Picture of Easy, Affordable, Play Dough!
Play dough is a fun, clay - like substance that kids love! It is very easy to make, and provides hours of fun! It can be expensive to buy at stores, but it's very easy and costs nothing to make it at home! The only materials you will need are:
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
food dye (any color, be creative!)
newspaper to cover the surface you're working on

It only takes about 10 minutes to make

Some credit goes to my younger sister for the help. (most of the pictures are of her.)

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Step 1: Set Up

Picture of Set Up
Find a good work space (I used the floor) and cover it with newspaper. also, find a medium sized bowl for mixing.

Step 2: Add the Ingredients

Picture of Add the Ingredients
Measure out 1 cup of four, and pour it into the bowl.
then, measure out 1/2 cup of salt, and add that to the bowl, too.
lastly, fill the measuring cup with 1/2 cup of water and pour it into the mixing bowl.

Step 3: Mix it!

Picture of Mix it!
take a spoon - any spoon will do; and use it to mix up the ingredients. Mix it until it's mushy and it's neither watery nor flour - y.

Step 4: Color it!

Picture of Color it!
Add a few drops of food dye to the mush. then pick it up and start kneading it. this is easy, just play around with it. if desired, add more food dye to improve color.

Step 5: Viola!

Picture of Viola!
You're finished! if it's a little sticky, knead a tiny bit of flour into it. use your imagination! you can make whatever you'd like!
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this does not work it came out to sticky i had to throw it out but thx anyway for posting

it came out sticky for me as well I just added more flour. but the 2nd batch I did less water and substituted oil came out perfect

you just had to put flour into it

this is fabulous!! i made it :-D i have had so many disasters with recipes, but thanks to you :-) i made it :-) i just added a little olive oil and a sprinkle of corn flour :-) thank you :-)

ayjayvee1 month ago
I just made this with two 4-year-old boys. We each made our own batch, so they could each do *and* watch. The recipe works well. Each batch came out a little different in texture at first, but as noted, it's easy to add a bit of flour to make it thicker or less sticky, or water if gets too thick to mix. The boys are delighted with the huge batches (compared to commercial sets) and custom colors.
Sparklemamma3 months ago
Added a little oil and used some of my water colors mixed when I added liquids. Plus koolaid to make it smell fruity!
Gymnasticsg3 months ago

Thanks so much for this great recipe!

luluha84 months ago
awesome thanks

I made this recipe and it worked great! I didn't add any coloring, keeping the color white and added glitter and a little peppermint extract. Next time I'll dissolve the salt in warm water first but I'm overall happy with how it came out! The recipe made a ton. I think I'll make some different scented ones, cinnamon, almond; the possibilities are endless!

chandra.roy26 months ago

It's a gd recipe for making dough. When I made it , it turned out too sticky so had to keep adding more flour to get the right consistency. Also, we had no color at home, so I dissolved some turmeric powder in water & added that to make a yellow colored dough. :)

Charlobrine6 months ago

The only colour I had was black, so I ended up making half black and half white.

It's really fun :) If I held it gooped everywhere.

Keep it in wax paper or similar - It won't stick. And don't use gel dyes. Anyone who touches it will have [coloured] hands for the rest of the week xD

baileeann3 years ago
i love my sister and brother love it 2
hey there i must agree with you because my childeren love to help me make it because you dont have to cook it they can help me.
i dont agree mine did not work came out too sticky my kids threw it out

You're meant to add more flour for less sticky.

monsterbully6 months ago

A good tip is to use gel food colors instead of liquid if you want a brighter, bolder color. And the previous poster who talked about "highlighter juice" meant she broke open highlighter pens with liquid ink and mixed that in because highlighter colors (all of them) are blacklight reactive. I made this and I found I had to keep adding more flour because it kept getting sticky but after a while it seemed okay. It didn't matter much because the kids had fun nbecause they got to make it all by themselves, mixing the gooey mess (at first) and had fun molding with the play-doh like mixture when it was finished.

jamess56 months ago

a bread maker is the best , cleanest way, to mix your play dough! use it on dough setting

caitlinm6 months ago

if you make this and put it in a piping bag you can use it as dohvinci

erik.m.brage7 months ago

Back in the good-old seventies we added a tablespoon of alum powder (aluminium potassium
sulfate or similar) however since this is poisonous (moderately so if properly mixed into the dough) I recently saw a new receipe using citric acid instead. Perhaps that will keep the dough from drying out?


I'm always on the lookout for easy & affordable toddler activity ideas and this fits the bill:) We included it in a roundup of such activity ideas over at Hint Mama. Here's the link and enjoy:)

polerix4 years ago
i added glitter, highlighter juice, and mint essence. makes blacklight reactive, glittery, and smells great!
Highlighter juice. Do you mean whiteout? I should think there are other things that could also make it blacklight reactive. They might even result in different colors.
Can you give some examples, please? I love playdough but playdough that reacts to black light would be totally awesome! :)

But you probably want to keep it non toxic. I am curious what he meant also. Does sound awesome.

Highlighter Juice that Polerix talked about is probably the ink from an orange, yellow or green highlighter pen, but you would probably have to ask him directly. What occurred to me is that Visine and Quinine (Tonic Water) both flouresce under UV light.

Without the oil, cream of tartar and cooking it was too sticky. I prefer the cooked version. I also add jello to the flour mix to have it smell good. Thank you though your pics and instructions are very clear. Love your snail.

kat.milner.107 months ago

added glitter

tem27 months ago

i did this today. my daughters is a dark green and mine a dark it thanks for the instructions

karatedragon69 months ago

i made it but have no images.

by the way i give this instructable no credit because i made it before i saw it

check out my instructable, how to take apart a computer by karatedragon6

by the way add more salt and a little baby powder to make it dry out less
aadams3610 months ago

Can you mix the cream or tartar in with this to provide elasticity or does that only work with the cooked version?

TinyEYE10 months ago

Play dough is frequently used as a tool for development of motor coordination in Occupational Therapy. We linked to this recipe to allow parents to get their children involved right from Step 1 (making the play dough), on a list of 7 Ways Parents Can Help Young Children Develop Motor Skills, found here:

tyger5711 year ago
I'm gonna try this when I get home
Me and my friend made this while baby sitting and it was fun! The only prob is that it drys out VERY fast! We had to keep adding water like every 7 mins or so! Yet overall, it was very fun and great for kids!
people1011 year ago
people1011 year ago
relly cool it is also called salt dough
amcgugan2 years ago
Thank you for this great post it is very clear and the pics are brill...
mgonzalez372 years ago
how long does it last?
lbennett102 years ago
I do this all the time with my pre-school students and it works like a charm. I do add a little but of cream of tarter for elastic purposes. I also use a little less salt than the recipe instructs, and it works just fine :) The problem with this, as any play dough made from scratch is the food coloring part, I find that using plastic gloves works the best until all of the color is kneaded.
abihunter2 years ago
this is fab, thanks for posting it, i made some to use in some photos on my blog, pictures here
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