Today we are learning how to make essential oil playdough, a really fun craft for kids of all ages and a great way to have fun while curing our bad mood.

At my house, we love making playdough with homemade ingredients, and we decided it would be fun to make lemon essential oil playdough to make us feel better when we’re feeling a little down.

Stack of six yellow Lemon Essential Oil Playdough patties on a clean white surface with the text "Bad Day playdough recipe with lemon essential oil"
Making smell-good playdough is a great way to brighten your day!

When to make play doh with essential oils

Lemon essential oil is popular for having properties that help with exhaustion, inflammation, anxiety, and other uses. Besides, its refreshing scent is purifying and can help put you in a better mood, sooth anxiety, and help lift the spirits.

Lemon essential oil is said to make you feel more energetic, happy, and even help improve your memory.  So, why not let your kids play with this lemon scented playdough when they’re studying for a big test?

Combining a few drops of essential oils with play dough results in aromatherapy play dough which is a great way to make anyone feel happy and full of energy. However – this is not professional medical advice and we recommend you consult a doctor if you need any medical treatment.

Our homemade playdough recipes with different essential oils are a great way to promote fine motor skills and create a fun sensory experience for little kids, while older kids will enjoy the aromatherapy benefits of therapeutic playdough play.

The best part is that even adults can discover the benefits of essential oils in a simple way. Playdough is for everyone!

You only need a few SIMPLE ingredients for Lemon Essential Oil Playdough

  • 2 Cups of Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Oil (I used coconut oil melted in the microwave, but you can use a different oil like sunflower oil)
  • 1/2 Cup Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Cream Of Tartar (You can find this on the spice aisle)
  • 1 1/2 Cup Water (boiling)
  • 10-20 Drops Lemon essential oil (Depending on how strong you like the scent to be)
  • A few drops of Food Coloring

Steps for Making Lemon Essential Oil Play Dough

Step 1 – Making the Homemade Play Dough

The first step is making the play dough. To make it, you need to stir together your salt, flour, cream of tartar and oil in a large bowl.

Then it’s time to add the boiling water, and keep stirring until it forms a dough. This will take a couple of minutes until the consistency is just right.

Step 2 -Adding the Lemon Essential Oil

Once it’s mixed pretty thoroughly and has had a chance to cool a bit, you can add the essential oil and food coloring. You don’t need a lot of food coloring – a few drops will be enough.

Step 3 – Knead, knead, knead!

This step takes a while, but trust us, it will be worth it. Just knead the dough on a hard surface until the dye is thoroughly mixed into the dough. This takes a while, but keep working at it!

It’s very important to be careful because it could still be really hot! Always try it yourself before letting a kid get near. 

Step 4 – Play With Your Own Playdough With Essential Oils

Now comes the fun part – play time! Make a ball of dough ee how your kids enjoy the relaxation benefits of playdough fun with the essential oils. They can make playdough snakes, houses, little people, use cookie cutters to create shapes… the options are endless. For best results, make play dough using different food coloring to maximize the fun.

You can store your new play dough in a ziploc bag but preferably in an air-tight container so it will last for much longer.

Yield: 1

Lemon Essential Oil Play Dough

Follow this easy recipe to make lemon essential oil play dough to lift your kiddo's spirit when needed.


  • 2 Cups of Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Oil (I used coconut oil melted in the microwave)
  • 1/2 Cup of Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Cream Of Tartar (You can find this on the spice aisle)
  • 1 1/2 Cup Water (boiling)
  • 10-20 Drops Lemon essential oil (Depending on how strong you like the scent to be)
  • A few drops of Food Coloring


  • medium-sized pot to boil water
  • big bowl


    1. Mix the salt, flour, cream of tartar, and oil together in a big bowl.

    2. Then add the boiling water and keep stirring until it forms a dough.

    3. Once it's mixed and has cooled down a bit, add the essential oil and food coloring.

    4. Knead the dough until the dye is thoroughly mixed. This step might take a while, but keep working at it.

    5. Enjoy your homemade playdough with lemon essential oil.


Make sure the dough has cooled down before handing it to children.

Closeup photo of a child's hands holding a yellow glob of Lemon Essential Oil Playdough
Kids of all ages love playdough.

We love our lemon essential oil playdough. My daughter and her friends played with it for hours and even took it to the restaurant to play with instead of their iPads! (That was quite a huge feat for these tech-crazed girls!)

It smells amazing, but if it starts to lose it’s smell, you can always just add a few more drops of lemon essential oil to the mix. You can add some drops of lavender too. And, if it starts to dry out, you can just add a few drops of oil.

I don’t know if it was the essential oils or the playdough that made their mood better, but they laughed and enjoyed themselves the entire time they played with this bad mood playdough!

We will definitely be making it again!

two-photo collage of a young girl with eyes closed smelling the blob of lemon essential oil playdough in her hands on the left and a clear glass jar with a stack of yellow essential oil playdough patties filling it on the right.
Mmmm it smells just like fresh lemons!

We used yellow dye in our playdough to make ours look like a lemon, but you could make it in any color!  Or even try natural playdough dyes like they used over at Mommypotamus!

New to Essential Oils?

Ha! Me too…awhile ago.

It can be overwhelming with so many oils & choices.

Essential oils are, in short words, concentrated plant extracts that have beneficial properties. Essential oils are used in aromatherapy and has benefits that help improve health. Among their health benefits, essential oils help:

  • boost your mood
  • reduce stress
  • increase attentiveness
  • improve sleep
  • reduce anxiety
  • reduce inflammation
  • and many other things.

Since essential oils come from plants, their benefits are derived from the plant they are extracted from. Find out which are the best essential oils for your needs!

Did you try this play dough with essential oils recipe? Did you like it? Let us know in the comments!

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