Instructables
Picture of Fluffy Stuff - two ingredient play-dough
Cloud Dough_0011.jpg
What do you get when you mix shaving cream with corn starch?

You get fluffy stuff (a mold-able play-with-me dough) that could be used to make summer snowballs.

I don't know if I found a cheaper way to entertain a group of children ranging from seven to two for an hour.

Blogger mamas throughout the web rave about this stuff and I can see why! 
It was fun to make, super messy, fun to mold, fun to squish, fun to play with, and inexpensive.

Did I mention it was really messy?

Here's how we made our fluffy stuff:
  • Dump two (2) 16-oz boxes of corn starch into a plastic container. 
  • I used a plastic box that was about 12-inches wide by 18-inches long by about 4-inches deep.  It worked really well.
  • Add an entire container of white foam shaving cream.  I got the one shown at the dollar store.
  • Let the kids mix the corn starch as you add the shaving cream and be prepared with molds if desired.  My kids used the shaving cream lid as a mold an just made mountains, a race track, "snowballs" and just had an awesome time with all the good sensory play that comes out of making this concoction.
It really is that easy.

You could also be prepared with a broom and a dust pan to clean up, as this stuff gets everywhere.
You can also save the fluffy stuff in a plastic zippered bag.

Some other notes (please see the photos):
  • As you can tell, I did this activity OUTSIDE.  Just a suggestion on my part.
  • The kids played with the corn starch for a couple minutes before adding the shaving cream to see how it feels by itself.
  • I needed help taking photos and spraying shaving cream into little hands as it is SO MESSY!  (That is not my hairy arm....)
  • I've never had kids that put things in their mouth but if you have a little one that tends to do that make sure they understand that it is NOT EDIBLE.
  • One blog post I read said that they used this "fluffy stuff" to have a summer snow ball fight.  We didn't do that this time but I may take a doubled batch of it this summer to a park to get messy and have fun before hosing off!
I spent less that $4 on this activity.  The cornstarch was on sale for $0.88 each box.  In retrospect I should have bought ten (10) of them!

The mixture washes off in the bath.  I was able to save the dough for about two weeks in a plastic sealed bag, and my kids got another use of it before it ended up on the ground. 

I think the pictures of my dirty little ones say it all!
Let me know how it works out for you and have fun playing with them while they're little, as always! =)
My sister (19) and I (16) just spent a good hour experimenting with this. Here's some of our findings:
-This stuff is fun.
-Makes a mess, but is easily wiped away with minimal effort.
-If you heat it with a hair dryer, it won't be as sticky. It becomes chalkier on the outside, actually making it easier to play with. The heat will not make it harden (As far as we know; we heated it for about 3 minutes).
Also, a small batch works fine. We made an "individual size" by just adding the corn starch and shaving gel until we had a desired amount.
DeandrasCrafts (author)  OboeNinja471 year ago
Thank you for sharing! I.Love.It.
M401 year ago
I'm confused... is Play Dough really that expensive? In comparison, this seems like a huge, messy nightmare. After seeing this Instructable, I'm thinking the real stuff is well worth spending a few bucks more!

PS - If the goal is just messy, outdoor fun, a backyard mud-pit would work just as well and costs nothing.
DeandrasCrafts (author)  M401 year ago
HI! What I will respond to you with is this: Why make anything that is "different" than what we already have?  A few good examples are like why make a Care Bear Coat or an Iron Man Arc Reactor or A lightsaber?
My answer is, especially when it comes to my children, that it's all about the experience.

You are clearly a person that appears to have experience in many things (based off a quick look at your profile.)  With that, there are some things that I'm sure you have failed at and somethings that you are really good at. 

Without experience in things that are different (even as simple as making a different kind of dough), you can't enjoy the ride of being human.  A simple change in making a different kind of dough makes kids happy and they have memories that they will have forever of playing with this corn starch-shaving cream mixture that their mom let them get messy with one weekend.  It reallly was SO FUN for them.

So, why not mix corn starch and shaving cream once in your life?  So what if play dough is a few bucks more - Have fun with it and try it once and then next weekend go in the mud pit.  For me and my family, it's all about the fun together, even if it's one hour.

Hear hear!

