How to Make Playdough (Play-doh)

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Picture of How to Make Playdough (Play-doh)
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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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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The first time I made it, it turned out perfect. The ingredients mixed together like silk and it was easy. The first time, somehow I forgot the salt and oil so it was just a big ball of sticky mess.

I've made this recipe twice, when it was done cooking it was mashed potato consistency. The next day it's gooey. Is there something I'm doing wrong?

When you put it in a container, (I put it in plastic ziploc bags) make sure you leave it open until the playdough has cooled completely. If you put it in and close it immediately, the moisture cant escape the bag.

Just made this for my daycare and it turned out perfect! Thanks for sharing!
haileyl10 days ago


BeverleyH28 days ago
Does anyone know how to make dohvinci doh? I want to get one for my daughter but i don't know if i can afford to keep buying refills... I'm disabled so money is really tight. Thanks.......

There are coupons for Dohvinci right now if that helps... Sorry, I couldn't find anyway to handmake it yet online.

I have never seen this product before...just looked it up online. Once you make a project with it is it reusable? My daughters preschool did a project with cheap foam shaving cream. They painted it into shape of a ghost (at Halloween) and let it dry. When it dried it was puffy but dry to the touch. Not sure if you could try that with a drop of food coloring in ziploc bags and snip a corner? Worth a try? Hope it works or you find something better lol
MrsGIB071 month ago

Thinking of making this for part of our Birthday Party favors. How long does it last if sealed in a bag?

I made this recipe using flavored tea so it was scented a year and half ago and we still have it. We just keep in a supermarket brand food storage container.
amy.foti.325 days ago
Great recipe! In place of the water, you can also brew flavored tea and let cool and use that to make the dough scented. We made a batch of gingerbread scented dough a year and half ago and still have it! Just keep in cheap Tupperware type container. Glitter can also be added. Great for party favors because you can customize for any party theme....thanks for recipe!!!!
Vanneste0071 month ago

Very cool, I need something similar for tests in my thesis. Do you know how much (weight) you get from following this recipe?

My 3-yr. old daughter and I made this for the second time today. Once again it turned out perfectly. One tip: Instead of food coloring, we used a few squirts of washable poster paint, stirring it in while the dough cooked. Viola, perfectly distributed color and no stained hands.

Wow, looks really good. I'll definitelly show this to my newphew the next time I babysit him.

willowsprite made it!1 month ago

Fun for all ages! We used different essential oils for each colour.

StaceyCarlyle0109 made it!1 month ago

just made this and worked perfectly, we added pink food colouring and lemon extract for a lovely smell....great recipe

Aylene121 month ago

I made it today for a project and my teacher loved it and it's better than all the other play doughs I've made.

heather.curtsinger.3 made it!1 month ago
We made this today, my two year old LOVES it! Super easy.....i do suggest gloves with the food coloring haha. My hands look like an easter egg!

I need to make this for a therapy group

How long does the PLAY DOH last on average?

I read keep it in the fridge???


my4pop11 month ago

Very nice liked. I hope you the further development.

cookie 35 made it!1 month ago
Loved this recipe! My kids loved it too!

amazing! I don't know if it should but when kept in an air tight container mine has kept for two years!! Made it but i don't have any pics of the purple greyish mass

AlexandraG21 month ago

Thanks! Super easy recipe and made it the first time today! Came out perfect!

canida (author)  AlexandraG21 month ago


Im gonna try it on the weekend I jope it turns out aswell as it turned out for you guys.
canida (author)  louise.guenette.791 month ago

How did it go? What colors did you make?

My little sister tried your project all by herself and it was a success.

canida (author)  PatrickBishop1 month ago

Great! I'm glad to help. :)

Gal.n.mi1 month ago

WOW !!!!!! Just finished a batch and it couldn't have turned out better !!!!

canida (author)  Gal.n.mi1 month ago

Excellent! I hope you had fun.

josiah.hodge2 months ago
Made this with daughter to sell as part of a school business project for her math class. Substituted out 1/4 c. of flour for unsweetened cocoa. Chocolate scented playdough! Also going to do cinnamon, vanilla, and a floral one. :) And the the trick is to just keep cooking until no longer sticky!
canida (author)  josiah.hodge1 month ago

I love this idea! Will add to the suggestions in the instructions. I hope your daughter's project went well!

aleah.ricks2 months ago
What temperature was good for cooking it in the oven? I got mine too hot and it exploded
canida (author)  aleah.ricks1 month ago

Low and slow, depends on how low your oven can handle. I usually put mine on at 200-250 and leave the door open to vent.

Probably best on a low heat, i burnt my first batch and was more careful on the second

mommy to two2 months ago
Hi. I noticed my hands drying up a little while kneading it. I dnt have sensitive skin at all. will it hurt my toddler's hands?
canida (author)  mommy to two1 month ago

It's salty dough, so your skin will dry slightly just like if you're at the beach playing in salt water. It shouldn't hurt your child's hands a bit, but if they're annoyingly dry just add a bit of lotion after washing up.

YvonneS22 months ago

I can't wait to use this on my 3D cell project! It's going to be tons of fun!

canida (author)  YvonneS21 month ago

How did it turn out? I'd love to see pictures of your cell.

econner32 months ago

I used to make this all the time when my boys were little. Once I'd tried it, I never bought the store play dough. But now they're 15 and 13 and I couldn't find my recepie for their little sister who is 18 months. Thank you for making this available so she could have this great play-dough! I love using Kool-aid for color and smell, but I didn't have any today so I tried the food coloring and essential oils. Not quite as good, but still better than the gross store bought stuff!

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