How to Make Playdough (Play-doh)

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Playdough (aka Play-doh) is easy to make at home, and fun for kids of all ages.  Here's how to make your own non-toxic toy with custom colors and fragrances.

This is the classic method that involves a bit of cooking on the stovetop - I prefer it because cooked playdough has a better texture than uncooked varieties.  If you want the kids to be able to do it all themselves, try this uncooked playdough recipe.

Warning:  Keep away from dogs and other pets.  Playdough smells like people food but contains lots of salt, and a hungry dog can eat enough to cause a dangerous salt imbalance.

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Step 1: Ingredients

Playdough is a classic childhood toy everyone can have fun with, and it's so easy to make at home you'll never buy that stinky store variety again.

Basic ingredient ratios:
2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
1 cup salt
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon cream of tartar (optional for improved elasticity)

food coloring (liquid, powder, or unsweetened drink mix)
scented oils

Step 2: Mix and heat

Mix all of the ingredients together, and stir over low heat. The dough will begin to thicken until it resembles mashed potatoes.

When the dough pulls away from the sides and clumps in the center, as shown below, remove the pan from heat and allow the dough to cool enough to handle.

IMPORTANT NOTE: if your playdough is still sticky, you simply need to cook it longer!
Keep stirring and cooking until the dough is dry and feels like playdough.
I've gotten many comments asking about sticky dough, so please just keep cooking a bit longer and it will work!

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trinarundgrenphotography made it!20 days ago

My son loved this playdoh. perfect consistency. will make this again and again for sure.


Awesome! He looks so happy, too. :D

I used neon food coloring. The Playdough turned out great!

WOW! that play dough looks so shiny and perfect

no it doesn't! (me)

it is awesome

dsaavedra6 years ago
cool! i made a monster :)
playdo monster.jpg
heres another:
playdoh face 001.jpg

(or whatever the small thing is)
TrisC codongolev2 months ago

yeah eat it


it looks like a head a eating a rabbit, just like Bambi! except even more bad I mean who would eat a small hare???!!!
yah!! i closed up on it and it looks like a buny
TrisC Sunny1246132 months ago

it is a bunny

awesome! and freaky at the same time. but still AWESOME!

your monster is skux as dude

have great news!

This posting has won today's "I Made It" Challenge. For winning you will receive a 3 month pro membership!

Thanks for using instructables!
cool animals
canida (author)  dsaavedra6 years ago
pwnage! i like that! its godzilla!!!!!!!!!! aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!
vhata6 years ago
I used this recipe and mine turned out great! check it out...
vhata vhata6 years ago
Here is a pic...
bopsomops vhata7 months ago



IsaacH bopsomops3 months ago

u are wierd

In my (almost 2 year old) sons stocking for Christmas this year he received a package of cream of tartar and a box of neon liquid food coloring. When he unwrapped it, he looked at me like... umm ok? I then tried to explain to him that I was going to make playdough with him. He had no idea what I was talking about. So thankfully this weekend I was able to make it for him using this recipe, It turned out great and he loves it! He enjoyed helping me too. This process is not messy at all! Thanks for the memories!
itsagoa13 hours ago

does the cream of tartar make it taste better and is it the same as the one you use on fish?

DeborahK122 hours ago

I made this today using leftover egg dye from Easter lol. I only had orange but anyway it turned out perfectly. A very easy and cool recipe. Two thumbs up.

mtrottster made it!yesterday

Here's 2 batches, bagged up and ready to head to nursery in the morning! I find that putting the liquid in first and then whisking in the dry ingredients little by little (and switching to a spoon when it gets too thick) makes it much smoother. I always add my colour and scent into the water at the start since I'm making one whole batch for a class. This is by far my favourite recipe!

2014-11-23 22.14.42.jpg
My girls and I made this yesterday and it was so great. They love it. It smells like store bought playdoh and looks like store bought playdoh but we made it and I know what's in it. It's also way cheaper than store bought playdoh.
ona.stewart1 month ago

Mine turned out perfectly well. I did not have food colouring but... I came up with a briliant idea. I had a can of pickled beetroot and I used the beetroot juice from the can instead of food colouring the colour of the play dough came out perfect pink. My daughter loves it. And it is 100 % natural. If she tries to eat it it is safe.

canida (author)  ona.stewart6 days ago

Brilliant! Love your solution.

itzkara1 month ago

My kids are excited for the never ending play dough! Thank you for this recipe! It was so quick and easy I don't plan on ever buying playdo in the store again!

canida (author)  itzkara6 days ago

Awesome, glad to help! My kids love it too. :)

StephSky41925 days ago

I made this and it turned out wonderfully. The only thing I didn't figure out was that I put food coloring in later in the cooking process when I probably should have done it when it was still liquidy. So it came out with a weird marbling effect. The consistency was spot on, though!

canida (author)  StephSky4196 days ago

Should be no problem adding food coloring later; it will mix in as you use the play dough. Though I'm certainly partial to a marbling effect.

jvivian220 days ago
I followed all the directions but i didn't use cream of tarter because i don't have it.
I cooked and stirred the dough for an hour but the more i cooked it the sticker the dough got.
I took it out and added colors then i tried cooking out the extra moisture but the dough just continues to get stickier the more I try to cook it.

I even tried the microwave. It just isn't working.

I really don't know what went wrong, please help.
canida (author)  jvivian26 days ago

The cream of tarter shouldn't affect stickiness, just elasticity once the play dough is done. It sounds like your play dough just hadn't dried out enough. Was it a rainy or humid day? Sometimes that can make the cooking process drag on forever. Also might re-check your proportions, if you didn't use enough flour it may never thicken.

Interesting idea. My daughter would love this

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