Paint dripping or splattering is also a really good activity for pretty much any age group, I'm 20 and love splatter or drip painting, as it is really fun and messy, plus the end product looks really cool.
Ive heard of making playdough out of cornstarch and glue too.
OK, I wanna make that stuff sooo bad.
hab2608931 year ago
This recipe made a lot of 3 year olds happy, thank you. Any other recipes or fun ideas for 3 year olds?
DeandrasCrafts (author)  hab2608931 year ago
I'm so glad they enjoyed it!
I do have one more instructable that my littlest one thoroughly enjoyed getting messy with. It's Cotton Ball Rocks.
There are so many things out on the net too.... I'll be posting one more fun dough things, hopefully soon. =)
Thanks!
cattyb1 year ago
I'll have to try this out to be sure, but I hypothesize that if you were to use small amounts in candy-type molds or slightly larger amounts in a single-serve jell-o type mold -- something where gravity holds the dough to the 'formative' part, you may end up with something rather interesting and maybe even keep-able in a couple of days! The only problem with these, especially if you use a dab of food coloring, is to keep the kids (young and old) from thinking they're edible!
DeandrasCrafts (author)  cattyb1 year ago
Please let me know if it works! Pictures are great too! If you want to do your own instructable about it, just link to this one and show us all what you did.
Thank you for reading and have fun.
When it comes to kids, you know how much fun, by how much dirt! Great job Mom.
DeandrasCrafts (author)  dalecarlile1 year ago
Thank you! =)
lovey21 year ago
If you have a 99 Cent store or dollar tree you can get both the shave cream and the corn starch and won't go bust!
annieannie1 year ago
fun fun idea... next time.. get 2 cans of shaving cream.. on a rainy day.. put the shaving cream in a baking pan, swirl some food coloring on top, give the kids some printer paper and have them lay it gently down on the colored shaving cream, letting them make awesome homemade colored paper to draw on or make masks from paperbags and paper plates with, or even make collages for fridge art ( can't tell I am a 2 times grandma can you) lol
Corn starch is not water soluable, meaning it does not DISSOLVE in water. Too much will plug pipes!
Cornstarch IS water-soluble; otherwise, we wouldn't be able to use it as a thickener in soups and stews, or to make sauces. It doesn't clog pipes.
I forgot to add, dollar tree glue sticks are your friend :)
khand1 year ago
This looks fun. I was wondering before i have a snow fight what kind of damage can it do to your grass?
Love this looks like so much fun my kids love playing in the mud so they will like this
DeandrasCrafts (author)  khand1 year ago
Someone mentioned that corn starch was not water soluble. I'm not sure but I will have to do more research.
I do not plan on doing the summer snowball fight in our yard but at a close park, just in case. We swept up the mixture and threw it away in a plastic bag and then hosed down the concrete and surrounding grass.
That's what we did and will plan on doing.... So the answer is, I don't know. Sorry. But I will keep you posted!
Thanks for reading! =)
That is such a GREAT reply to M40! Having fun through "their" eyes, is ABSOLUTELY great! It is a great experience to be a mother/father and see the new learning experiences a child goes through daily. I am a "hands" on guy. I can go through tons of schooling, but until I get to do it with my own hands, it never truly sets in. I think most kids are also like that. Even if not, we all know they love to use their hands, especially if it is to get messy! Thanks for the post, we will be trying this soon!
DeandrasCrafts (author)  boomertheboxer1 year ago
Thank you! =)
jim_lewis11 year ago
I was concerned on reading this about possible issues of toxicity if kids eat the stuff, however, I found this useful article in case anyone else is wondering:

http://msooey.tumblr.com/post/17615507730/the-infamous-shaving-cream-article
Does this wash away well in the rain? This would be fun at the next family gathering at my mother-in-laws, but I don't want to leave her with a messy yard. It's Washington State, so rain will not be an issue.

Suzanne in Orting, WA
We haven't had a good rain where we are in California so I don't know. But, we were able to hose it off the concrete and the sprinklers took care of the small amount that got on the lawn so I would have to imagine that rain would do pretty much the same thing. The key is to pick up and throw away clumps, I think.... :)
phmanzano1 year ago
Sounds fun!
Too bad corn starch is so expensive here.
Does it work with flour?
Are there other sources of starch available to you? Potato starch or rice starch? If using a flour, it think you'd want to go with a finely milled, low gluten/gluten free flour. I think the lack of gluten is one of the reasons for using corn starch. There would be enough water in the shaving cream to start activating the gluten, making the mixture stiff.

Good Luck,

Suzanne in Orting, WA
DeandrasCrafts (author)  phmanzano1 year ago
I'm not sure but maybe we will try that next! I will keep you posted as that sounds like a fun experiement to me. Have a great day!
Choperos1 year ago
How firm does the dough become?Because if this gets firm enough and doesn't become a squishy (fun!) mess,I could use it as an alternative for plasticine for moulds and the like... Projects that give pleasure to kids >>> all others!
DeandrasCrafts (author)  Choperos1 year ago
I can tell you that the dough is very light (hence the fluffy.)
I'm not sure but I don't think it would hold a mold for long. We didn't experiment with trying to dry it out either, but because of the shaving cream, I would imagine it would deflate some.
Interesting thoughts and I hope someone has time to experiment with it!
WouterZ1 year ago
How cool... You made me smile. Thanks!!!
DeandrasCrafts (author)  WouterZ1 year ago
Awww! Thank you for sharing that with me. =)
My grandchildren are going to love this when they come over this weekend - one is 5 and the twins are 2, no problem with them putting things in their mouths. Their Mom doesn't like them to get dirty but I think (and so does Dad) that's part of being a child. He does all the laundry and gives them their baths so they're going to get dirty when they're visiting grandma. I love being a grandma, best time of my life! TY for this. I might add some food gel for my 5 year old grand child who wants all her things to be purple. Awesome idea!
DeandrasCrafts (author)  sewcraftyme1 year ago
Yay! I am so excited for them! Thank you for your positive comments and I know you'll have a great time! =)
phmanzano1 year ago
Sounds fun!
Too bad corn starch is so expensive here.
Does it work with flour?
Awesome! I never knew you could make it with just corn starch and shaving cream! Your kids always look like they are having the best time with the things you make :D
Thank you. Just reading those kind words makes my heart happy.
I want them to have way more fun than I ever did or could when I was growing up. =)