Jello Playdough




About: I'm a stay-at-home mother of three. My children, ages 6, 4, and 2, are the light of my life and my inspiration for crafting. Check out my fun and fabulous kids items at! My youngest has speci...

Store bought playdough is so boring compared to what you can do at home! Homemade playdough can be scented, texturized, and in other ways personalized. Not to mention the bonding experience!

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Step 1: Ingredients

1 Cup white flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup warm water
1 three ounce package of jello - flavor of your choice. *Note, the flavor you choose will be the scent of your playdough. In our case we used lemon, so the final result is lemon scented and yellow.

Step 2: Combine Ingredients.

Couldn't be simpler. Get a big mixing bowl and start measuring, scooping, dumping, and pouring.

The young lady in the photo is almost five and is able to do most of this with only minimal assistance. We couldn't fit our tablespoon into the cream of tartar container, so i filled the spoon for her to dump, and I poured the oil - that's a mess you don't want to have to clean up, ever!

Homemade playdough is also fun as they can taste test the ingredients. Don't let them scoop and big bunch of salt into their mouths - they might throw up. More of a reaction than you're probably looking for. And its interesting to taste jello before its turned into its usual jiggly form.

If you're doing this with a smaller someone, I suggest premeasuring ingredients so the ingredients are ready to be dumped into the big bowl. Also, be ready to help guide younger hands so the ingredients don't get dumped before reaching the mixing bowl!

Step 3: Cooking - This Is a Mommy Job, Not a Kid Job.

Pour into a saucepan. I prefer a teflon coated saucepan to reduce sticking.

*This scalds easily, so use a medium (not high) heat.

Stir continuously. It will gradually begin to thicken, first becoming thicker, then lumpy, then clumpy, then just one big ball!

Step 4: Work It!

Once the dough begins to clump don't let it remain over the heat. Dump the hot ball of dough into something where it can sit, away from little fingers, for a minute to cool. This doesn't take very long. When it is cool enough to touch, put some flour down and dump the dough ball out and start to knead! Do this for a couple of minutes, taking turns (mom/kid/mom/kid) to ensure the elasticity is built up properly.

Step 5: Additions

If you want to alter the color, or enhance the color, add some food coloring. Glitter is a grrls best friend, so hold back! Craft stores sell a fine, brightly colored craft sand that adds nice texture, and using a contrasting color can really make the playdough fun. Pretty much the skies the limit when it comes to add-ins, just beware organic add-ins can mold!

Step 6: Victory!

There we have it folks. Let it cool completely before storing. Makes an awesome gift, especially if you include the recipe!

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    18 Discussions


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    The vegetable oil keeps this dough moist. You could experiment with drying them, but as they dry they will shrink as the moisture evaporates and they may crack. An easy dough recipe for ornaments is:

    Mix 4 c. flour, 1 c. salt, some food coloring and enough water to moisten.

    I've made regular dough and substituted a cup of cinnamon for a cup of flour with good results for scented Christmas ornaments. Mayhaps I'll do my next Instructable on holiday ornament making! Thanks for the inspiration! :-D


    9 years ago on Step 6

     I've bookmarked this! I haven't done it yet but I'd love to! Your directions are very clear and encouraging, I'd love to do this with my little sister! 


    9 years ago on Step 6

    Absolutely love this. Did it as an x-mas present, so my own almost 5 year old didn't help (or it wouldn't have been a surprise), but it was very simple, and when we refill it I will definitely include her. The playdough you get is amazing, it looks and feels like the real thing, only I can give this to my daughter (who has aspergers) and my one year old son, and not worry about they're safety should they decide to eat it. I know play-doh is supposed to be nontoxic, but this is all food which makes me feel much better!

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 6

    i'm so glad  you're having fun with it! i will be back home soon and will be posting some more recipes for fun things that we make, and maybe my other munchkins will star in them as well. :-)


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I'm forwarding this onto my daughter.  She loves playing with the Grandchildren and this will be a perfect project.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I can still remember the first (and only) time I tasted Kool-Aid from the pack... >.<


    9 years ago on Introduction

    yep - koolaid and the jello both add color and scent making playdoh a multitactile experience! (is multitactile a word???) i'm going to do a bunch of playdough instructables, so stay tuned... :-)

    5 replies

    ... Although, I like the sound of 'multitactictile' I might just have to add that to my vocabulary. ;)

    Then again, tactile is the sense of touch, right? so that would mean a plurality of the sense of touch even though it can only be singular. Interesting. :)

    I think multitactile could be used as a word to describe an experience although it's not in the dictionary.

    "Sliding between the sheets in a dream-like stupor, I felt the multitactile sensation of floating between cotton threads."

    However, the word would only relate to touch/tangibility, as you pointed out, rather than smell, sight, sound, and taste.

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    yeah, multisensory. i must've been thinking about adding textures, like play sand or coffee grinds!

    oops, forgot my original comment! Love this stuff, my mom made this all the time when I was a kid. I think the recipe is a bit different, but we called it 'salt dough' because of it's salty taste (and the taste of your fingers afterwords!). We usually would make something then bake it forming a relatively permanent figure that could be painted etc.