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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canida (author)  StephSky4191 month 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.

jvivian21 month 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)  jvivian21 month 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

ruthebebe1 month ago

Made this today and it turned out great, happy kids, happy Mom, thanks ;-)

Homemade playdough for Weston today!

SparkySolar1 month ago

Thank you for your nice instructable.


Best recipe ever worked perfect!! Thanks had a blast making halloween play-doh

I just used this recipe to make playdough for my kids...its awesome!! Im using this when i make playdough for my sons kindergarten class!! So easy!!
karenholt.012 months ago

Thank you for a great recipe. I made it the perfect consistency on the hob but then added food colouring to smaller batches and it became too sticky again. So I then returned each smaller amount to the hob to cook further and it's perfect :) I just hope the little munchkins in my class appreciate it tomorrow - thanks again :)

This has the most wonderful consistency- I wanted to make some for a stop motion project and this work awesomely.

ona.stewart2 months 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.

babelsgp2 months ago

I added a little vital wheat gluten to get a little more strandiness. When it got to the tough to stir phase I ended up rolling it out on parchment and microwaved for 15-30 seconds and then kneading and repeating until it was the proper consistency. When I made colors I tended to need to microwave for about 15 seconds to regain that consistency. I also used oil on my hands for the kneading. I was using a spatula and it just isn't as good as a wooden spoon for the hard work in the pot, but in the end it worked great! Thanks for the post!!

MirandaL3 months ago

Lol I had my heat up too high and burnt it! It stinks SO BAD right now, but the play doh turned out optimal. I didn't even use cream of tartar and it is just like the kind you buy at the store!

AsiaP3 months ago

Is there anything I can substitute for the cream of tartar? It's not easily available in my country.

At what temp and for how long do you bake it?

davidm63 months ago

so how long do i bake it and at what temp to harden the dough?

deannagove4 months ago

how long dose the home made play doue last?

that's a cool recipe

dumb question but do you add the food coloring along with everything else?

joel46 months ago

mameshiba bean is a sluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuug

mameshiba bean

hhogue6 months ago

can you make this without cream of tartar

Tjmack3rd6 months ago

Good Stuff!

barnum456 months ago

I got an A in class for this

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.
bopsomops NiCaam7 months ago


NiCaam bopsomops7 months ago
LOL! You should see the looks on the parents' faces when I make it. They look horrified, and I bet wonder about my mental state...don't get it. When I was little they used to sell small containers of green slime with black rubber worms in it.
The salt burned my fingers


congrats! 3,000,000+ views!


Kelly021 year ago
wow! colourful handmade play dough!
bopsomops Kelly027 months ago


how long does the cooking process take?


stevo69nz1 year ago
awesome, you're right the stuff in the shop smells yuk

it sure does

SpringRobin11 months ago

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

did you not know that you could make home made play dough?

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