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!

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!
I used neon food coloring. The Playdough turned out great!
dsaavedra5 years ago
cool! i made a monster :)
playdo monster.jpg

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!
heres another:
playdoh face 001.jpg
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

(or whatever the small thing is)
cool animals
canida (author)  dsaavedra5 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...
asiya-2 days ago


asiya-2 days ago

great recipe.your the best

lshook18 days ago
I will be making this with my 3 yr old nephew tomorrow. I can't wait to see how it turns out!!!!
co'brien1118 days ago
Did anyone elses dough leave like a powdered saltly residue on there hands when they've been playing for a while
We are making this using a similar recipe and it works great. The only problem is we want to be able to store the dough for extended periods. We ate finding most of the dough goes moldy after about a week in a sealed bag. If it's played with constantly it's fine.
Is there anything we can do to prolong the storage life? Any kind of preservative?
Thank you in advance
We found something called much should we use if we are using 4 cups of flour?
hlook1 month ago

We just made this for my 4 year old. She loves it(so does the 14yr old). Trying it out for my preschool class for VBS. The former teacher used to make it and the kids loved it! We added the food coloring at the beginning and it worked great. Also, towards the end mixing got a bit tough so I just used my hands.

SpringRobin2 months ago

oh boy!! My carpet is not going to like this... Very nice instructible. Thank you for putting this together.

pxlchk1 made it!2 months ago

We made it! Perfectly easy. My 4 year old son and I are OVER this snow so we decided this would be a fun craft to make. He's in the kitchen with all my cookie cutters having a blast. Thanks!

dgalindo12 months ago
Home with my 3 year old son this morning. Used this recipe to make play dough in less than 30 minutes. Turned out great. Much easier than I thought it would be and the included tips were extremely helpful.
SpringRobin3 months ago

I had no idea that you could 'make' PlayDoh. Thanks for sharing!

flavrt3 months ago

Perfect recipe. TY

stevo69nz5 months ago
awesome, you're right the stuff in the shop smells yuk
I used coarse salt thinking it wouldn't matter. It did, the salt was grainy, but who cares! They loved it anyway. They are taking it to school (jk/sk) to have fun with!
rsavage56 months ago
Just this moment finished making this with my 3 year old neice - she's off playing with her brand new playdough and thinking I'm awesome and I'm happy at how easy and quick it was to make! Cheers!
galaxy_cat78 months ago
how long does the cooking process take?
Kelly0210 months ago
wow! colourful handmade play dough!
Chloe810 months ago
What a safe playdough recipe! good job.
joe ~~~~~~~10 months ago
congrats! 3,000,000+ views!
tadobbs1 year ago
I LOVE this recipe. I just got done making it for my 2 yr old she helped me make it (by stirring the dough until it was to hard for her). She is now having loads of fun playing. She even too a taste of it and said ICKY.
mgregory51 year ago
i was a little over ambitious and doubled my dough... Took a little more elbow grease than if I would have just stuck to a single order. None the less, this was amazing and worked out great!!!!
Cat20141 year ago
I only have to say it's super!
NiCaam1 year ago
I have to admit I love the smell of store bought play-dough. Just brings back childhood memories, but I love that I can make this with the kids at home. We make slime all the time, and this would be a great addition. Thanks.
MrsOwens1 year ago
Awesome! This is perfect! I cant wait to make this with my kids! Also would you mind if I shared your post on my blog?
The salt burned my fingers
I did this for a market day project at school, and got lots of customers. Great recipe.

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