Introduction: No Cook Play Dough

Picture of No Cook Play Dough

Play dough is the stuff childhood is made out of. Even better if the child could make the play dough! With this no cook recipe, you could have a pint-sized assistant make this half-pint of wonderful dough!

Some interesting facts about this play dough recipe: because of the amount of salt used, it does not harvest bacteria. Also, it is not harmful if ingested. That said, you should still discourage it's consumption.

Let's get started!

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients

For this recipe, you'll need:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup salt

2 tbsp cream of tartar

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 1/2 cup boiling water

optional: food coloring, and glitter (why not?!)

Step 2: Hot Water Methods

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You can either heat your water over the stove top or in the microwave, just make sure it is either boiling hot or near it.

If kids are helping you with this project, keep them clear of the hot water. But you probably already know this.

Step 3: Mixing the Ingredients

Picture of Mixing the Ingredients

Combine the cream of tartar, salt, flour and oil together.

Step 4: Pour Water Incrementally

Picture of Pour Water Incrementally

Be careful not to add the entire 1 1/2 cups of water all at once. You may not even need all of it to achieve a play dough consistency. I added about a 1/4 cup at a time, and had about 1/8 cup of water left at the end. However, if you find you added in too much water, throw in some flour to even out the consistency.

How will you know if you have achieved the right consistency? Well, if after kneading, nothing is sticking to your hands, you're already there!

Step 5: Kneading

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After adding in all the ingredients, take a couple minutes to knead the dough thoroughly so that all it is perfectly clear of any floury chunks. Kids love this part, so let them have a go at it!

Step 6: Getting Colorful

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Using Neon shaded food coloring, I divided the large mass of play dough into 4 equal parts, and used about 8 drops of coloring per each. This ensured the colors would be vibrant and fun. Of course, you could add more or less coloring, depending on the shades you want to achieve. You will have to knead the dough thoroughly after adding the coloring so that the color can be evenly dispersed.

Step 7: Containing It All

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Play dough's only fault is that it dries when left out, usually beyond the point of repair. To prevent this, the play dough should be stored in air-tight containers. You could even use zip lock bags.

I had some small containers, which I upcycled from their previous life as baby-food tupperware. After thoroughly washing them out, I used them to store my different colors of play dough!

Step 8: Making Covers

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I wanted to dress up the containers to make them more exciting for the kiddos, so I measured out and cut card stock which I stuck to the lids of the baby-food containers. I drew a spunky little fellow on top. Adorbs!

Step 9: Enjoy!

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All that play dough we made fit perfectly in 8-3.5 oz containers, for a grand total of 28 oz!

Enjoy your home made no cook play dough in fun little containers!


Ishaimman (author)2017-01-03


VictoriaS19 (author)2015-09-06

I found putting the food dye in with the water easier and helped the colour more but this so helpful! Thanks :)

RyannW (author)2015-06-15

If u did not put cream of tarter in it would u need more salt?

TrisC (author)2014-09-03


keithripley1977 (author)2014-08-24

First day of school, for my 5 year old, is tomorrow. My fiancee volunteered me to make play dough for the class.
Following this recipe was not nearly as painful as I thought it would be.

It took about 15 minutes and the kid gets to brag tomorrow that she made the play dough. When I asked what color she wanted she said "Blue Marble".


Dad 1
Mom 0

PandaBeaarAmy (author)2014-07-04

Is cream of tartar necessary? What happens if I don't add it?
A good way to incorporate the food colouring is to add a couple drops at a time, kneading like you would edible dough. Keeps the colour inside most of the time until it's safe to handle :)

wgriffith26 (author)2014-05-31

if u do.t add the coloring until last, after n a ball, how do u incorporate it without it staining ur hands? u cant use a spoon or anything. i dnt want my hands neon green for days. I U.DERSTAND once its incorporated it doesnt stain hands bt how do u mix it into the already made dough? lol may b stupid bt curious bc im wanting to do w my homeschool children.

Unusyal Tiqneecks (author)2014-03-30

please tell me what is cream of tarter

Cream of tartar is a white powder, found in the spices section at the grocery store. It has many uses. (:

genterara made it! (author)2014-04-19

Thanks, my kid had a blast.

He didn`t care it was salty at all.

morahlaura (author)2014-04-19

Here's a tip I learned when my kids were in preschool: if the dough gets stiff, add some hand cream or hair conditioner to re-moisten instead of water. It will be much smoother! Another tip: add cinnamon, Apple pie spice, ground cloves or other sweet smelling spices for a nice smelling play-dough. But not if it will encourage consumption.

cdevildevil (author)2014-04-12

What does the cream of tartar do in this recipe?

cdevildevil (author)cdevildevil2014-04-12

I think I found my own answer. Apparently it helps strengthen the dough.

thehbird (author)2014-03-29

Um me not being as brilliant as you would like to know what incrementally means ;)

cdevildevil (author)thehbird2014-03-30

Incrementally just means "bit by bit" in this case. In other words: don't pour all the water you have at once, just pour it in smaller increments. Hope this helps!

evaGood (author)2014-03-30

I didn't use any cream of tartar but it's still great I love it

Ageless Kronos made it! (author)2014-03-29

here is my final Product!

amalkhan (author)Ageless Kronos2014-03-29

yeay!!! Thanks for sharing!!

maria_loves2sing (author)2014-03-28

Where can I find cream of tartar?

BayRatt (author)maria_loves2sing2014-03-29

Any grocery store should have it. Usually in the aisle where they sell bottled & bagged spices. It'll be a small container since you don't need to use much, usually. I think it is also used for whipping egg whites sometimes. I don't know the chemistry behind that though.

Anywhere that sells spices/ baking supplies! It's actually fairly common, and used in soups and play dough ;)

Ageless Kronos (author)2014-03-28

just completed this ible and my daughter loves it and it was fun to make too ;)

amalkhan (author)Ageless Kronos2014-03-29

Post some pics of your product! Would love to see!

maria_loves2sing (author)2014-03-28

Omg this is awesome for my little sister and I to make together. Very detailed and specific, I live this post.

ibannerman (author)2014-03-28

Won't the food coloring stain hands and surfaces?

amalkhan (author)ibannerman2014-03-28

Nope! Once it is well incorporated into the dough, the color will not bleed onto anything else.

coolsista9 (author)2014-03-27

Really good

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