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How To Make Your Own Play Dough

Why pay money for play dough when you can easily whip up a batch at home? Here's the recipe.


  • TIP: You can use an unsweetened powdered drink mix instead of food coloring.
  • Step 1: Scent your play dough by adding a drop of essential oil to each batch.
  • Step 2: Create fun shapes and figures with your custom-made play dough. When you’re done playing, store it in a plastic bag or airtight container. If it starts to dry out, knead in a bit more water. It should last for several weeks.
  • FACT: The original Play-Doh began as wallpaper cleaner, but was remarketed as a children’s toy in 1955 when washable wallpaper made it obsolete.
  • Step 3: Divide the dough into batches. Make a deep indentation in each, add a few drops of food coloring, and fold the dough over it. Knead the dough some more, adding food coloring as needed. Wear plastic gloves or knead the dough inside a plastic bag if you like.
  • Step 4: Place the cooled dough on a clean, dry, lightly floured surface and knead vigorously until it’s nice and smooth.
  • Step 5: In a medium-size pot, heat two cups of flour, two cups of warm water, one cup of salt, two tablespoons of vegetable oil, and one tablespoon of cream of tartar over low heat, stirring frequently.
  • Step 6: When the mixture develops a doughy consistency that pulls away from the sides of the pot—which can take anywhere from three to 10 minutes—remove from the heat and let it cool.
  • TIP: Be sure to cook the dough until it’s no longer sticky, keeping the heat low. Note: if the heat gets too high, the dough takes on a sticky, shiny consistency and and will not be workable as play dough. You will have to throw it out!
  • : Keep homemade play dough out of reach of pets. The high salt content can be deadly to animals.

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