Play Dough


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups salt

2 tablespoons cream of tartar

1/4 tsp alum (optional)

3 cups water

3 tablespoons oil

food coloring, liquid

Mix dry ingredients in a large pot on the stove.

If you just want to make this batch all one color, you can add the coloring to the water and oil.  If you want separate colors..hold on..we’ll get there.  Just set the coloring aside for now.

Over medium heat, stir oil and water (and food coloring if doing all one color) into flour mixture.  Just keep stirring.  Mixing the best you can.  Mashing out lumps.  Just keep stirring, stirring, stirring…

The dough will reach a ‘thick mashed potatoes’ stage and pull away from the sides of the pan.  Niiiiice!  That’s just what you want.

Now, if you added the coloring in with the liquids, viola, you’re finished!  Just knead your dough a bit on a flat surface.  Careful, still a bit warm.  Maybe too much so for *small* hands.

If you wanted a variety of shades of dough…

Divide dough into however many portions you desire.  We got 6 nice sized portions from ours. 

On waxed paper, knead dough around a bit, get it nice and soft.  Then create a little ‘well’ in the center.  Doesn’t have to be huge, just a sizable indentation will work.  Drop in some coloring.  It’s best to work this a little at a time…unless you desire blue, green, pink, whatever hands.  Just about 2-4 drops at a time.  I told my boys to work it like bread. Folding the ends in on top of the ‘well’ and gently smooshing down.  Turn, repeat, that kind of thing.  Then if you need more color, simply repeat…make that little well, add a few drops and fold/knead some more.  Repeat for each dough ball in the color desired.

And there you go! 

Store in airtight container(s).


I should have researched this more thoroughly BEFOREhand, but, well, I didn’t. Anyway…I have discovered Alum and Cream of Tartar do the *same* thing in home made play dough.  Simply helps preserve it.  So, you can use the two interchangably.  Apparently, Alum *is* Cream of Tartar in Australia.

Anyway, you can completely omit the Alum from my recipe above.  You can completely substitute Alum for Cream of Tarter.  You can do mostly Alum with a hint of Cream of Tartar.  It does NOT matter.  Just put a couple tablespoons of one of ’em in there and you’re good, k?


5 comments on “Play Dough

  1. have you ever made flubber? It’s the one with Borax, it’s GREAT!!! I haven’t made it since we’ve been here, but it’s less messy and LOTS of fun!!

  2. Yep. We’ve done the Borax one and the cornstarch one. Both very fun! I’ll have to get those recipes up here too, I suppose.

  3. Okay – I know this is an odd question, but
    Does this playdoh may your hands feel dry and ‘floury?”
    I have yet to find a homemade recipe that doesn’t, and that sensation really icks me out.

  4. Um, ya know…I can’t remember. I don’t think it was ‘as bad’ about it…but then, I don’t generally play with it, the kids do :p

  5. This play dough recipe is one of the best (and we’ve mad a LOT). We use coconut oil for a nice smell and it doesn’t leave a residue like vegetable oil does. We also use Crayola tempura paints to color the dough – it works really well and doesn’t stain anything! This play dough does NOT dry out our hands, Actually because of the generous amount of oil it is very soft. We also used an electric hand mixer to mix it at the end, I was skeptical and thought it may not work, but I scraped it out onto wax paper, let it cool and then kneaded it… perfect! Good luck!

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