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My mom always used to make up big batches of Play-Dough for us when I was a kid. I’ve bought the little containers for my son for stocking stuffers before, and he likes them a lot, but they are small, get mixed together, left out on the floor, and destroyed. I decided to try my hand at making my own since it would be less expensive, and I could make larger quantities.

There are lots of Play-Dough recipes available online, so I eventually just asked my mom what she did to make hers, and between her memory and a little online research we worked together to come up with a recipe.

7DIY Play-Dough Recipe


  • 2 cups of white flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil (Vegetable, olive, or coconut could work)
  • 1 tablespoon alum or cream of tarter
  • Food coloring


  1. Combine flour, salt, olive oil, and alum(or cream of tarter) in a medium saucepan and add the water.8
  2. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens up and it resembles mashed potatoes.10
  3. Transfer the play-dough to a clean surface. (I actually laid down some parchment paper to keep my kitchen table clean and free of dye.) Knead the dough until any  residual stickiness is gone. Divide the dough into balls to dye.6
  4. Press a hole in the middle of the ball and use it as a cup to hold your dye colors. Knead each ball until the dough is evenly dyed and smooth.11
  5. Store the dough in airtight bags or containers to keep it from drying out.12

Play Dough is a great activity to help your kids work on creative play. One of the most important rules to introducing a child to a new medium is to do it with them. Show them how to play with it. If you just put Play Dough in front of a toddler and not give them guidance, they won’t know what do with it and all you’ll get is a mess. Show them how, and soon they’ll be creating all by themselves.

There are lots of things that you can use as tools for play-dough, and most of them are things you already have in your house. Here’s a few of my favorite things to use (you can find pretty much all of these in your kitchen):

  • A rolling pin, or a large wooden dowel
  • Cookie cutters
  • Plastic silverware, or a toy knife for cutting
  • Small baking pans or a muffin tin14

*Quick Note: One of my biggest mistakes in this project was making the dough when my kids were awake. An excited toddler grabbed at my hands and well, this was the result, after a couple scrubbings. Once the dye was kneaded in, it stayed in and didn’t come off on any hands.5

DIY Play-Dough RecipeDIY Play-Dough Recipe (1)