Easy Homemade Playdough

By | January 16, 2017

I hate playdough. It’s almost a fear. I can’t stand the idea of it getting in the carpet and if the colours mixed, I’d probably spend hours trying to separate them again.

I really can’t explain this. Everything else is on our carpet, I honestly dread to think of all the things that must have been spilled on it. That’s without the child vomit, potty training and any other bodily fluids. And, I’m not in any way a clean freak. Don’t get me wrong, I do this housework, and I tidy up once the kids are in bed, but it’s never super tidy. Things get spilled. I don’t mind, we’ve got kids, it happens.

But, playdough just completely freaks me out.

So, I’m rather ashamed to say, the boy has never really had any. I found myself discussing this briefly with two lovely ladies (@Lentlesslypurpl and @sprinkleofpixie) over on twitter at the weekend, and found myself feeling somewhat terrible. He’s nearly 6, and has been deprived. So, I decided to make some. I basically went for a similar recipe to salt dough. With less salt, more water and a touch of oil, so it’s much softer.

I was incredibly surprised at how easy it was to make. Honestly, it takes less than 5 minutes for each colour, and doesn’t even ruin saucepans (although, it may need a soak!). I’ve been even more surprised to learn, that at almost 6, The Boy is totally capable of playing with it on a tray, at the table. Has made no mess, and hates the idea of colours mixing as much as I do! The Girl has not yet been allowed near it. I may brave that tomorrow. Thankfully, this is totally nontoxic, because we all know she’s going to eat it.playdough_ingredients

You will need:

  • 1 Cup flour
  • 0.5 Cup salt
  • 0.5 Cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. Cooking oil
  • Food colouring (for these I used about 1 cap. More would mean a deeper colour)

This makes the orange amount of dough. Which I’d say is normal. The green, I did first, was double this. Far too much!

Basically, put all your ingredients into a saucepan over a medium heat, and stir vigorously.

That’s it! It starts to thicken very quickly, and will seem incredibly lumpy to start with.


It will also look vile. Keep stirring.


It’ll get very hard to do, but keep going until it’s all come together. It may still be a little lumpy, but that’s fine, remove from the pan and knead it for a few seconds (be careful, it will be hot) until it’s a nice soft ball.

green and orange playdough

If it seems too sticky in your hands, heat it for a little longer. If it’s too firm, add a little more water, and mix together back over the heat.

Now I just need to order a massive Chinese, so I’ve got lots of little plastic boxes to keep it all in.

homemade playdough

My Petit Canard
Two Tiny Hands

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21 thoughts on “Easy Homemade Playdough

    1. Donna Post author

      I know! It’s incredibly easy! I read lots of recipes with cream of tartar in it, but I don’t even know what that is, and this worked just fine! It feels just like the real stuff

  1. Claire

    We love play dough here. I actually prefer the home made. Although I do love the small of shop bought! I’m with you on the colour mixing but after a while you get used to it and accept that the child is having fun. My homemade has survived unmixed but the shop bought ends up mixed unless I give her just one colour at a time. She had an entire ŕainbow of colours once but only small quantities. She mixed them all together and we ended up with a big ball of brown. Yuk!

  2. Janine

    I’m going to try this with my 3 year old tomorrow. I tried making play doh once before and it was a disaster. I didn’t cook it though because I didnt realise I was supposed to. That’s probably why it didn’t work and was seperated when I went to use it a second time. I also didn’t add oil. I will definitely add oil and heat it up this time. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Donna Post author

      It’s brilliant! I accidentally left it out last night, and expected it to have dried out, but it’s still soft and lovely. I keep poking it! It literally took minutes! Good luck with it

  3. Sam - StressyMama

    Wow this looks so easy to make. I’ve never really thought about making it before. I am a play doh fan. Molly has loads and I love playing with it with her. I did try to keep the colours separate but had to give up on that. Now she has about 5 pots of play doh that are a horrid grey-ish colour.. when they’ve had it she can have some more colours. Haha.x

  4. Mom of two little girls

    I also hate it. No matter what, it ends up everywhere. I am actually such a mean mom, I don’t buy it, but inevitably some kind thoughtless granny or aunty does give it to them. On those occasions I make sure they play with it outside, and then after a couple of times I pretend to forget to remind them to out it away and it then goes hard so we have to throw it away …. ahhhh.
    I’m going to pin this recipe though, it might come in handy.
    Not a bad gift idea either – I find homemade playdough stays softer for much longer than store-bought.

  5. tammymum

    I have never made my own before and genkods love play doh. I bet they’d love to make it with me – rap the colouring part! Thanks for sharing at #familyfun xx

  6. Karen : twotinyhands

    If there was ever an excuse to buy Chinese this is the best I’ve heard!! I do need to make playdough!! I bought some and we play with it regularly so I’m looking forward to expanding on it as we use it up!! Thanks for linking up to #familyfun

    1. Donna Post author

      It really is. The Boy plays with it for hours! We just need to make more colours now


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