Instructables

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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cool animals
canida (author)  dsaavedra6 years ago
Sweet!
pwnage! i like that! its godzilla!!!!!!!!!! aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!
jvivian23 months 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.
The same thing happened to me. I eventually pulled it out, cooled it off and kneaded flour in until it became manageable. It still never felt like playdoh. Oh well. It was snowing, so maybe that affected it? Going to use more flour firsthand next time.
The same thing happened to me. I eventually pulled it out, cooled it off and kneaded flour in until it became manageable. It still never felt like playdoh. Oh well. It was snowing, so maybe that affected it? Going to use more flour firsthand next time.
canida (author)  jvivian23 months 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.

It amazes me how easy this is to make.

Mommaapple made it!1 month ago
My sons preschool teacher loves the playdoh I make with this recipe!
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axel982 months ago

This is a amazing recipe, do you think i will able to do a creation like this with my home made playdough ?? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjpFRl0mHb0&list=PLvI3_-P-nGG2j1-sqnVrQ9gv9T8cls6LM

We loved this playdough! We've used a couple different recipes and this was my favorite for both simplicity and the consistency of the dough.

JoeyK12 months ago

Just wondering, can you use Kosher salt?

ona.stewart4 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.

yes i also love this idea but came up with my own great soloution it is not toxic depending on what type you use but i dont have food colouring so i use acrylic paint but make sure before you use it you check it isnt toxic paint lol xx (:

yes i also love this idea but came up with my own great soloution it is not toxic depending on what type you use but i dont have food colouring so i use acrylic paint but make sure before you use it you check it isnt toxic paint lol xx (:

canida (author)  ona.stewart3 months ago

Brilliant! Love your solution.

itsagoa3 months ago

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

DeborahK13 months 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!3 months ago

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!

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serina.mcgee3 months ago
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.
itzkara4 months 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)  itzkara3 months ago

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

StephSky4194 months 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)  StephSky4193 months 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.

trinarundgrenphotography made it!3 months ago

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

playdoh.jpg
canida (author)  trinarundgrenphotography3 months ago

Awesome! He looks so happy, too. :D

davidbarcomb3 months ago

Interesting idea. My daughter would love this

ruthebebe3 months ago

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

Homemade playdough for Weston today!

little squash4 months ago
Interesting...
SparkySolar4 months ago

Thank you for your nice instructable.

Rima

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!!
airrikajswan made it!4 years ago
I used neon food coloring. The Playdough turned out great!
IMG_5511.jpgIMG_5525.JPG

WOW! that play dough looks so shiny and perfect

no it doesn't! (me)

it is awesome

karenholt.014 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.stewart4 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.

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