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How to Make Playdough {Family Recipe}

How to Make Playdough {Family Recipe}

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Today we’re sharing our secret (or not so secret anymore) family recipe for playdough. Read on to discover the all-time best playdough recipe that has stood the test of time. It’s perfectly smooth, not the least bit sticky, and just the perfect addition to any home.

How to make playdough - sharing the family recipe for playdough at @theartkit

There is nothing better than a freshly made batch (or two!) of homemade playdough. Today, we’re sharing our family recipe.

We love playdough for so many reasons- the endless opportunities for creative play and learning, the sensory aspect, and the excitement on the faces of our little ones when we tell them we’re baking up a new batch.

Not sure what to do with playdough? No worries! We will be sure to share a few of our favorite ideas at the bottom of this post.

But first, read on below to see how we make our famous homemade playdough (and bonus- it can be left out for hours before drying out).

How to Make Playdough

Begin by mixing the following ingredients together:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons cream of tarter (we buy it in bulk and save- this is the one we purchase)
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup water

We mixed our ingredients directly in the pot we planned on cooking it in (one less bowl to clean!).

How to make playdough - sharing the family recipe for playdough at @theartkit
How to make playdough - sharing the family recipe for playdough at @theartkit

Once all the ingredients have been mixed, cook them over medium to medium-high heat while mixing continuously (we suggest using a long-handled wooden spoon or silicon spoon).

The playdough will start to melt down and look somewhat like Cream of Wheat. Keep cooking. You’re almost there!

This is what your playdough should look like just before it is fully cooked. See how there are still a few areas that look wet? Just a minute or so longer and your playdough will be cooked completely.

Before long, the playdough will start to ball up (and your arm muscles will start to ache!), that’s when you know your dough is cooked. Remove your playdough from the heat, place on parchment paper, and allow to cool.

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How to make playdough - sharing the family recipe for playdough at @theartkit

Once the playdough is cool enough to handle, feel free to leave it as is or add food coloring and/or essential oils. We’ve tried many different types of food coloring and have found Wilton gel icing colors to be the easiest and most vibrant.

To add color, simply scoop some of the gel out of the container (we used a cake tester) and place it on the playdough. Fold the playdough over and over until the color has been mixed thoroughly.

How to make playdough - sharing the family recipe for playdough at @theartkit

If you’re worried about having stained hands, you could always use rubber gloves. We’ve noticed that if we do get coloring on our hands, it easily washes off after a few hand washings.

Isn’t it just lovely? There is nothing like warm, homemade playdough. No artificial ingredients. So soft and smooth. Add in a few drops of essential oils and you’ve just put the icing on the cake!

How to make playdough - sharing the family recipe for playdough at @theartkit
How to make playdough - sharing the family recipe for playdough at @theartkit

And well, what playdough activity would be complete here at The Art Kit without trusty Miss Giraffe? As soon as we placed the colored playdough on the table, Miss G’s giraffe was pecking at the freshly made playdough. Apparently, giraffe loves homemade playdough just as much as we do. 😉


We hope you enjoyed this activity as much as we did. We’d love to see you enjoying your DIY playdough. Share with us on social media #theartkit.

If you’d prefer a no-cook recipe, check out our super easy no-cook playdough recipe here.

Want a super simple playdough activity that will keep the kids entertained for hours? Pair a couple batches of this playdough along with their favorite set of Toobs and a playdough tool set. Place everything out on a plastic tray to keep it all contained and sit back and relax. 😉

Want more? Check out our other homemade playdough recipes:

How to make playdough - sharing the family recipe for playdough at @theartkit


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Friday 9th of April 2021

You guys should add a print button! I can’t find one, unless I missed it! With teaching/nannying it’s great to be able to print simple recipes for parents to take home and use, especially ones like these where they DIY and save money! Thanks for the recipe!

The Art Kit

Friday 7th of January 2022

Hi! Great suggestion! We just added a printable recipe card. :)