Easy Homemade Play Dough

So I have a love hate relationship with with play dough. I love how relaxing and therapeutic it is to squeeze and shape it…but it gives me heart palpitations (I know, I know, Virgo self has some MAJOR issues) when my boys mix together all of the colors and the expensive play dough turns into a brown and ugly mess. That’s why I scoured the Internet and tried out tons of different play dough recipes in order to find the perfect homemade play dough recipe. Now my kids can mix the colors and even add small toys and whatnot without me freaking out. It is a win win for all of us. And the best part? It only takes 15 minutes for this play dough recipe which will undoubtedly provide hours of fun.

Easy Homemade Play Dough–Traditional Recipe


  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 5-7 drops food coloring
  • 3 drops essential oil (if you would like it to smell good) or a handful of glitter if you are so inclined
  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 mixing spoon
  • 1 large frying pan


Mix together: flour, salt, cream of tartar.  Once it is mixed well, add the vegetable oil and water.

Add whatever food coloring you desire.  I recommend using at least four drops, even up to 7 drops to make the most vibrant color possible.

Ensure there are no lumps and then heat over low heat for 3-5 minutes (until it reaches play dough texture) in a large frying pan.

Knead the essential oil/glitter/etc. into the dough, shape into a ball and let cool.

Easy Homemade Play Dough – Gelatin Recipe
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 1 package gelatin


Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl and then slowly add in wet ingredients.

Pour into a frying pan on your stove top, using a low heat setting. Cook for 5-7 minutes, while slowly stirring.

Scoop out of the pan and knead the dough for 2-3 minutes. Shape into a ball and let cool


Most homemade play dough recipes will last up to 30 days when stored in an air-tight container. Remember to wash hands before and after play, as well as use play surfaces that are easy to clean since some of the oil in the recipes may transfer during play.

Looking for other sensory fun? Check this out!


Happy Creating!


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  1. Kate says

    soooo cute! I’ll be doing this for my nephew’s birthday and our church kiddos this weekend!!! I use koolaid to color my paints. I wonder if it would work on playdough, too?

    • amandasimkin says

      I think koolaid would work great. Just don’t include the cinnamon because that could make for a really odd smell!

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