Homemade Playdough

Need an activity for kids that will keep them busy for hours? This easy homemade playdough recipe has been tested by thousands of moms and kids all across the world. It works! This play dough is quick and easy (it takes less than 10 minutes to make) and it’s non-toxic and cheaper than the store bought stuff!
I love doing fun things with my kids, but I don’t do stuff as often as I’d like because of time and the mess. The Lord knows I have enough messes to clean up as it is without purposefully adding to it!

I look on Pinterest and see all those cute craft projects and ideas for kids. I pin that glitter project that’s momentarily caught my eye and for a fleeting moment, I contemplate actually attempting it. And then the realist in me takes over and I know it ain’t gonna happen.

How many of you do the same? Come on, admit it. We’d all love to be those fantastic crafty moms but the simple truth is most of are just too tired with too many other things to do.

If that’s you – or even if you are an amazing crafty mom (my hat’s off to you!) – then this post is for you!
What you’ll need to make Homemade Playdough:

1 cup flour
1 cup water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar (I highly recommend buying a large container; it’s much cheaper than the tiny ones from the grocery store!)
1/3 cup salt
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
food coloring
This easy homemade playdough recipe makes a large amount, probably equal to 2-3 containers from the store. So you might want to halve it or make it in 2 saucepans. I made 6 batches of the full recipe because with more than one child wanting to play with it, it’s good to have more to go around. More = less fighting.  Plus, I wanted to make a variety of colors.

  • In a 2 quart saucepan, add 1 cup of flour, 2 teaspoons of cream of tarter, and 1/3 cup of salt. Yup, that’s 1/3 cup of salt. Don’t make my mistake and misread it to mean teaspoon. I couldblame my toddler because he was hanging on my leg. Yeah that’s it. I ended up with a very sticky ball. Apparently the salt keeps it from sticking and also helps preserve it, so you definitely want that in there.
  • Add 1 cup of water and 1 Tbs vegetable oil.
  • Turn your burner on medium low and stir.  It will be a little lumpy, that’s ok.
  • Keep stirring until it starts getting a little solid. If there are still a few lumps, that’s ok – you can work them out later. If your stove is already hot, this may only take 20-30 seconds, but it may take 2-3 minutes if it’s still heating up.
  • Once it reaches that point, add the food coloring right away. It will be much easier to mix up if you do it now.
  • Now the dough will start getting thicker and a little lumpy. Just keep stirring.  Once the dough starts gathering around the spoon, you know it’s done.  This may be 20 seconds or 2 minutes depending on the time you put the food coloring in, and depending on how hot your stove is.


  • Remove the playdough from the saucepan and place in on wax paper or a plate to cool.
  • Once it’s cooled, knead the playdough for a minute or two to get out any lumps and to get it to a better consistency.


For storage, I have the kids put their homemade playdough in a ziploc bag. It seems to be hardier than the store bought stuff and doesn’t dry out as easily. If it does become dry, you can work a few drops of water into it.  Have fun and enjoy!!