Perfect Homemade Play Dough

Tonight I’m attending my 10-year grad reunion.  It kinda makes me feel like I’m getting old, but also kinda makes me feel SO YOUNG to be well on my way to baby #3, to have moved 5 times with my husband (and high school sweetheart), to be a perpetual student in various fields, to be thinking about things like life insurance and wills, and to just generally be living in “real life”.

High school was only 10 years ago – when did I become such a grown up? (At least on paper…)

I may never get to live at home again, watching my mom do all the baking and cooking, letting my dad scare away the unsavoury boys, sharing clothes with my sisters, and enjoying the fun of pets without any actual contribution, so I suppose it’s time to go ahead and accept my grown up life and grown up responsibilities.

One of those responsibilities, clearly, is making homemade play dough.


Some things are easier done than said.

Not many things, mind you, but making play dough is definitely one of them.  This recipe not only takes virtually no time from good-idea to able-to-be-played-with, it’s also great because the dough stays really soft and pliable for aaaaages.  I store mine in Ziploc bags, and it has lasted months when put away reasonably promptly after playing with it. And it probably would have lasted longer if it hadn’t gotten left out overnight.  This past week was the first time K-fer showed much interest in play dough, and it was a great way to pass some time getting creative with a big pile of mini cookie cutters, some googly eyes, birthday candles, toothpicks, muffin papers, and other assorted paraphernalia.

I find it easiest to make big batches of a single colour at a time so I can stir it all together rather than kneading colour into the dough after, but it you want small amounts of several colours you can definitely make it all white and then add in the food colouring during the kneading step.

Do you ever look back at the carefree days of high school or college or shortly after and miss certain aspects?  Or has everyone adjusted to responsibilities more responsibly than me? I’m not saying I want to go back – I wouldn’t go back to high school unless someone paid me a significantly significant amount – but there are definitely aspects of being young that are appealing!

Good thing grown-up-hood comes with food colouring and play dough :)

Perfect Homemade Play Dough
Total time
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 Tbsp cream of tartar
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract (or coconut, almond, etc...this makes it smell nice, which is optional but fun :))
  • Food colouring
  1. In medium saucepan, stir together flour, salt, cream of tartar, and oil. Add water, extract, and food colouring and mix well. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat, until it forms a stiff clump and you can't really stir any more (about 3 minutes).
  2. Remove from stove and knead by hand for 3-5 minutes, until very soft and pliable.
  3. Store in airtight bags or containers between uses.



  1. Corien says

    Instead of food colouring and flavouring just let your kiddoes pick out some Koolaid packets that they like. You can mix the colours and make them as intense as you like…AND they smell yummy. (Always a wait for it moment when they are fooled by the delicious smell, sneakily try it, and spit out the salty wad!)


  1. […] There were a lot of blog posts last week about homemade play dough recipes.  After reading them, I realized the last time I made play dough was when I made gingerbread play dough as Christmas gifts for the boys last year.  We were definitely due for a new batch so into the kitchen I went.  Making play dough is ridiculously easy and I use this recipe from Hidden Ponies. […]

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