TUTORIAL: Homemade Play Dough (Play-Doh)

One of my most vivid childhood memories is of my mum and I “sculpting” different shapes out of homemade dough which she would then store in the fridge for another day. The house would be filled with that salty scent and my hands would be ever so slightly stained with food colouring- but it was fun. And so one evening I set to work and managed to make some up for my little girl. There are lots of different recipes online and so I was confused as to which one is right, but in the end I kind of stuck to a mixture of them all and it turned out just perfect!

This activity is perfect for children of near enough all ages. There are no harmful ingredients other than the salt, so as long as your little one isn’t prone to eating everything they touch, they’ll be fine. It’s only when they devour handfuls of it that it becomes a problem.
I much prefer to stick to the homemade method rather than buying them ready-made because I know exactly what has been put into it, and I actually found that mine took far longer to dry out.

So.. without further ado, here is my homemade play dough tutorial. Enjoy! 

What you’ll need:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 250g warm water
  • 125g salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or sunflower oil
  • A few different food colourings


Step one:
Combine all of the ingredients bar the food colouring. Mix well in a clean saucepan.


Step two:
Turn the stove onto a low heat. The mixture will begin to thicken up fairly quickly. Make sure that you keep stirring because, as you can see in the photo, it sticks to the edges of the pan very easily and will begin to burn.


Step three:
Carry on until your mixture is very thick, like dough. If you think it’s ready just let it cool down and press your finger into it to make sure it isn’t too sticky. Once you think it is ready, just leave it on a clean surface until cool.


Step four: 
Divide your dough into however many different colours you plan to use. I chose three.


Step five: 
Now for the messy part! Using just a few drops at a time, add your food colouring into your dough and mix well. I went for an orange, dark purple and green, but you can use whatever colours you want. If your colours look bland, you simply need to add more. If your dough becomes too sticky you can always rub in a sprinkle of flour.


IMG_0481And that’s it! Incredibly simple, huh? One thing I would suggest is putting an old towel or tray down before letting your kids go wild with it. My girl is 18 months old so she just enjoyed squashing it between her fingers. It can get very messy! Once you’re finished playing, just roll the dough up and put them in separate air-tight bags, then store in the fridge. It should last for at least 6 months if stored correctly.


My boyfriend made me an aubergine, awww! 


It can be a great bonding activity for families, or you could even make some up ready for their next play date! Once my little lady is older I plan to make up lots more and use this fun activity as a way to teach her colours. You can begin with primary colours, then let the children experiment with mixing different colours together!

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or would like to let me know how your dough turned out, please drop me a comment below. Have a beautiful day! :)

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