil, even olive oil)
  • 1/2 Cup of Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 1/2 Cup Boiling Water
  • Gel Food Coloring (Optional)

The secret to brilliant colors in your playdough is using gel food coloring – we find ours in the cake decorating sections of craft/hobby stores, or on the baking aisle in the grocery store. Gel food coloring is definitely the best dye for homemade playdough.

How to make playdough by adding flour in a metal bowl, salt, cream of tar tar, water, oil, mix and form! Add food coloring gel to make red, yellow, blue, and green homemade playdough.

How to Make Playdough

  1. Let’s start with the dry ingredients. Pour 2 cups of  flour into a large bowl.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of salt.
  3. Mix in 2 tbsp Cream of Tartar. (You can find this in the spice section of just about any grocery store.)
  4. Add 2 tbsp of oil. For this recipe I used vegetable oil, but you can use any oil, and as long as it’s a kitchen oil, your playdough will be non-toxic and safe if a little one takes a tiny taste.  The sodium level is very high, so we don’t encourage this to double as a snack.
  5. Pour in the boiling hot water. Be VERY careful because this makes the dough HOT!
  6. Mix all the ingredients together until they form the dough. At this point, if you don’t want to add any drops of food dye to your playdough, you’re finished!
  7. After it’s cooled, to make several different colors of playdough, separate the dough into equal parts and roll it up into balls.
  8. Now, punch out the middle of the ball to leave a little bowl for you to pour your gel food dye into.
  9. Drip your gel dye into the bowls. This is a great time to mix dye colors if you want to make another color.
  10. Knead the dough until the dye is thoroughly mixed. This is VERY messy! If you don’t want to stain your hands with the sticky mess, use gloves, and make sure to put something down so you don’t stain your counter (like I did).
  11. Add your favorite playdough smells – extracts and essential oils that fit the colors you chose.

The squished playdough recipes with yellow, red, green, and blue playdough.

How to store Homemade Playdough

Store homemade play dough in an airtight container.

We noticed that our dough began to smell a bit sour after a month or two (which really is a long time!). Our solution: using Kool-Aid coloring (the flavor would mask the smell – but the colors weren’t as brilliant), or adding a few drops of candy extracts/oils.

My kids have enjoyed making peppermint or orange or cinnamon scented doughs! Have fun coming up with your own scent/color creations by adding drops of your favorite essential oils making it perfect for sensory play.

The Only Play Dough Recipe You’ll Ever Need

We hope you will love this best recipe as much as we have. It is nice having homemade play dough recipe that you know is safe for your children and it is just fun to make together with your kids…even young children.

Not only is it great for crafts and activities (see more playdough activities below), but I always loved DIY Playdough, because it is squishier than store bought Play Doh, and that makes it useful for stress.  It is also nice to have your own play dough – something customized with your favorite colors and smells.

Your child have a frustrating day? Squeezing playdough and vigorously squishing it is a great way to get out pent up frustration, plus I’ve been known to do it a time or two.

But tell us below, did you try this playdough recipe. If so, did you and your kiddos love it too?

Playdough Recipe

the best playdough recipe ever

Learn how to make playdough with this easy playdough recipe. This homemade playdough is the squishiest, softest, and the best!

Materials

  • 2 Cups of Flour
  • 2 Tbsp of Oil (any oil will do, coconut oil, vegetable oil, even olive oil)
  • 1/2 Cup of Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 1/2 Cup Boiling Water
  • Gel Food Coloring (Optional)

Instructions

  1. Pour 2 cups of  flour into a bowl.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of salt.
  3. Mix in 2 tbsp Cream of Tartar. (You can find this in the spice section of just about any grocery store.)
  4. Add 2 tbsp of oil. For this recipe I used vegetable oil, but you can use any oil, and as long as it's a kitchen oil, your playdough will be non-toxic and safe if a little one takes a tiny taste.  The sodium level is very high, so we don't encourage this to double as a snack.
  5. Pour in the boiling water. Be VERY careful because this makes the dough HOT!
  6. Mix all the ingredients together until they form the dough. At this point, if you don't want to add any food dye to your playdough, you're finished!
  7. After it's cooled, to make several different colors of playdough, separate the dough into equal parts and roll it up into balls.
  8. Now, punch out the middle of the ball to leave a little bowl for you to pour your gel food dye into.
  9. Drip your gel dye into the bowls. This is a great time to mix dye colors if you want to make another color.
  10. Knead the dough until the dye is thoroughly mixed. This is VERY messy! If you don't want to stain your hands, use gloves, and make sure to put something down so you don't stain your counter (like I did).

