Homemade Playdough

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dairy free
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Recipe photo

Rainy day got your kids down? Looking for a quick and easy homemade craft that will get their creative gears turning? Try this homemade playdough. Just 5 basic pantry ingredients and an adult to heat the water, and the world of color, fun and fantasy are just around the corner.

Homemade Playdough

star rating (19) rate this recipe »
dairy free
Hands-on time:
Total time:
Yield:
Published: 01/01/2010

Ingredients

Playdough

  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups very hot water
  • various food coloring (optional but fun)
  • various scented oils or liquid flavorings (again, optional)

Directions

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1) Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar with a whisk until well blended. Break up any lumps of salt with your fingers.

2) Add the oil to the hot water (a good job for grownups). Mix into the flour blend until a smooth dough forms. The dough will be quite warm to begin with, but cools quickly.

3) If using colors and scents, divide the dough into sections and scent and color each. Wearing rubber gloves for the initial kneading will help keep your hands from becoming stained.

4) Once your shapes, critters, and designs are done, they can be dried at room temperature overnight, or longer, and painted with craft paints for lasting treasures. If you are not keeping shapes, etc. the playdough can be stored airtight in the fridge for one week.

Reviews

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  • star rating 11/07/2011
  • eriniska from KAF Community
  • I, too had a problem with this recipe, I followed the recipe in volume, weighing everything carefully but the dough still turned out too watery. I ended up adding an extra cup of flour and 1/2 cup of salt and it made a softer type of playdough that my son enjoyed. It's definitely softer than the store bought playdough but at least, they stuck together. I am wondering where it went wrong. I have never had any problem with your recipes and I have tried many of them, including all the cookbooks you have published out there. Is it the water temperature? Is it the type of salt I used? I am wondering since I did use exactly what the recipe called for.
    I'm sorry the playdough isn't working out for you. I have made this recipe before and had luck actually adding all of the ingredients to a saucepan and cooking it over medium-low heat, while stirring until it forms a dough, which you can then knead until smooth. If you still have problems with it, please give us a call at the Baker's Hotline and we'll be happy to help! Mel @ KAF
  • star rating 10/13/2011
  • Dana from Idaho
  • Wow, this is the first time I have ever given a King Arthur recipe 1 star! But, like the previous reviewer, I mixed the recipe according to the directions and ended up with something closer to a soup or a cookie batter rather than playdough. I continued to add more salt and flour and salvaged it, but I really think the water should be 1 cup.
    I'm sorry the playdough isn't working out for you, Dana. I have made this recipe before and had luck actually adding all of the ingredients to a saucepan and cooking it over medium-low heat, while stirring until it forms a dough, which you can then knead until smooth. If you still have problems with it, please give us a call at the Baker's Hotline and we'll be happy to help! Mel @ KAF
  • star rating 10/09/2009
  • Julie from Michigan
  • I thought I followed it to a T, but this dough came out looking like cream of chicken soup (texture, not color). Can I add more flour to this mixture to harden it up? I can't even pick it up with my hands ...
    How frustrating! Both the flour and the salt are hydroscopic (they attract and retain water). First, let's be sure you added the 1 cup salt. Then,you might try adding 2 parts flour and 1 part salt to thicken the recipe. If this does not work, call our Bakers Hotline at 800-827-6836. Irene @ KAF
  • star rating 08/26/2009
  • Christina from Florida
  • My son is 4 and he loves this recipe for playdough. It is a wonderful brown/mud color if you add about 2 Tablespoons of cocoa!
  • star rating 05/19/2009
  • Janice R from Brunswick, ME
  • I also have made this when my children were little (oldest is now 39). One year for Chistmas I made for myself and the grandparents little elf figures with flat faces, baked them (slowly), painted them and put a cut out photograph face of each of my children. That was thiry years ago and they are still part of our Christmas decorations (and the grandbabies love seeing the face of their Papa when he was a baby).
  • star rating 05/12/2009
  • Kathy from Amesbury, MA
  • Great recipe. Have been making a version of this (my recipe cooks it into a goopy ball and then is kneaded) for my own kids and pre-k classes and now my grandchildren for about 25 years now. Adding color to liquid is much easier and gives good color distribution as stated elsewhere. Although we don't typically scent it, at holiday time I add ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon to the dough. It gives it a pretty varigated brown color (like a nice dough) and it smells great. I work in an integrated classroom and no one has tasted it yet - doesn't mean it won't happen but we monitor it pretty well. And I agree that one little taste with all that salt will probably keep it from happening again! We do not use food products for any art projects (too many of our children potentially come from homes that might not have enough to eat) but this is the one exception that we make. It is not a one time project (like macaroni art or fruit and vegetable prints). It is a reasonable price (although cream of tartar is getting more and more expensive) for a great reusuable product. It is so much better than the puchased item and is such a great calming sensory and fine motor activity.
  • star rating 05/09/2009
  • Yvonne from Apple Valley CA
  • When I taught preschool in the 1970s, this was a weekly item to make for our class. We cooked it in an electric frying pan so the kids could watch at a safe distance. We changed the colors to match the seasons & themes of the week or month, (green for St Patrick's, pink & yellow for Easter, red & green for Christmas, orange for Halloween, blue for Hanukkah, dark pink for Valentine's, brown for Thanksgiving, etc). We even had Red white & blue for 4th of July. The colors are endless!! We never scented ours but the color was the best!! This is a golden oldie!!!
  • star rating 05/06/2009
  • Mary S. from Del Rio, TX
  • As a great grandmother and former teacher and Girl Scout leader, I have made this many times with children. We also cooked it and it lasted very well. Gee, I may make some and play by myself.
  • star rating 05/06/2009
  • Mrs. S from Mount Clemens, Mi
  • This is a great recipe for homemade playdough. We even put it in our family cookbook. Lots of teachers in our family so it is tried and true. I also agree that putting the coloring in the liquid is easier and my recipe calls for cooking until it forms a ball. I made a new batch for my kdg class each month using a new color and new set of cookie cutters for the season. But, use your judgement if you think you need a clean batch. It's cheap!
  • star rating 05/06/2009
  • Grandma Laura from Illinois
  • This recipe has been around as long as dirt. I love it too, and it will keep little hands busy for a very long time. As far as clean-up, if you let it sit long enough it hardens and then just vaccuum up all the little pieces.
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