# How to make conductive play dough.

3 Steps
All credits go to the people over at the squishy circuits website.

I was on hackaday earlier this year and I found an article on squishy circuits.  I thought making circuits from play dough sounded like a very interesting idea.  I did some research into it and it seemed simple enough; different ingredients created different values of resistance and so on.  I thought about it, and decided that I had to make some for myself.  I threw some together and it worked great!  In this instructable I will provide the recipe for conductive dough, insulating dough, as well as some ideas for circuits you can build out of it.  I think this has enormous potential in a classroom setting, being able to teach students how circuits work, something that I didn't even understand until about three years ago.  I can just imagine a whole class of students showing off their creations that glow, and make cool noises.
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## Step 1: Conductive dough

In order to make the conductive dough, you will need the following:

1 cup Water
1 1/2 cups Flour
1/4 cup Salt
3 Tbsp. Cream of Tartar*
1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
Food Coloring

*9 Tbsp. of Lemon Juice may be Substituted

Mix water, 1cup of flour, salt, cream of tartar, vegetable oil, and food coloring in a medium sized pot.

Cook over medium heat and stir continuously.

The mixture will begin to boil and start to get chunky.

Keep stirring the mixture until it forms a ball in the center of the pot.

Once a ball forms, place the ball on a lightly floured surface.

Slowly knead the remaining flour into the ball until you’ve reached a desired consistency.
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Slay. says: Mar 15, 2013. 6:37 AM
If i were (and i may be in the process of doing this) to find some bouncy play-doh, kneed in some iron powder so it would be magnetic, and then do this to it, would it still bounce, be conductive, and be magnetic? also, is the iron powder alone enough to make it conductive (the doh was NOT conductive to begin with due to it being a knock-off called bouncy-doh).
furrysalamander (author) in reply to Slay.Mar 15, 2013. 7:59 AM
Possible, what you mean by do this to it. But I'd imagine the iron would make it conductive already.
Nerko-erko says: Apr 5, 2012. 3:38 AM
Instead of insulating dough, could one use normal play dough?
jastreich in reply to Nerko-erkoJan 30, 2013. 11:59 AM
No, Play Dough is conductive as well. You could get away with only making the insulating dough and using Play Dough as the conductive dough though.
techxpert says: Jan 28, 2012. 2:32 PM
will the play dough heat up if the battery leads are connected directly to a thin strand ?
jastreich in reply to techxpertJan 30, 2013. 11:58 AM
The dough has pretty high resistance, so a short across it shouldn't cause too much heat...
furrysalamander (author) in reply to techxpertJan 28, 2012. 2:37 PM
care to elaborate?
JenAsaurusRex says: Jul 17, 2012. 9:56 PM
I really ejoyedthis. I mixed up a coupleof batches toshow how the brain might conduct electricity. The dtudents kovedit.

Jem
JoshuaZimmerman says: Apr 6, 2012. 1:26 PM
Thanks so much! I made this for my 8th graders and they loved it. I even had some 3rd graders playing with it as well. They could not believe that we were playing with play doh in 8th grade.

But hey, that's science!
furrysalamander (author) in reply to JoshuaZimmermanApr 7, 2012. 10:19 AM
Nice! I'm in eighth grade too. I'm glad you tried my project!
techxpert says: Jan 28, 2012. 2:28 PM
great job!!! :)
GASSYPOOTS says: Jan 2, 2012. 4:40 PM
if u used tartar dont eat it (tartars a laxitive)
zebede5 in reply to GASSYPOOTSJan 24, 2012. 7:54 AM
If you use PlayDo dount eat it. (PlayDo is toxic)
Ugifer says: Jan 19, 2012. 8:21 AM
This is excellent stuff!

I might well combine this with the "555 piano" circuit:

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-an-electronic-piano-with-a-555-IC/

You could tape a wire to a spoon and make a "keyboard" out of dough. I guess you would make "fingers" for keys joined by a fairly thin bar at the top to give the resistance.

The resistance of the dough would probably be high enough to give a different pitch for each note! If not, just use less salt in the recipe.