Notes

We noticed that our dough began to smell a bit sour after a month or two. Our solution: using Kool-Aid coloring (the flavor would mask the smell - but the colors weren't as brilliant), or adding a few drops of candy extracts/oils.

My kids have enjoyed making peppermint or orange or cinnamon scented doughs! Have fun coming up with your own scent/color creations.

 

 

The Best Playdough recipes to play with!

More Playdough Recipes, Activities & Fun from Kids Activities Blog

We have over 30 playdough recipes and playdough activities for you to choose from!

22 Comments

  1. Great recipe Rachel! We made some and the kids had a blast with it! Another tip: adding a tsp of lemon juice to the water, prior to blending will help preserve the dough and keep away smells! Thanks for the great recipe!

  2. You made some first rate factors there. I looked on the web for the difficulty and located most people will associate with along with your website.

  3. We make this all the time and love it! I put the food coloring in the water to avoid the messy fingers 🙂

  4. For older children who are less likely to put it in their mouth, use baby oil, it smells lovely. ????

  5. I Liked this mixture. My kids loved playing with it for about 45 minutes. They are 2.5 and 6. I liked that it was softer and not smelling like play dough. I struggled getting the dough to take a vibrant color. We used the gel icing as suggested but the colors seemed dull. My kids didn’t mind tho!

  6. You can send me art idea

  7. I don’t have cream of tartar, can I substitute baking powder or baking soda or cornstarch? My son loves clay he’s 2 1/2

  8. Plays oh is still sticky, how do I fix it?

  9. Hi! Great recipe 🙂

    Tea Tree essential oil is another great natural preservative that will help your play dough last longer. Lavender E/O is also, and it is very calming for your little ones. Used to work like a charm for my kids. Also a touch of glitter if you have children like mine who like all things sparkly. 😉

  10. Jennifer Self says:

    I just made this with my 4 year old and he loved it. My 11 month old was playing in it as well. We live in an area where we can’t get the gel food coloring so we got creative. I added one packet of red koolaid to the flour mixture before stiring in the water. It was a great color, smelled good and it didnt stain my hands. We plan to go buy different koolaid flavors to make other colors. Thanks for the wonderful easy recipe!

  11. My play dough was a little sticky, any suggestions?

  12. Kristen Yard says:

    Hi! Try adding a bit more flour, a little at a time, until you reach the consistency you prefer.

  13. After the dough is made, does it stain surfaces while your kids are using it?

  14. Kristen Yard says:

    Hi, Tracy! Each surface is different, porous, etc. so I can’t give you a definitive answer. To be safe, I always cover our table with a plastic table cloth, or you can even cover it with wax paper. Have fun!

  15. Christine says:

    Hi there!!
    thanks so much for sharing this great activity and wonderful recipe !!
    Wondering if I want to add scent to the playdough like essential oil, when should I add ? In the boiling water or when I start kneading the dough?
    thanks heaps!

  16. how well does this work and do i need a old bowl

  17. This is one of our favorite play dough recipes that has been made a million times. You don’t need to worry about ruining a bowl unless you are going to use a plastic bowl and ton of food coloring that could discolor it. If you use a stainless steel or glass bowl you won’t need to worry about that or if you use a plastic bowl with limited food coloring, that will help too.

  18. Gabriella Leon says:

    What can you use if you have no tartar sauce?

  19. I think one of the best substitutes for cream of tartar is baking powder and that is what I would try first if you don’t have any cream of tartar.

  20. Keeps for months or more In fridge. I’ve never had it smell. I also add the flour mixture to the boiling water and stir it over the stove until it comes into a ball; maybe that makes a difference too as to how long it lasts.

  21. Kristen Yard says:

    All good tips, Shannon! Thank you for sharing! We are so glad that you are enjoying this play dough recipe!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *