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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SpringRobin5 months ago

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


asiya-3 months ago


bopsomops asiya-3 months ago


asiya-3 months ago

great recipe.your the best

lshook13 months ago
I will be making this with my 3 yr old nephew tomorrow. I can't wait to see how it turns out!!!!
co'brien113 months ago
Did anyone elses dough leave like a powdered saltly residue on there hands when they've been playing for a while
Clayton Mott4 months ago
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?
hlook4 months 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.

pxlchk1 made it!5 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!

dgalindo16 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.
flavrt6 months ago

Perfect recipe. TY

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!
rsavage59 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!
Chloe81 year ago
What a safe playdough recipe! good job.
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!
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?
I did this for a market day project at school, and got lots of customers. Great recipe.
ILoveOwls1 year ago
Is there anyway to use less salt?
ILoveOwls1 year ago
Is there anyway to use less salt?
RiyaWorks1 year ago
works perfectly! just took 6 minutes from start.
I forgot oil :) but still outcome is excellent!
salokcin1 year ago
Not sure how to search comments, so this may be a double post.

I made this last night with my 2.5yr old and he absolutely loves it!

The main problem I had is that the dough is still very grainy from the salt. I think next time I will dissolve the salt into the warm water before adding it to the rest of the dry ingredients.

i_own_swag1 year ago
will it still be a little elastic without the cream of tartar
ctschudi1 year ago
This looks like the recipe I used when the kids were kids. A friend suggested adding scents like cinnamon but I think this might encourage eating.
ruthebebe1 year ago
Hi, I made your playdough this week for a very grateful toddler, it worked really well, thank you!
rdixon101 year ago
for madison
Bluefur1 year ago
how long does it bake in the oven?
vini1011 year ago
did you color die them?
super.girl2 years ago
how long does it take being cooked? Mine took about half an hour and it's still sticky, so i've wacked it in the fridge.... any tips?
Great website though!!!!
da dumby keep cookin it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I really like the concept! I will pass this link to my girlfriend who works as a baby sitter. I am sure kids love ie
oooohooohoooo someone is in love did you kiss her yet
mvillett1 year ago
mine grew mold
mistymoocow2 years ago
mine turn out good thanks
hi this is really great recipe but can any one tell me are they turn dry after some time ?or remain smooth n elastic ?
arh don't add cinnamon it makes you want to eat it and believe me you don't want to eat it!
wolfoxx2 years ago
Hey there. I'm really interested in this recipe and due to there being over 500 comments before me and looking through them all I thought it would be quicker to ask. The salt in this recipe is used as a preservative in this mixture correct? And possibly to keep children/animals eating it. But what if I want to eat it. Personally it looks quite edible and something of this texture is really what I'm looking for. I'm sure there are other doughs out there I could use but, play dough has such a marvellously unique texture. Anyway, as I said before, salt is used as a preservative here, but sugar is also a preservative. Have you tried this recipe with sugar instead? I think the quantity would have to be reduced a bit because it would probably be a little too sweet, but none-the-less I think It would work. I'll probably give it a go in the near future at half the quantity to try it out but I thought I'd ask before hand in case you, or anyone else who may read this has tried and it failed miserably. Thank you for this wonderful instructable, you explained it thoroughly and precisely with well-taken pictures.
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