I sometimes do simple projects with my 6-year old and some of her friends so we might make this one, I reckon.
leegeorg07 says: Jan 7, 2012. 10:31 AM
I assume changing the amount of Tartar sauce changes the resistance? If so, you could try make colour coded resistors using it somehow. Or show how you can substitute a group of resistors for one larger one. by colour coding them.
furrysalamander (author) in reply to leegeorg07Jan 7, 2012. 10:37 AM
It would work, I think, but a better way to do this would be to just change the way you have them connected. Short fat wires=Low resistance, Long skinny wires=High resistance
leegeorg07 in reply to furrysalamanderJan 7, 2012. 11:14 AM
I should have said, I mainly meant for teaching the resistor colour codes. *note to self, add context*
Dhunter1469 says: Jan 4, 2012. 3:55 AM
I'm sooooooooo gonna try this just if it dries it might become like sugru:)))
( we dont gt sugru in SA )
furrysalamander (author) in reply to Dhunter1469Jan 4, 2012. 9:20 AM
It dries like regular playdo, unfortunately. Gets dry and crumbly.
MR.Geo says: Dec 29, 2011. 2:53 PM
This stuff could have come in handy when I was learning about resistivity in my Advanced Subsidary physics course.

resistance=resistivity*length/cross sectional area.
virgimiagrandma says: Dec 27, 2011. 7:29 AM
Amazing! I never would have thought of this!
solomonhorses says: Dec 25, 2011. 8:43 PM
Nice stuff! I made some and made a xmas tree with it about ten inches tall, and the wood in the middle was 2 strips of brown and one strip of insulating green twisted to look like a candy cane. and all of the lights were conducting leds off branches, poked in:}Merry late xmas!
furrysalamander (author) in reply to solomonhorsesDec 25, 2011. 8:50 PM
post a picture! It might get you a free pro membership!
epignosix says: Dec 20, 2011. 7:40 AM
I think this would work well in a car cig lighter outlet if you have the conductive part insulated. You could put a bunch in box to give yourself multiple 12v connections I think....
wilgubeast says: Dec 16, 2011. 12:23 PM
That looks like an awesome way to learn circuitry. Good on you for entering it into the Teacher Contest.

I would counsel against traveling with this, as it looks ever-so-slightly like a plastic explosive. An educational plastic explosive, though, no matter how sketchy wires protruding from a plasticine substance may look.
furrysalamander (author) in reply to wilgubeastDec 18, 2011. 1:59 PM
you can win a pro membership by showing me what you make with this.
masterfireeater says: Dec 17, 2011. 9:05 AM
Can you use it to make a circuit board?
furrysalamander (author) in reply to alindsey3Dec 17, 2011. 5:24 PM
exactly.
ivanjacob says: Dec 16, 2011. 7:14 AM
you can use it to make sure firework doesnt fall down
furrysalamander (author) in reply to ivanjacobDec 17, 2011. 6:45 AM
electrical uses
suresh.gopikrishnan says: Dec 16, 2011. 11:18 AM
In case the batteries don't fit into the battery case that well, you can put the dough in there and make it fit snugly.
sunshiine says: Dec 14, 2011. 4:26 PM
Voted!
furrysalamander (author) in reply to sunshiineDec 14, 2011. 4:28 PM
In which contests? I did it in three.
sunshiine in reply to furrysalamanderDec 14, 2011. 4:31 PM
I will make sure I vote in all of them. I voted using the button at the top of your page where this was. I think this is a winner so I won't forget to vote in the other contest. Thanks for letting me know. sunshiine
furrysalamander (author) in reply to sunshiineDec 15, 2011. 8:36 PM
I put it in the teacher contest!
sunshiine in reply to furrysalamanderDec 15, 2011. 8:40 PM
I am not sure it will qualify unless you remove your entry from 1 of the other contest. You can only enter 1of the same instructable into 3 separate contest including the weekly.
furrysalamander (author) in reply to sunshiineDec 15, 2011. 8:41 PM
How do I remove it?
sunshiine in reply to furrysalamanderDec 15, 2011. 8:51 PM
Go to which ever contest you want to delete it, click enter contest, click enter contest and scroll down. It will show you which ibles you have entered then at the right of it is says remove.
park47 says: Dec 15, 2011. 12:44 AM
Thanks..... will try some.... :)
furrysalamander (author) in reply to park47Dec 15, 2011. 8:36 PM